FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 5, 2008
Alexandria's Top Ten Environmental Accomplishments of 2008
Achievements Include Adoption of Environmental Charter, Mirant Settlement, Increased Public Outreach
The year 2008 was very “green” for the City of Alexandria. Through a number of accomplishments, the City solidified its establishment as an Eco-City, providing a foundation for continuing its work toward achieving and maintaining a vibrant and sustainable City in 2009 and beyond. Alexandria’s top ten environmental achievements of 2008 were:
- Adopting one of the first Environmental Charters in the United States.
- Reaching a settlement and agreement with Mirant Potomac, LLC, that resulted in Mirant funding $34 million towards environmental improvements at its Potomac River Generating Station.
- Establishing a Transportation Commission and adopting a Transportation Master Plan that outlined a transportation system that encourages the use of alternative modes of transportation and promotes a balance between travel efficiency and quality of life. Consistent with the plan, the City initiated the King Street Trolley.
- Being recognized in October 2008 by the Virginia Municipal League as one of the top three “greenest” local Virginia governments with a population greater than 90,000.
- Continued being a leader in building green, making progress on designing or constructing new public buildings to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System Silver certification or better. These projects represent approximately $250 million of capital investment.
- Holding several successful environmental education and outreach events in 2008 involving more than 2,000 participants. The events included stream clean ups, rain barrel workshops, an Eco-City Café, Alexandria Earth Day and an Environmental Summit.
- Significantly enhancing the City’s recycling program, increasing the types of materials the City collects as part of the residential recycling program, expanding days and hours of operation for the City’s Household Hazardous Waste drop-off center, updating recycling in City Hall and adding recycling at Market Square.
- Establishing an Energy Conservation Committee focused on reducing energy consumption at City facilities, and designating $1.5 million over five years for energy conservation projects in public buildings. The target is to reduce consumption by 3% per year. In addition, the City began purchasing clean energy in 2008.
- Forming a partnership between the City’s Office of Environmental Quality and the Alexandria Public Schools (ACPS) to obtain a $70,000 grant from Virginia to retrofit approximately 40 school buses with clean air technology.
- Building on the success of the City’s Open Space Program, Alexandria began planning for two pocket parks, one on the West End and one in Del Ray, and cleaned up another property along Mount Vernon Avenue that will become part of Four Mile Run Park.
Of these achievements, the most significant was the City’s adoption of one of the first Environmental Charters in the United States as part of its Eco-City Alexandria Initiative. The Charter, drafted by the City’s Environmental Policy Commission (EPC) after significant community involvement, was adopted by City Council in June 2008. This visionary document will guide the City to become even more environmentally sustainable for decades. In order to implement the vision of the Environmental Charter, the EPC, with assistance from City Staff and Virginia Tech’s Urban Planning Program, began work on developing the City’s new Environmental Action Plan, which will have two phases:
- Phase I, which will be presented to City Council for its consideration in January, will focus on enhancements to existing programs, actions that can be taken between now and the end of Fiscal Year 2011, especially in consideration of current local and regional economic challenges.
- Phase II , beginning Spring 2009, will focus on mid- and longer- term goals and objectives and broader policy issues and action steps that would start in Fiscal Year 2012 (July 1, 2011) and beyond.
For more information on the City’s environmental accomplishments, or on Eco-City Alexandria, visit alexandriava.gov/tes or contact Kathleen Leonard at 703.838.4966 or Kathleen.firstname.lastname@example.org.