Email signup

Local environmental advocates stress urgent need to change habits

Electric bus (via Fairfax County Public Schools)

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 county has placed a greater focus on environmental issues since creating a Joint Environmental Task Force and the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination (OEEC) in 2019.

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

Recent Stories

Today (Thursday) marks a decade of community service, youth leadership, political activism and civic engagement in Virginia by the Hamkae Center. Over the last 10 years, the local nonprofit has…

The Faith Baptist Church that has occupied 301 Center Street South in Vienna for about seven decades will officially be torn down. Faced with increasing maintenance costs, the Vienna Town…

Arrowbrook Centre, an anchoring mixed-use neighborhood near the Innovation Center Metro station, is moving one step forward to completion. Several pieces of the 54-acre development, which is bounded by the…

Annandale diners could soon see more outdoor seating at Izakaya Khan in Seoul Plaza (4231 Markham Street). To make room for year-round outdoor dining at the Japanese restaurant, the center…

Camps are just the beginning of what’s in store at Art House 7 this summer. We’re thrilled to offer an array of exciting classes for both kids and adults!Rediscover your creativity with some of our AH7 favorites, such as drawing, hand-sewing, modern embroidery, and our popular 3-week Jump into Crochet classes. But that’s not all! We’ve added some fresh and exciting options to our summer class selection, guaranteed to spark your imagination.

To enhance your artistic journey, we have intensified some of our Ceramics: The Wheel classes to a full 3-hour duration. This extended time allows for more creativity and skill development in each class session. If you’re eager for a captivating twist, give Contemporary Still-Life Drawing & Painting a go. Or why not try an immersive outdoor painting adventure? We have a unique opportunity for you to bring your painting skills to life while learning and creating in the great outdoors with our Landscape Painting: Studio and Plein Air class!

We invite you to visit our website and explore our full Summer Session schedule, brimming with a diverse range of classes and camps. Classes and camps begin June 20th. Unleash your inner artist, broaden your horizons, and embark on a summer adventure like no other. Let’s make this a summer to remember at Art House 7!

Submit your own Community Post here.

Potomac Harmony Chorus has a new director! We’re ready
to kick off the season with new music, a new approach, and YOU!

Potomac Harmony is one of 500 choruses in Sweet
Adelines International. We’re a vibrant,
contemporary, inclusive, welcoming, and open community of women singers who
perform four-part harmony, barbershop style, committed to a high level of
achievement through teaching, mentoring, personal growth, and performance. Our vision is to entertain, educate, and
enrich lives through musical expression while promoting the barbershop art

Potomac Harmony recently had our first performance
with our new director, receiving rave reviews! We invite you to stop by any Wednesday
evening and be part of the fun and harmony!

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Army Birthday Festival – Free and Fun

Make Saturday, June 10, 2023 a great day!

Come celebrate the Army Birthday Festival at the National Museum of the U.S. Army from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Rain or Shine!

• Experience outdoor and indoor fun activities, for all

Unveiling of West Ford historical highway marker

Gum Springs will be celebrating 190 years of its founding by freedman West Ford on Saturday, June 17, 2023. To kick-off the celebration, there will be an unveiling of a Virginia historical highway marker for West Ford on Fordson Road


Subscribe to our mailing list