FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2021
Woodbridge, VA – Last night, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) adopted the FY22 budget that included, for the first time in the county’s history, funding for a Sustainability Program that will consist of $200,000 for the creation of an Office of Sustainability and a Sustainability Commission, and $450,000 for a Community Energy Master Plan/Sustainability Plan. These funded initiatives will allow the county to work towards the goals set forth in the climate resolution that the Board passed in November 2020 with a majority 5-3 vote.
Led by local groups Mothers out Front Prince William and the Greater Prince William County Climate Action Network, community members and youth leaders from all across the county testified at Board of County Supervisors meetings in the weeks building up to the final drafting of the FY22 budget. Twenty groups representing tens of thousands of people across the county and Virginia also signed on to a letter of support for the sustainability initiatives, with a focus on a just and equitable transition.
The commitments made by the BOCS last November include: endorsing the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030, sourcing 100% of Prince William County’s electricity from renewable sources by 2035, for Prince William County Government operations to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050.
With the funds for a Sustainability Program in the FY2022 budget, the county will be able to hire qualified staff with a firm grasp on not only the importance of meeting these goals, but also in working to accomplish them through an equity and environmental justice lens. Given this dual importance, we will continue to emphasize that the Office of Sustainability positions should attract qualified candidates who are people of color and/or have experience with frontline communities that often face the brunt of the climate crisis’ most harmful effects.
The Sustainability Program is a crucial step in the direction of implementing a comprehensive climate action plan for our county. We applaud this landmark budget decision by the Board of County Supervisors while also remaining committed to advocating for its future growth in terms of staff members and initiatives. Among these include community education, environmental justice initiative, zero emission buildings, electrification of transportation, the creation of good-paying green jobs, smart growth development and other solutions to the high concentration of cars and traffic in our region. This program is a victory on the path towards the sustainable future we believe in for our county.
“I would like to thank Supervisors Angry, Bailey, and Franklin, and Chair Wheeler for supporting this year’s budget, which makes good on the Climate and Resiliency goals we set last Fall,” said Occoquan District Supervisor Boddye. “I look forward to working with my colleagues, climate advocates, and the new Office of Sustainability to combat the climate crisis head on in Prince William County.”
“It is time for our county to recognize the threat that environmental issues pose to the wellbeing of our region and act on sustainability. Last night, that finally changed and PWC reached a turning point with the adoption of the budget. We want to thank the Board of County Supervisors for considering these sustainability initiatives and the positive impact this will have on PWC residents for generations to come. This initiative means better quality of life for countless families as we look to a future with cleaner drinking water; safe walkable and bikeable communities; and being able to go outside and breathe clean air. For the county, it promises millions of dollars in energy savings and resiliency in a time of worsening climatic disasters. We look forward to continuing to work with the Board to accomplish these goals and ensure that we prioritize just and equitable climate strategies in the communities that need them the most,” said Meredith Holland, Associate Director of the Greater Prince William Climate Action Network.
About Mothers Out Front: We build our power as mothers to ensure a livable climate for all children. Together, we are powerful, and we use our power to move decision makers to take actions that will ensure a healthy environment for all children. We are led by our membership. Leadership and decision making are shared across the movement, and the process and outcomes are made transparent to our members. We build collective and individual power by encouraging personal agency, learning and sharing, innovation and risk-taking.
About the Greater Prince William Climate Action Network: We are a group of committed volunteers who care about fighting the current climate crisis, and pushing for a fossil-free,sustainable PWC. Our mission is a just and equitable transition to sustainable communities in PWC, including: combating climate change, investing in clean energy infrastructure, and advocating for smarter development that protects our air, water and green spaces while prioritizing vulnerable communities.