In an unforgettable moment, I learned that many of the crabs that we eat in Maryland are produced out of state. Why? Because too much of our own Chesapeake Bay is now a dead zone and unable to support life. As a Marylander, that brought home to me the importance of healing, preserving, protecting and maintaining our irreplaceable environment and natural resources. Irresponsible human activity threatens the world we will leave our children.

 

As County Executive I would focus on the following areas to ensure that future generations can enjoy the environment:

The county must do all it can to mitigate the impact of untreated stormwater.

  • Water from storms damages our environment by running, unfiltered, into drains that lead directly to our waterways, filling them with fertilizer, dirt, oil, gasoline, and other contaminants. If we don’t treat that runoff, it will continue killing our Bay.
  • Currently, Prince George’s County has begun an effort to filter this stormwater to remove pollutants with natural features such as plants and grass. These installations filter the water and beautify neighborhoods by replacing concrete with native plants, grasses and trees.
  • These efforts have included training and hiring local businesses and residents to do this work. I support this empowering program and will continue it as County Executive.

Treating our waste intelligently is not only better for the environment, but saves taxpayer dollars.

  • Recycling reduces the costs we pay for waste disposal while generating income through the sale recycled material.
  • We are becoming a nationwide leader in composting, a process that redirects food and yard waste away from our landfill and into the production of high-quality marketable soil, which both generates income and cuts cost. As County Executive, I would support an expansion of the current composting program.
  • There is an additional benefit of compost. Recent studies have indicated that compost is capable of sequestering carbon in soil. Compost apparently assisted the plants in drawing more carbon from the atmosphere than they otherwise would have.

County government is a large energy consumer and must operate more sustainably.

  • By reducing the County’s energy consumption and replacing traditional fuel with renewable sources in our facilities, we reduce pollution and our energy costs.
  • Recently, as part of the Pepco/Exelon merger, Prince George’s County received funding for a number of initiatives. This includes providing reduced cost energy efficiency improvements for residents’ homes to allow Prince Georgians to reduce their monthly energy bill. Additionally, the merger mandates installation of solar production facilities on county buildings, again reducing County costs and therefore saving tax dollars. I look forward to making sure these energy-saving programs are a success.
  • The county should encourage the growth of privately-owned business and residential solar projects. Prince George’s County is one of the state’s leaders in private solar energy capacity and we will work to bring more projects online.

Prince George’s County land use decisions have a tremendous impact on our environment.

  • I want to investment in two critical areas: near mass transit (Transit Oriented Development or TOD) and redevelopment in our existing communities.
  • Our attention should be on investing inside the Beltway and close to mass transit. This will lessen the strains on our infrastructure while developing those areas that will most benefit the county in the long term. The county has seen recent investment near our Metro stations, more can be done. The construction of the Purple Line will create additional investment opportunities.
  • We must encourage innovation and investment in our existing communities. This can include
    • investing in existing retail centers, providing needed and currently missing amenities (such as restaurants and stores)
    • repurposing outdated buildings and
    • bringing investment and job growth to those most in need.
  • Not only does this provide greater benefit to the county in the short term, but targeting investment to existing communities reduces the need for expensive infrastructure (roads, water, sewer).
  • Eliminating the building of roads, water and sewer lines to those properties that do not have them, allows us to preserve those areas.

We have a beautiful County, currently cluttered by litter. Litter degrades our environment and our many waterways.

  • We must do more to remove litter and I’ll establish a coordinated litter removal plan and, as noted in my Quality of Life policy, continue the important education process that will result in lasting change.
  • The County can be more proactive in maintaining public areas. Installing self-compacting trash cans in problem areas, adding more public trash cans and emptying existing ones regularly is part of the solution.
  • We need to work closely with our nonprofit and private partners on new ways to eliminate litter from our rivers and streams. Whether it is adding more trash strainers to problem areas, solar-powered trash cans, or always being on the lookout for new technologies that we can embrace, we must stop littering and polluting our environment and negatively impacting wildlife.