I thought I’d share a letter I sent today (April 12 2020) to the Montgomery County Council in support of a pending zoning text amendment, ZTA 20-01, introduced by Councilmembers Hans Riemer and Tom Hucker and co-sponsored by Councilmember Craig Rice. I hope the council will enact the ZTA!
I continue to support ZTA 20-01, which would allow the limited installation of solar facilities in Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve. This legislation would allow significant ramp-up of Montgomery County’s local capacity to generate renewable energy and advance us toward meeting our county’s Climate Emergency goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2027.
An interesting and relevant article came across the TCM (Climate Mobilization) e-mail list on Friday, “After COVID-19, Here Comes More & Better Farming With Solar Panels” (https://cleantechnica.com/2020/04/09/after-covid-19-here-comes-more-better-farming-with-solar-panels/).
Pulling a quote: “Farmers are beginning to learn how to do their farming within solar arrays, and in a new green twofer, solar arrays could actually help push the regenerative agriculture movement into the mainstream.”
The focus of the article is “A new solar project soon to start construction on a farm in Grafton, Massachusetts [that] is aiming to do double duty as a holistic preservation tool that helps improve soil and enhance nutrition for grazing animals. The ultimate goal is to create a more sustainable farm economy and cultivate the next generation of farmers.”
This sort of innovation — advancing both our climate response and sustainable agriculture — is precisely what ZTA 20-01 would enable!
A letter from environmental activist Mike Tidwell:
My friend and former city council rep Seth Grimes launches his Montgomery County Council campaign this weekend at a Takoma Park event. I’ll be with him. Will you join us?
Seth drafted Takoma Park’s polystyrene food serviceware ban and wrote a bill expanding recycling. Seth worked with activists to ban cosmetic lawncare pesticide use and helped pass a countywide ban. He promoted curbside food-waste pickup for composting and advanced the city’s environmental sustainability agenda. He has backed fossil-fuels divestment and acted to protect the county’s watershed and the urban forest.
Seth understands environmental challenges, and he knows how to make local government work.
This is why I’m backing Seth for Montgomery County Council at large and speaking at his October 22 launch event, 2 pm in Takoma Park. RSVP at http://bit.ly/SG22Oct to join us.
If you can’t make it then, you have another opportunity on Sunday October 29: Seth’s Campaign Launch II in Bethesda at 2 pm. RSVP at http://bit.ly/SG29Oct.
Both events are free, but donations of $10-$150 are welcome. Seth has opted in to Montgomery County public finance and is not accepting developer or PAC money. Visit http://SethGrimes.org to learn more and donate.
The time to get behind strong, progressive candidates like Seth is now.
Excerpting from am article in Governing, “What Judges Don’t Understand About Transportation”:
“NEPA [the National Environmental Policy Act] was enacted in 1970, at a moment when environmental activists were giddily enthusiastic about their ability to produce a cleaner planet through federal regulation… It wasn’t meant to be a statement of transportation policy, and for most of its early history it wasn’t that… And so we come to 2017, and the strange case of Maryland’s Purple Line project…
“The whole case provides glaring evidence of how years and millions of dollars can be wasted arguing about projections that can’t possibly be made with even a shred of confidence… Whether or not to build the Purple Line is a question for the democratic process — for the citizens we elect as legislators and appoint as managers. Reasonable people will differ on it. But when a judge hijacks the whole issue and issues rulings on spurious legal grounds, he undermines public trust in the judicial system.”
Read the full article at http://www.governing.com/columns/assessments/gov-transportation-judges.html.
P.S. Author Alan Ehrenhalt’s analysis in Governing could equally apply to Judge Terrance McGann’s ruling striking down Montgomery County’s Healthy Lawns Act restrictions on cosmetic lawncare pesticide application.