Environmental Quality Advisory Council Presents Annual Report
Nov. 19, 2008
- Report says Fairfax County's programs improve and advance in their environmental stewardship every year; asks for continued support
- 2008 report available online.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors received the Environmental Quality Advisory Council’s (EQAC) annual report at the board’s Nov. 17 meeting. The “Annual Report on the Environment 2008” provides an overview of environmental conditions and programs in the county and provides recommendations to the Board of Supervisors in a variety of environmental areas. The report covers 2007, but also includes significant actions from 2008.
In presenting the report, EQAC Chairman Stella Koch said, “FairfaxCounty’s commitment to the environment remains strong. The members of EQAC look forward to working with the board and staff to maximize the effectiveness of our combined efforts in these challenging economic times.”
“Our community recognizes the value of investing in the environment, whether it is drinking water quality, watershed restoration or tree planting,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly. “Climate change continues to be a top priority. In the year since Fairfax County launched Cool Counties, a national effort to reduce local government emissions, we have recruited local neighborhoods, Fairfax County Public Schools, the business community and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments as new partners in this critical global initiative.”
In presenting the report, EQAC noted, “every year, Fairfax County’s programs improve and advance in their environmental stewardship, often setting the standard for the rest of Virginia’s counties.” It listed three specific requests:
- Continued support for the breadth and depth of the environment programs established by the Board of Supervisors.
- Consideration of implementation of a stormwater utility fee.
- Moving forward with an energy coordinator position
In 2004, the Board of Supervisors adopted a comprehensive 20-year environmental agenda, “Environmental Excellence for Fairfax County – A 20-Year Vision.” Since adopting its plan, the board has funded more than $5 million worth of projects and programs in support of the goals and objectives across six thematic areas in the plan.
In 2005, the board dedicated one penny on the real estate tax rate for stormwater management projects. In the past two years, this dedicated penny has amounted to more than $60 million for improving the county’s stormwater programs. Funds have been used to inspect and repair failed pipes, protect homes from flooding, restore and monitor streams, repair flood control dams, inspect and repair stormwater management facilities, and undertake other efforts to ensure Fairfax County’s compliance with the federally and state mandated stormwater discharge permit.
Fairfax County also won a 2006 National Association of Counties Achievement Award for both the environmental agenda and the related “Environmental Improvement Program.” These efforts are designed to integrate and link environmental goals and objectives into all levels of county decision-making and to provide a strategic approach to prioritizing environmental actions for implementation. Fairfax County is one of the founding members of the national Cool Counties initiative, which was launched in July 2007 in partnership with the Sierra Club, to reduce local governments’ greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
EQAC’s annual report serves a threefold purpose:
- Assisting the Board of Supervisors in evaluating ongoing environmental programs and providing the basis for proposing new programs.
- Aiding public agencies in coordinating programs to jointly address environmental issues.
- Informing residents and others who are concerned with environmental issues in Fairfax County.
The report covers the county’s leadership and efforts to address global climate change; land use and transportation; air quality; water resources; solid waste; hazardous materials; ecological resources; wildlife management; and noise, light and visual pollution. EQAC is in the process of preparing a new chapter for the report that will highlight environmental stewardship efforts and opportunities, which it anticipates will be completed for presentation to the Board of Supervisors by spring 2009.
EQAC’s 2008 report and reports from previous years are available on EQAC’s Web page, www.fairfaxcounty.gov/eqac. The report is available at the Maps and Publications Sales Office, Suite 156, Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, and soon will be at all county public libraries. For more information about EQAC, visit the EQAC Web page, call the Department of Planning and Zoning at 703-324-1380, TTY 711, or e-mail the EQAC.
Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
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Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director of Public Affairs
703-324-3187, TTY 711, Fax 703-324-2010
Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)
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