As a community that has long dedicated itself to protecting our environment, Montgomery County needs a leader who will make this issue a priority and follow through on his actions. Please take a few minutes to read my environmental plan and join me in the fight to preserve our community’s natural resources for generations to come.
As a County, we must do all that we can to adapt to climate change, while also changing our habits to ebb some of these effects. Instead of solely enacting laws on our businesses and residents to protect our environment, I firmly believe the County must show leadership through example to prove that we too mean business. When elected we will do just that.
I commit to lowering Montgomery County’s carbon footprint and County Government will lead the way by reducing the carbon emissions of county facilities and its fleet of public transportation vehicles.
In 2009, Montgomery County enacted a Climate Protection Plan with a goal to lower our carbon footprint. Unfortunately, our carbon footprint has increased since then and the working group formed to oversee it no longer even exists.
If we want to enact real change toward lowering our Carbon Footprint, we need a leader committed to this goal and a government that will lead by example. All County facilities, starting with the County Executive Office Building, will be reviewed for feasibility to retrofit, including LEED certification, the installation and maintenance of green roofs, the use of pervious concrete or other pervious materials for sidewalks, parking lots and more. We will lower our carbon footprint and reduce other environmental impacts in Montgomery County by focusing on measurable, scalable, and economically sound approaches.
I want Montgomery County to lead again in setting aside farmland and open space, as we were during my previous terms as County Executive. The Reserve was a creative and prescient program when initiated and its value is even more important today. In addition to working with the Preservation Foundation and other agencies to increase and maintain the integrity of the Reserve, we should develop strong partnerships with nonprofit entities that are interested in agricultural preservation. I want Montgomery County to get to at least 100,000 preserved acres as well as grow its ability to boost our economy.
Agricultural Reserve Ombudsman:
I want to create an Agricultural Reserve Ombudsman position reporting to the County Executive to work with our communities in the Agricultural Reserve. He or she will make sure that our residents in the northern part of the County have a place at my table to ensure their needs, educationally, economically and otherwise are being heard and acted on. This includes farmers to strengthen our agricultural economy and make it a leader regionally, statewide and nationally. The ombudsman will also directly connect the agricultural community with our urban and suburban communities to strengthen public support and develop an agricultural concordance among our urban and suburban businesses and residents.
Councilmembers Rice and Leventhal recently proposed a plan for Montgomery County public school students to get unlimited fruits and vegetables. How great would it be for that produce to come solely from Montgomery County farms? Like apples from Butler’s Orchard or peaches or corn from Lewis Orchards? This is something I would charge my ombudsman to look into the feasibility of, and at the very least how we could increase supply of County produce to schools, stores and restaurants.
Protecting Our Waterways:
Our County Council, led by efforts from Roger Berliner, continued the tradition of ensuring the quality of our waterways by protecting Ten Mile Creek. I wholeheartedly agree with their action to save Ten Mile Creek. We saved Silver Spring, we saved Glen Echo Park, and I am pleased to say we will save Ten Mile Creek.
When previously County Executive, we did a lot to modernize the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). We focused the department on building efficiency and improving results. For example, we worked to improve our waste water systems and to improve our storm water runoff plans to make sure they both had minimal environmental impact. We also prepared resource protection strategies that included issues, goals, and actions for all of our major resources: Air Quality, Stream Protection, Groundwater Protection and Forest Protection. I am glad to see that these resource protection guides continue to guide the work of DEP and other agencies with an environmental impact.
We will continue to protect and enhance our County’s waterways.
Construction Recycling Permit:
Along with revamping our Department of Permitting Services to make it more efficient, effective, and affordable, I want to implement a building recycling plan permit. Similar to how builders or contractors submit building plans to obtain permits for new construction or additions, they also now would be required to include plans for the recycling of their construction materials in order to be given a permit. The recycling plan permit will not further slow the permitting process, but will be part of the complete overhaul of the permitting process to ensure the proper disposal of construction materials so as to preserve and enhance our environment.
Complete Comprehensive Bike Transportation System:
Bicycling is quickly becoming a popular mode of alternative transit, particularly in high-density areas. The statistics show that a vast majority of people will bicycle if there is some sort of designated or protected lane.
I want to initiate a Cycle Montgomery Plan of setting yearly goals for miles of protected bike infrastructure, including cycle tracks, buffered bike lanes and off road trails. We need to quickly complete the Metropolitan Branch Trail, the ICC bike facilities, and remaking the roads in Bethesda, Friendship Heights, Silver Spring and Takoma Park. This will ensure the success of bikeshare.
Further, I want to ingratiate the biking culture into our community, particularly in our schools, so it becomes second nature – kind of like when recycling was introduced years ago and now is a given. It will improve our community, our environment and our economy.