Mayor Melton Signs Executive Order to establish the Greater Gary Environment and Sustainability Advisory Council in Celebration of Earth Day

GARY, IND. – In celebration of Earth Day, Mayor Eddie Melton has taken a bold step towards growing Gary’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Yesterday, April 22, 2024, in a celebratory gathering attended by local environmental activists and conservation advocates at City Hall, he signed an executive order establishing the Greater Gary Environment and Sustainability Advisory Council.  

With its hand on the pulse of the city, the group will play a pivotal role in shaping the future by addressing critical environmental challenges, advancing sustainable practices, improving climate resiliency, and accelerating community engagement. It will serve as an advisory group for the Melton Administration and as an important sounding board for citizen feedback. To guide its actions, the group will have access to the data and recommendations within the City’s existing Climate Action Plan, Green Infrastructure Plan, Greenhouse Gas Inventory, as well as the City’s soon to be completed Climate Resilience Plan.

The council’s creation was conceived as an important part of Mayor Melton’s 100-day plan. During his remarks to the group, he acknowledged the importance of working with the community partners on these programs. Public participation and collaboration are vitally important for the Melton Administration and the Greater Gary Environment and Sustainability Advisory Council will play a pivotal role in helping us plan for a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable future. I look forward to working with this council to help improve the quality of life for both for our current citizens and future generations to come,” said Mayor Eddie Melton.  

Director of Sustainability Brenda Scott Henry noted that her department is committed to exploring and leveraging funding opportunities that could help realize the Mayor’s vision. “We are planning to actively pursue federal grants such as the USEPA Environmental and Climate Justice Community Change grant. These opportunities empower the City of Gary to address legacy pollution and build resilience against climate change and extreme weather.” She added, “We want to leave our children and grandchildren an environment that is better than what was left to us. Moving forward, we must incorporate sustainability into our day-to-day processes, so that it’s a part of everything we do.”

Lori Latham, Councilwoman for the 1st District of Gary and Chairperson of the Air Pollution Committee shared her thoughts on the executive order. “As a resident and elected representative, I’ve fought to hold local industries accountable for the health disparities that we see are related to environmental contamination. We have so many people here in Gary who want to be a part of the change. It’s great to see the Melton Administration and the Common Council aligning their efforts on ensuring clean air, land and water for its residents.”

Dorreen Carey, President of Gary Advocates for Responsible Development (GARD),  shared her thoughts on the experience in City Hall. “I was really pleased to be able to attend the meeting today where the Mayor signed an executive order for the creation of the Environment and Sustainability Advisory Council for the City of Gary. The work that’s been done by the Department of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs on the Climate Action Plan and the Resilience Plan have outlined the next steps required for us moving forward. Now, it’s time for the city to step up to the plate and make changes that will benefit both the residents and protect our natural resources. If we are going to revitalize Gary, issues of sustainability and pollution control really have to be taken into account up front. I’m glad to see that the city is making this move.”

Carolyn McCrady, Secretary of GARD, shared her excitement. “We are truly turning a page in the City of Gary. For the first time in recent history, community members will play a significant role in moving the city forward on environmental as well as sustainability issues.”

Within Mayor Melton’s executive order, the council has been charged with these key responsibilities:

Carbon Footprint Reduction: The council will collaborate with city departments to identify community-driven pathways to implementing goals established in Gary’s 2019 Climate Action Plan, including the City of Gary’s goal to reduce the carbon footprint of city operations by 50% in 2028.

Climate Resilience Planning: The council will work across the five community systems outlined in the draft version of Gary’s 2024 Climate Resilience Plan to enhance the city’s ability to withstand environmental challenges.

Funding for Climate Programs: The council will be responsible for researching and securing grants that can be leveraged to support Climate Action and Climate Resilience programs, such as the Environmental and Climate Justice Community Change grants from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Sustainable Governance: With the goal of ensuring continued participation from a diverse group of community representatives, the council will explore and recommend a sustainable framework, governance structure and operating model for the council, including membership, organization, and key roles needed to strengthen citizen participation.

Education and Awareness Building: To increase public understanding and involvement, the council will organize educational opportunities for the public. These initiatives will raise awareness of key programs and empower residents to actively participate in creating a greener, more resilient Gary.

Media Contact:

Erika Blackwell

Chief Communications Officer

cell: (219) 292-1251



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