Councilwoman Reappointed To EPA Subcommittee

Manchester Township Councilwoman Michele Zolezi was recently reappointed for another two-year term serving on the Federal Environmental Protection Agency Local Government Advisory Committee’s Small Communities Advisory Subcommittee. (Photo Provided To The Manchester Times)

  MANCHESTER – Councilwoman Michele Zolezi was happy to learn recently that she was reappointed to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Local Government Advisory Committee’s (LGAC) Small Communities Advisory Subcommittee for an extended two-year term.

  “It’s been great working at the federal level and advocating for local municipal government across the country. I am very proud and honored to be representing Manchester Township, Ocean County at the federal level,” the councilwoman said.

  Zolezi noted her background as an environmental professional “has provided a skill set and perspective that has been well-received by the group and very much appreciated. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to liaise with decision-makers from a variety of states throughout the U.S. while influencing funding and policies on human health and the environment, transportation, and sustainability.”

  She noted the vision and mission of the subcommittee is for “people in every small community in America to have clean air, drinking water, waste disposal, and related services that safeguard their health in a friendly and sustainable environment.”

  In 2023 the Committee provided recommendations to the EPA as the federal Administration works to lower transportation emissions and consumer costs in smaller communities. It provides insight to challenges small towns face while transitioning towards affordable and equitable transportation and offering solutions to these challenges. These recommendations include implementing programs that incentivize clean and renewable energy and set long-term goals to improve service for people to be able to use electrified public transportation. The SCAS recommends that the EPA and the Department of Transportation help facilitate discussions with states and local governments to improve sustainability of the US grid as the nation seeks to expand the use of electric vehicles regionally. Lastly, recommendations were provided to develop a program that provides support to smaller communities to enhance their capacity to apply for federal grants.

  This also marks the first time in LGAC history that the panel’s membership has a female majority. The EPA announced the appointment of 16 new members to the LGAC including the reappointments of 13 existing members.

  “The Biden-Harris Administration has made a commitment to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility across the federal government,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Today’s announcement is the latest example of this commitment in action. In addition to a majority of female members, this important committee is comprised of individuals from across the country, representing the diversity of America, so we can reflect a range of input as we craft regulations impacting their communities.”

  The 37-member LGAC has 24 females and 13 males, including 13 people of color, and representation from 27 different states. The Administrator also appointed five new and 15 returning members.

  Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird of Lincoln, Nebraska will remain as the LGAC’s chair, with Mayor Lucy Vinis of Eugene, Oregon as vice chair. Administrator Regan also appointed Mayor Katie Rosenberg of Wausau, Wisconsin to join Ann Mallek, Supervisor of Albemarle County, Virginia, as co-chairs of the SCAS.

  In 2024, the Committee will provide input on the proposed lead and copper rule improvements, the draft Strategy for Reducing Plastic Pollution, EPA’s efforts to develop a cumulative impact framework, and to improve community-level communication and engagement on climate change issues.

  Members were chosen from a pool of more than 60 highly qualified candidates. Selections for the one- and two-year terms were made based on the applicant pool and in accordance with the LGAC charter to achieve balance and diversity in terms of geographic location, gender, ethnicity, and stakeholder perspective.