ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball hosted an Environment Town Hall last night, highlighting the many initiatives and policies Howard County has in place to address community concerns and climate change.
Since taking office, my administration has taken bold, innovative, and creative steps to protect our environment and ensure sustainability. Together, we can create a clean and sustainable environment for our current generation and our generations to come.
The panel of speakers addressed goals to protect and support our environment and shared updates on the status of many current and future projects to maintain a more sustainable community.
“The Environmental protection work being done in Howard County is some of the most cutting edge and innovative work in Maryland and indeed across the country,” said Office of Community Sustainability Director Joshua Feldmark. “Projects like the green infrastructure network and the forest conservation program help us reframe everything we do in Howard County through a lens of environmental protection.”
“County Executive Ball set a goal in 2019 to power 20 percent of Howard County government operations with solar. Last year, the County entered a Power Purchase Agreement to install enough solar to power 50% of County operations, greatly exceeding that goal,” said Office of Community Sustainability Energy Manager Leah Miller. “The project has no capital costs for the County and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the life of the project as much as planting 11 million trees. Howard County’s solar initiative is truly innovative, including demonstrations of sheep grazing and pollinator habitat under solar.”
“One of the core missions of Howard County Recreation & Parks is to manage and protect the county’s natural resources while promoting environmental awareness and stewardship,” said Recreation & Parks Director Raul Delerme. “Through tree planting initiatives such as Stream ReLeaf, Turf to Trees, and Students Branching Out and educational public outreach programs led by our Park Rangers, we are working hard to ensure a green and sustainable future for Howard County.”
“Protecting and Preserving our natural environment is a key planning theme in the County’s General Plan Update- HoCo By Design” said Department of Planning and Zoning Director Amy Gowan. “With almost 40 percent of the County preserved through open space, agricultural and other easements, we will be establishing policies to expand this invaluable network and guide future environmental protection efforts.”
“I was delighted to participate in the County Executive’s Environment Town Hall and share DPW’s Environmental Initiatives and related programs,” said Department of Public Work Director Tom Meunier. “A few of our programs include street light conversions, watershed restorations, food waste and organic diversions, and recommissioning of mechanical systems. We are currently expanding our composting capacity with the 3rd phase of the composting facility at the landfill. Completion is expected in 2024. We also expect to add another collection area in 2022. We’re very proud to be recognized as a progressive leader in the state for municipal solid waste.”