Policy Report

Wake County Sustainability Task Force Report: An Alternate Opinion

posted on in City & County Government, Economic Growth & Development, Education (PreK-12)
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This Regional Brief critiques the process used by the Wake County Sustainability Task Force and its final report. The author was a member of the task force.

The entire task force report and this critique can be found online at www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/agecon/WECO/wake/index.htm.


  • In late 2010, the Wake County Commissioners appointed a 55-member citizens’ task force to revise the county’s Environmental Stewardship Agenda by incorporating “strategies for sustainability and ‘green’ initiatives.”
  • The Wake County Environmental Sustainability Task Force met monthly for 18 months from January 2010 to June 2011. The task force focused on three areas: water resources conservation and management, solid waste reduction and management, and energy conservation and management.
  • The county hired facilitators from the NC State University’s Watershed Education for Communities and Officials program to oversee the process and help task force members work toward consensus decisions.
  • This critique is limited to a discussion of the final task force recommendations. They were the only part of the report that was discussed fully and voted on by task force members.
  • Other than some of the data presented in the background sections of the task force report (September 23, 2011), task force members neither discussed nor approved the introductory section nor the background sections for water, energy, and solid waste. What is worse, the “performance measures” that follow each list of recommendations were also not presented to nor discussed by task force members.
  • It is therefore dishonest to state on the cover of this report that it was “Prepared by Wake County Sustainability Task Force.” All of the sections not considered by nor voted on by the task force members at their regularly scheduled meetings must be removed from the report or attached as an appendix and clearly marked as input from the staff. To do otherwise is to perpetrate a dishonest representation of the 18 months’ worth of task force work, mislead the Wake County commissioners, and mislead the public as well.


Regional Brief 85 Wake County Sustainability Task Force Report: An Alternate Opinion

Michael Sanera is Director of Research and Local Government Studies at the John Locke Foundation. He served as a policy analyst for the Washington, DC based The Heritage Foundation, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the California based Claremont Institute. ...

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