by Susanna Parker

County Legislation and The Forest for the TreesBGnews_logo

Two bills are under review by the Montgomery County Council, and both have to do with government management of trees in our region. The first bill, Bill 35-12, would require developers to pay a “tree tax” – when a Sediment Control Permit is required by the county, the developers would pay a fee to compensate for the amount of tree canopy being removed. The fee would then be used by the County to replace the canopy within the same watershed as where it was removed. While detractors claim that it would prevent homeowners from performing tree maintenance on their own property, proponents in the Council say that simply isn’t the case. Councilman Reimer explained that the bill is basically a tree care and maintenance plan, and “the purpose of the bill… is to empower us to participate in how street trees are managed.” The bill is sponsored by County Executive Isiah Leggett and will require 5 full votes in the Council in order to pass.

The second bill being discussed is Bill 41-12, which would allow Montgomery County to assume a more active role in managing its right of way trees. Currently, the County has to request assistance from the State of Maryland, and submit to its jurisdiction when it comes to the trees in question. The bill builds on existing authority to make sure that any work done where County trees will be affected will be done in a way that protects those trees. Additionally, the County is seeking to require a 3:1 replacement ratio for downed trees, which is much stricter than the state law.

Developers are fighting both bills, claiming they are unnecessary. You can read counter-arguments to their claims here

Poll Shows Small Business Support for Obama’s Environmental Policies

According to a poll released last Thursday, the majority of small business owners support at least some of the Obama administration’s climate control and clean energy plans. Of those polled, 79% support a government-set national goal to increase energy efficiency by half over the next decade, while even more believe that government incentives for innovative clean energy technology should be a high priority. While the small business owners polled vary widely in their political leanings, the majority believe that energy efficiency makes sense for the environment and business, recognizing that clean energy policies are better for their bottom lines. To learn more about the poll and its results, please read the full Washington Post article here.

Upcoming Bethesda Green Events

  • Shop Whole Foods Today, Support Bethesda Green! Tuesday, July 2, all day, Whole Foods Bethesda, River Road.

Trying to get some grocery shopping done before the 4th of July? Buy your barbecue supplies from Whole Foods Bethesda on River Road. Whole Foods has sponsored Bethesda Green for this quarter’s 5% day! Throughout the day, 5% of proceeds made at Whole Foods Bethesda will go to Bethesda Green and help support our continued work in the community. We have a team of volunteers at the store all day today, discussing our work, meeting with community members, and bagging groceries! Come by, get your errands done, and support Bethesda Green!

Upcoming Partner Events

  • Join Governor Martin O’Malley at the Maryland Climate Change Summit, Thursday July 25, 9:30 am, The Conference Center at the Maritime Institute, 692 Maritime Boulevard, Linthicum Heights MD.

Governor Martin O’Malley, along with leading scientists, renewable energy business leaders, and climate change experts, will join together to discuss the progress that Maryland has made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, further actions to be taken, and the implementation of Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan. Maryland’s fight against climate change is especially important in the light of the recently released report that warns Maryland could see a sea level rise of over 2 feet by 2050.  To take part in the conversation, and work for Maryland’s future, be sure to register for the Maryland Climate Change Summit today!

Susanna Parker is the social media manager at Mark Leisher Productions and a volunteer with Bethesda Green.