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Council to Take Action on Environment & Clean Energy Bills

The Montgomery County Council is scheduled to take action on two bills today that are part of a package of measures proposed by Councilmember Roger Berliner to address energy and environmental factors.

Bill 6-14 and Bill 8-14 are scheduled to be considered for approval during the Council’s regular weekly session that will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The Council’s morning session, and 10 public hearings scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m., will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). The broadcast also will be streamed at: .

Bill 6-14 would establish an Office of Sustainability in the County’s Department of Environmental Protection and an Office of Energy and Sustainability in the Department of General Services. Councilmember Berliner, who chairs the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee, is the bill’s chief sponsor. Council Vice President George Leventhal and Councilmembers Phil Andrews, Nancy Floreen, Nancy Navarro and Hans Riemer are co-sponsors.

A public hearing on the bill was held on Feb. 11 and the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment (T and E) Committee held a worksession on the bill on Feb. 26. At the hearing, a representative of County Executive Isiah Leggett expressed the Executive’s general support for the package of environmental initiatives that had been introduced by Councilmember Berliner.

In 2008, the Council tasked a Sustainability Working Group with the responsibility of guiding the County’s greenhouse gas reduction implementation. The working group has not met or produced anything in recent years.

Bill 8-14 would require new or extensively remodeled County buildings to generate at least one kilowatt of renewable energy for every 1,000 square feet of floor area. Current County law does not set specific standards for the use of renewable technology in County buildings. Bill 8-14 was modeled after a recently-enacted Prince George’s County law.

Councilmember Berliner is the chief sponsor of Bill 8-14. Councilmembers Andrews, Floreen, Navarro, Riemer and Marc Elrich are co-sponsors.

The afternoon public hearings will include two on zoning sectional map amendments needed to implement the Long Branch Sector Plan and the building of the future South Entrance to the Bethesda Metrorail Station. That entrance is needed for the planned Purple Line. The Long Branch Plan and the Bethesda South Entrance have been approved to move forward by the Council.

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