The Environmental Importance of Local Government Decisions

The importance of local government decisions to protecting and enhancing our environment cannot be overemphasized. Local governments impact our environment – for better or for worse – in a multitude of ways through their plans, policies, decisions, programs, projects, ordinances and regulations, services, facilities, fees, purchases, etc. Local governments also impact the environment through the decisions their representatives make while serving on regional and subregional agencies or organizations, and through the state and federal legislation they sometimes choose to support or oppose.


Environmental Principles to Guide Local Government Decision Making

Recognizing the many important roles that local governments can play in protecting and enhancing our environment, the Santa Clara County League of Conservation Voters (SCCLCV) was officially created in 1995 with the goal of promoting environmentally-responsible local government decisions, primarily by endorsing and supporting candidates for local government office who have demonstrated a commitment to the environment.

Although considerable progress has been made over the years since SCCLCV was created, our environment today faces new, and potentially more serious, challenges that demand greater attention and bolder, more innovative action by local governments.

Consequently, the Santa Clara County League of Conservation Voters has prepared these “Environmental Sustainability Principles” as an additional means of promoting environmentally-responsible decisions by local governments in Santa Clara County.

It is our hope that they will stimulate thought, dialogue and – most importantly – actions that will simultaneously contribute to the preservation and enhancement of our quality of life, our social well being, the vitality of our economy, and the health of our environment in Santa Clara County now and in the future.


Why General Principles?

This document does not propose specific policies for dealing with specific issues within specific jurisdictions.

Given the many different kinds of decisions that local governments make that affect the environment, the number of local governments in Santa Clara County, the variations in local conditions from one jurisdiction to another, and how local conditions and opportunities may change over time, it would be impossible to develop a single set of detailed policy recommendations that would be relevant to all local jurisdictions in Santa Clara County, in all situations, over time.

Consequently, our goal with these Environmental Sustainability Principles is simply to provide a broad framework of general principles that are likely to be relevant to most local governments in Santa Clara County over the foreseeable future.

The SCCLCV intends to review and, if necessary, revise these principles from time to time.

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Santa Clara County League of Conservation Voters

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