Mary Franke - Norfolk, VA
In April 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued an unenforceable notice reminding pipeline operators that severe flooding still threatens the integrity of their infrastructure. Similarly, prompted by chemical disasters during recent hurricanes, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) alerted industrial facilities of the potential chemical disasters that could be caused by extreme weather this hurricane season. But again, nothing was required of such facilities since CSB has no regulatory authority, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Trump administration has been openly hostile to stronger regulations to prevent such disasters.
With the threat of worsening floods from climate change, such as the recent flooding from Tropical Storm Isaias, pipelines are riskier than ever. In addition to the risk extreme weather poses to people’s health and homes, flooding can cause or exacerbate pipeline failures and chemical disasters, spreading hazardous chemicals through contaminated water. In 2019, CPR explored the threat of toxic floodwaters in Hampton Roads, Virginia, finding that many hazardous industrial facilities are located in socially vulnerable communities prone to flooding. Hampton Roads residents already brace themselves for the possibility of losing their cars or sustaining damage to their homes during major storms. But they also need to beware the threat from toxins that could be looming in the floodwaters. When toxic flooding occurs in these communities, low wages, poor access to health care, and lack of transportation can make the health threats even worse.
Mothers Out Front PWC, Climate Groups Applaud Bold Climate Resolution by Prince William County School Board
Published by Lowkell, Blue Virginia
Woodbridge, VA- The moms’ climate group Mothers Out Front (MOF) Prince William County is thrilled to announce the approval of the boldest climate resolution ever passed by a local Prince William authority.
The resolution, which was drafted with significant input over the course of the year from MOF, the Greater Prince William Climate Action Network (GPWCAN) and youth group PWC Climate Action, was passed unanimously by the PWC School Board last night.
Our groups advocated for several of the most significant actions included in the resolution:
- Recognizing climate change as a “worldwide threat with the potential to harm our economy, safety, public health, and quality of life” and planning to create “a long-term strategic plan to address sustainability concerns”;
- Directing staff to establish standards that include renewable energy and “provide options for design and construction of net zero buildings, including all new construction and major renovations over 10,000 square feet, as well as any major roof replacements”;
- Presenting the School Board with solar Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) plans for all new construction, and retrofitting opportunities for older schools, where appropriate;
- Providing the cost of replacing all fossil fuel school buses with electric school buses;
- Establishing a Sustainability Advisory Committee, comprised of community members, staff, and students, that will provide the School Board with perspectives of all stakeholders;
- Requesting that the Prince William Board of County Supervisors creates a Joint Task Force on Sustainability in concert with the School Board; and
- Creating measurable standards of environmental literacy, to include a focus on sustainability for all K-12 students in PWCS.
In April, we began our virtual strike in collaboration with climateactionpwc and The Greater Prince William Climate Action Network. Our strike theme this week is People over Profit, and that means doing that by addressing the climate crisis and the coronavirus crisis.
Over-development can lead to increased flooding and erosion in PWC, contributing to the larger issues of climate change and environmental destruction. Often the new developments don't commit to significant renewable energy or green initiatives. Residents are very aware and often push back, only to be voted over anyway. It's time we put people over profit and loosen the grip of real estate companies and fossil fuel companies in the county.
We are asking our Board of County Supervisors to explicitly include in the county budget measures that will ensure a clean and sustainable environment for all.
In addressing the COVID-19 crisis, local representatives must prioritize people over profit, especially supporting our gig/retail/service industry workers, medical workers and other at risk people by expanding social safety net programs, providing accessible health treatment and providing economic relief to PWC residents. #PeopleOverProfit
Mothers Out Front Fairfax County are in the news and credited with raising the sense of urgency for a transition to Electric School Buses for Delegate Mark Keam.
After the Fairfax County chapter of Mothers Out Front brought the issue to Keam’s attention, he began to view the matter as equally urgent.
“I have two kids, one with severe allergies and seasonal asthma. I never put two and two together about the health impacts of using diesel school buses,” he said. “We’re exposing a lot of kids to one of the most toxic fuels on the roadway: diesel.”
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Mothers Out Front Fairfax County are #inthenews again!
"HB 1140 was written with input from the Fairfax County team of Mothers Out Front, an organization that works to protect communities from the effects of climate change, WSET reports. The team is planning an event in Richmond to call for state legislators to support the bill on Jan. 21, according to its Facebook page."
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With concerns from allies and Mothers Out Front Fairfax County that legislation backed by Dominion Energy to replace 1,050 dirty diesel-powered school buses won’t move fast enough;
“...grassroots organizations have countered with their own bill that addresses their chief concerns of climate change and children’s health by offering a pot of money for massive diesel-to-electric bus conversions by 2030 to school districts both in and beyond Dominion’s territory.
“On the whole, electric school buses, no matter how we get them in the state, are awesome,” said Bobby Monacella, co-leader of the Fairfax County chapter of Mothers Out Front. “But we saw a gap with the Dominion program and this is how we wanted to fix it. We want schools to be thinking about a plan.”
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Mothers Out Front in Fairfax County are #inthenews with their #CleanBuses4Kids campaign!
After years of urging county officials to take more substantial action to address climate change, local environmental advocates expressed excitement about FCPS introducing electric buses to its fleet.
The Fairfax County chapter of Mothers Out Front, a national climate justice advocacy network, launched a Clean Buses for Kids campaign to bring electric school buses to FCPS last August, just days before Dominion announced its statewide initiative.
“We applaud any addition of clean buses to Virginia’s fleet, and we are very happy that FCPS was awarded part of the Dominion pilot,” Mothers Out Front Fairfax County said in a statement. “At the same time, we will continue to advocate for a complete and equitable transition of Virginia’s school bus fleet by 2030.”
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Charlottesville leaders, together with allies, travelled to Richmond today to talk to their legislators about clean energy.
Mothers Out Front Fairfax County are in the news with a #VIDEO report from WDVM about the Electric School Bus campaign! #CleanBuses4Kids
FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Last fall, Fairfax County sealed a dealwith Dominion Energy to replace its diesel school buses with electric by 2030, thanks to the effort of Mothers Out Front Fairfax.
On Monday [Feb. 13], Mothers Out Front declared its support for Delegate Mark Keam’s (D-Va 35) bill, introduced in the Virginia House of Delegates last week, that would incentivize school districts across the state to make the switch to electric by 2030.
Mothers Out Front Fairfax Co-Leader Bobby Monacella says there are four times more school buses than transit buses in the United States. Fairfax County is home to the country’s second largest school bus fleet.
Congratulations to Mothers Out Front Fairfax County for being in the news!
Virginia Delegate Mark Keam has filed a bill that would convert diesel school buses to electric by 2030. House Bill 1140, which was drafted with significant input from Mothers Out Front, sets up a new block grant program which would allow school districts to seek funding to help replace their current diesel school buses with electric ones, as well as expenses for infrastructure support, according to a press release from Mothers Out Front.
“Transitioning from diesel to zero-emission buses will have a measurable positive effect on our children’s health and their future in the face of climate change,” said Delegate Keam, a Democratic lawmaker representing Fairfax County in the state legislature. “I want to thank Mothers Out Front for working with me on this sensible solution that protects our kids’ health while addressing the climate crisis.”