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Ulman pushes green agenda

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman has hired an energy manager and released a detailed plan as part of an effort to reduce greenhouse gases that scientists believe add to global warming.

Christopher Russell, 47, is a Catonsville consultant hired as a contract employee for two years at $50 an hour using federal stimulus money, Ulman said Monday. In addition, Ulman released a plan that details the county's carbon footprint and lists ways the county plans to reduce it.

It's easy to make pledges about the environment, Ulman said, especially if they include promises years away. "The tough thing is to actually measure what the footprint is and drive that down," he said during a meeting of county environmental leaders in the government's Columbia offices.

Ulman was among the first Maryland suburban officials to sign the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement in 2007, when he pledged to reduce the county's carbon emissions by at least 7 percent by 2012.The plan released Monday said Howard government emitted 340,042 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2007, though progress on reducing that won't be known until next year, officials said.

The county is using most of a $2.6 million federal stimulus environmental grant to buy an all-electric truck for the county landfill and a hybrid diesel truck, replace lighting at Cedar Lane Park, monitor and cut energy use in individual county buildings and use methane gas from the county landfill to power buildings there.

"We can improve our environment, improve the quality of life and save money," Ulman said, noting that by boosting recycling in the county with new, wheeled bins, trash volume is lower, saving $500,000 a year in disposal costs.


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