Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck introduced the Fairfax Green Initiatives Board Matter on Tuesday, Feb. 5, a call for the county to consider additional actions to accelerate efforts to address climate change and environmental preservation.
Storck was joined by Supervisors Jeff McKay (D-Lee) and John Foust (D-Dranesville) in presenting the Board Matter that was approved unanimously by the full board.
“Based on recent scientific reports, I believe it is crucial that we act expeditiously and urgently if we are to begin to stem the growth of greenhouse gasses which are dramatically altering our environment, our world and the people, places and property in our communities,” Storck said.
The Board Matter calls for a comprehensive review of initiatives and actions the county could take to be a leader in addressing climate change and in preserving the environment. Key initiatives include:
Developing a Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) and a county-specific Climate Resiliency and Adaptation Plan,
Contracting with an energy savings performance contractor (ESPC),
Accelerating goals and targets for the county's Operational Energy Strategy,
Increasing locally generated environmentally friendly energy (like solar) to offset all county government energy usage,
Increasing dedicated county energy, climate change and environment related staffing,
Enhancing communications and coordination between the county and residents.
“As a business person, I sincerely believe that the financial return on investment (ROI) on most, if not all, of these initiatives is high, at least a $3 return for every $1 invested, which means they can save, not cost, the county money.” Storck said. “Energy efficiency is a relatively inexpensive resource we can all embrace and take action on immediately.”
This new initiative builds on the environmental commitments the Board of Supervisors has made over the past decade, including a County Energy Policy, Environmental Improvement Program, Sustainability Initiatives, and the recently adopted County Operational Energy Strategy. Next steps include review and consideration of a variety of proposed actions by board committees, the County Executive and County staff, with some levels of reporting due by June 2019.
“Climate Change is a real threat to our society, and I’m happy to be a part of this call to action,” said McKay. “I’ve long been an advocate of solar freedom, and many other Green initiatives. The Commonwealth looks to Fairfax County to lead and set a good example of environmental sustainability — we must carry the torch and light a path for all other jurisdictions to ensure we have a healthier climate for everyone. Many county efforts and actions are already underway, but it’s time to recognize the importance and urgency of addressing climate change. I hope this comprehensive review of Green initiatives and efforts will push state legislatures to give us the flexibility to complete projects successfully.”
Foust said: “Community input, especially the efforts of several environmental advocacy groups, has been crucial to getting Fairfax County to this point. The county can and should play a big role in addressing climate issues and the initiatives outlined in this Board Matter are going to keep us moving in the right direction.”