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Building Healthy and Vibrant Communities in Prince George’s County is a comprehensive blueprint to improve the environment and economy in Prince George’s County and to secure environmental justice for all of our residents. Policy recommendations are provided for energy conservation, renewable energy, waste management, land use, transportation, green business, sustainable agriculture and water/natural resources.
Reducing energy consumption and increasing the production of renewable
energy in Prince George’s County can have a major impact on our economy. Our recommendations recognize that energy conservation should be the highest priority. The County should mandate energy audits for large energy users in the public and private sector, work with the private sector to create a loan program to promote investing in remediation projects, and require local governments to have comprehensive energy plans. The County can also take steps to promote existing clean/renewable energy sources and foster partnerships to produce renewable energy locally.
Creating a partnership between the County, local governments and the private sector to improve waste management will provide a cleaner
County, save money and stimulate local business opportunities. In 2008, the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center released a study commissioned by Prince George’s County to improve waste management practices. The County must implement the recommendations and go further by committing to a goal of zero waste. Our key recommendations include mandatory and comprehensive residential and business recycling, legislation for a “bottle bill” and a plastic bag fee, a public education program, expanded composting and increased use of recycled products.
The 2002 Prince George’s County General Plan is broken and needs to be revised to prevent the destruction of our agricultural land and natural resources and direct development inside the beltway and around Metro stations. The General Plan called for more than one-third of growth occurring in the inside the beltway communities and around Metro stations – the Developed Tier. Falling far short of this qoal, only 18 percent of growth happened here, with most of the County’s development taking place in scattered places across the Developing and Rural Tiers. We need enforceable and sustainable standards that create walkable communities in the right locations, and work hand-in-hand with a multi-modal transportation system.
Protecting our farmland, improving our farm economy and providing high quality and nutritious local food needs to be a county priority. Prince
George’s County can be a model community that seeks the best of metropolitan life while preserving our imperiled agricultural industry. We need to enhance land preservation policies and create a “critical farm” program as in Carroll County, while simultaneously supporting the growth of urban farming. We need to expand farmers markets, foster specialty and organic farming to increase farm revenue and quality, and help create awareness of and demand for local foods.
To foster the growth of green business, Prince George’s County should create an Office of Sustainability. The Office would promote existing green businesses, encourage green building and business practices and use our existing green business leaders as a resource to develop new opportunities.
Water run-off pollutes our waterways and drinking water supplies. The
County should implement a policy to ensure that the first 1.7 inches of rainwater during a storm stays on the land where it falls. A fee structure should also be created that discourages the creation of impervious surfaces and encourages redevelopment in areas that already have a high proportion of impervious cover.
Finally, the Prince George’s County Green Infrastructure plan must be
implemented to conserve environmentally significant eco-systems.