Environmental advocates say Fairfax County’s government, residents, and businesses need to drastically accelerate their efforts to go green.
During budget hearings last week, speakers urged the county to increase its funding for environmental initiatives and recommended adopting electric vehicle rebates — which the state hasn’t been funding — as well as zero energy buildings and other measures.
“We need to start acting like our hair’s on fire — because it is,” Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions cofounder David Kepley said at a budget hearing on Wednesday (April 13).
A county report released in February projected that extreme weather days could become more prevalent, with the area jumping from about a week’s worth of 95-degree days to nearly a month or more by 2050.
Paul Atelsek, a supporter of the faith-based group, said there are billions of dollars available for low and no-emission vehicles through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that President Joe Biden signed in September.
Concerned that the county lacks the staffing capacity to apply in time for the May 31 deadline, Atelsek suggested that the Electrification Coalition, a privately funded consultancy, could assist Fairfax County with its 2022 application for free.
Fairfax County Department of Transportation didn’t immediately reply to a message seeking comment about its grant applications.
“Fairfax County plans to electrify its transit fleet by 2035, but it needs to move faster,” he said. “Every gas, diesel and even hybrid vehicle is a carbon dioxide pump driving climate change.”
The Board of Supervisors approved a 5-cent tax on plastic bag use, increased the ability for residents and businesses to add solar panels in the county, and adopted a plan last year setting targets for carbon emission reductions.
Thanks to financial support from the state and Dominion Energy, the county government and public school system have both started integrating electric vehicles into their fleets, and the county plans to stop buying diesel buses by 2024.
The OEEC is also developing a resilence plan expected to be finalized this summer and working with the county’s Economic Development Authority and businesses to gather input on the development of a green bank, a spokesperson told FFXnow.
“We’ve done some great things here, but we…have concerns about the county’s seeming lack of urgency,” Kepley said.
Faith Alliance cofounder Scott Peterson noted that the local government produces just 5% of the county’s carbon emissions. He asked the board to create a chief sustainability officer like what neighboring jurisdictions have, including Prince William County.
While Fairfax County lacks that specific position, the OEEC’s director acts as a liaison to the business community and is a peer to other county agency leaders and directors, spokesperson Aline Althen said in an email.
“He oversees the work of the OEEC and ensures that all relevant agencies are ‘rowing in the same direction’ to achieve the targets and goals outlined by the Board,” Althen said.
Peterson said the county needs to connect with business executives in the plethora of locally headquartered Fortune 500 companies to spur change.
Photo via Fairfax County Public Schools
Good Friday evening, Fairfax County. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier…
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Do the holidays have you stressed and busy? Worry not about what to wear as Live Fairfax has the Style Survival Guide for this season!
The Georgetown Visitation Masqueraders proudly present
Descendants The Musical
Art House 7 warmly welcomes you to our upcoming Fall 2 session of classes starting on October 30th. We’re thrilled to offer a diverse range of mediums and flexible class lengths, catering to a wide age range, starting from as young as 2, and, of course, providing a multitude of engaging options for adults!
Our classes cover an exciting spectrum of creative mediums, including fiber arts such as knitting, modern embroidery, crochet, and sewing. We also offer classes in ceramics on the wheel, drawing, watercolor, gouache, oil, acrylic, still-life painting, and captivating Japanese Suminagashi and printmaking. One of the highlights of this session is the highly anticipated 5-week “Painting the Portrait and Figure” workshop, led by the renowned local artist, Danni Dawson.
For our younger artists, we have specially designed classes like “Art Exploration through Impressionism” for students in kindergarten through 5th grade, an engaging “Art Together” parent-child class designed for 2–4-year-olds, and a “Teen Taught Art Club” tailored for kindergarteners through 4th graders.
Proceeds benefit Fellowship Square, improving the lives of 800+ older adults with very limited income and resources by providing affordable housing and supportive services.
Experience a festive holiday fundraiser complete with savory wines & craft beers, scrumptious hors d’oeuvres, exciting