City Council Authorizes New Environmental Charter and Action Plan
The Alexandria City Council received the Eco-City Alexandria report during its legislative meeting January 22. The report documents all City environmental policies, plans, and programs, and is the first phase of an environmental planning project designed to address environmental issues that have emerged in Alexandria over the last 10 years. In the project’s next phase, the City plans to develop an environmental charter outlining the City’s environmental vision and principles; draft an environmental action plan for the City; and facilitate an Environmental Summit. The Summit is scheduled for May 10, 2008 at T.C. Williams High School and will be a public forum for residents to comment. The City, in collaboration with Virginia Tech, conducted the inventory of all current City environmental initiatives included in the report released at the City Council meeting.
The project had its genesis in 1998 when City officials and community leaders engaged in a collaborative process to produce Alexandria’s first environmental strategic action plan. More than 200 residents, business leaders, civic activists, and elected officials came together at the Environmental Quality of Life Summit to reaffirm their commitment to environmental stewardship of the City and to endorse the plan. Since then, the City has made significant progress in addressing the issues presented in the environmental action plan through the implementation of an open space plan, adoption of a water quality plan, and development of the Transportation Master Plan currently issued for public comment.
In January 2007, the City Council charged the City’s Environmental Policy Commission with designing and managing a new strategic environmental planning process, Eco-City Alexandria, to address environmental issues that have emerged since 1998. These issues include climate change, rising energy costs, aging stormwater infrastructure, Chesapeake Bay watershed protection, recycling, and green building design.
The City Council also passed a resolution authorizing the City to join the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). ICLEI is an international membership association of local governments dedicated to addressing issues through local actions. The association’s hallmark program, The Cities for Climate Protection Campaign (CCP), engages cities, towns, and counties in reducing pollution that causes global warming. Currently, more than 250 municipalities in the Unites States have joined CCP and have passed resolutions pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their local government operations and throughout their communities. The City will incorporate recommendations on tools for reducing greenhouse gas emissions into its own environmental action plan.
For more information about Eco-City Alexandria, please call the City’s Division of Environmental Quality at 703.838.4334, or visit alexandriava.gov/tes.