Montgomery County Climate News: April, 2024 - Celebrating Earth Month

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FRIDAY, APRIL, 5, 2024


Montgomery County Updates

A letter from Montgomery County's Climate Officer, Sarah Kogel-Smucker

April is Earth Month and this newsletter highlights some of the many fantastic environmental events happening throughout our community, as well a link to some simple everyday actions you can take to make a difference. 

Earth Day was started in 1970 to spur collective action toward sustainability. Now, 54 years later, the importance of such action is more urgent than ever due to climate change. The hotter summers and more frequent and extreme weather events we’re already experiencing will only get worse if we don’t address the carbon pollution that causes global warming.   

The theme of Montgomery County's Earth Month 2024 is Act Now, and the good news is, we can in fact, act now on climate change by using clean power, efficient electric appliances and vehicles, and producing less waste. The even better news is – fun events throughout the County can help you learn and do more! 

I encourage you to attend some of the Earth Month festivals, summits, and activities around the County. Additionally, I challenge each of you to choose one thing to change in your day-to-day routine, whether it's buying clothes second-hand or remembering to turn off the lights when you leave a room. By taking action now, you can integrate these changes into your lifestyle throughout the year, making a significant impact. 

Here's to a fun, sustainable, and momentum-building Earth Month in Montgomery County. 

Warm regards, 

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New Did You KnowAct Now - Earth Month Theme

Local Climate News

Local climate news and updates from Montgomery County, the State of Maryland, and our surrounding region.

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“As I have said many times before and as we know all too well, we are facing a climate crisis that is not easily solved and cannot be solved at the County level alone,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “We must do what we can and hopefully serve as a model for other jurisdictions around the country. I am recommending $365 million toward our efforts to fight climate change. My budget adds funds to help low-income residents access federal incentives and tax credits for climate-friendly investments that are available via the Federal Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and the Jobs Act of 2023. We are investing in our continued transition to electric vehicles, expanding solar infrastructure, improving the tree canopy, reducing pollution in our rivers and streams as well as engaging more County residents in adopting local climate solutions.” 

Environmental Sustainability & Climate Change Highlights Include: 

  • Recommending $365 million to fight climate change through transit, increased renewable energy, improved building efficiency, and nature-based solutions
    • $19.1 million for the Montgomery County Green Bank – an increase of almost $500,000 over FY24 budget 
  • Adds $9 million in new spending to further the County’s efforts to fight climate change, including:  
    • $275,000 to help under-resourced building owners like nonprofits and small businesses comply with the County’s Building Energy Performance Standards
    • Adds funds to help low-income residents access federal incentive and tax credits for climate-friendly investments 
    • Enhancements to build out the County’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure 
    • Adds a position and operating support to build out the County’s solar charging infrastructure 
  • Adds funds to support climate change solutions in the transportation sector, clean energy efforts, and zero waste efforts

Read more via

Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Q&A: Maryland’s First Chief Sustainability Officer Takes on the State’s Climate and Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Goals

Maryland Governor Wes Moore appointed Meghan Conklin to be the state’s first chief sustainability officer—a challenging role that requires her to work with federal, state, local and private partners to ensure that Maryland meets its bold climate and environmental targets, such as reaching net-zero emissions by 2045. She will serve on the governor’s planned climate sub-cabinet and Chesapeake Bay Cabinet, developing and implementing climate-related policies, regulations, and programs. 

Read more in Inside Climate News



Extreme Heat, Severe Storms Among Key Climate Challenges for Maryland’s New Chief Resilience Officer

The Maryland General Assembly passed legislation in its 2022 session establishing an Office of Resilience to be set up within the Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM)—a peripheral agency dealing mostly with terrorism, safety and homeland security issues. 

The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Katie Hester (D-Howard County) after seeing Ellicott City’s downtown area devastated by floods in 2016 and 2018.

Read more in Inside Climate News

Beyond the DMV

National and international climate change news that affects life in the U.S. and beyond.

Hydrogen Fuel in Texas

Texas Energy Companies Are Betting Hydrogen Can Become a Cleaner Fuel for Transportation

More from the Texas Tribune


Nearly half of US homes at severe or extreme 'climate risk,' report says

Almost half of all homes in the U.S. are at severe or extreme risk of flood, hurricane winds, wildfires, heat and/or hazardous air quality.

In the 2024 Housing and Climate Risk Report, looked at homes across the nation to analyze which cities had homes at the highest risk of those disasters, which the site calls climate risk.

Read more in Fox Weather +



Markets Punish Corporations That Ignore Climate and Environmental Risks

In a world grappling with the escalating impacts of climate change, corporations find themselves at a critical juncture.

A new study has shed light on the financial implications of climate risks for businesses, revealing a stark divide between those that proactively manage these risks and those that pretend not to notice the looming threats.

Read more on 


Grant Opportunities

We are excited to share the below news and opportunities below. These important grants are offered by both local and federal funding opportunities, and are made available to local governments, universities, community organizations, businesses and individuals.


Montgomery County Announces $1.5M Grant Opportunity to Help Low and Moderate-Income Residents Prepare Homes for Climate Hazards  

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Office of Grants Management (OGM) are soliciting grant applications for the County’s FY 2024 Healthy, Efficient, Electrified, Climate-Adapted Pilot (HEECAP) Homes Grants Program, which aims to retrofit income-eligible houses for energy efficiency, a healthy indoor environment, climate resilience and all-electric appliances. A total of $1,500,000 will be made available to fund awards to eligible nonprofits between $300,000 and $1,500,000 for 12, 18, or 24 months.

The program seeks to explore innovative solutions, addressing gaps in existing federal, state, and county programs. The focus is on empowering communities to combat climate change and fostering racial equity and social justice. The grant supports initiatives to enhance community resilience, protect housing for vulnerable residents, and reduce emissions.

Key Program Dates:

  • Submission Deadline: Monday, April 8, 2024 at 11:59 PM 

Click here for more information or click here to download the full Notice of Funding Opportunity.


Biden-Harris Administration Announces $2 Billion to Fund Environmental and Climate Justice Community Change Grants as Part of Investing in America Agenda

The Biden-Harris Administration has announced a groundbreaking $2 billion investment in environmental and climate justice through the Community Change Grants program. Administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), these grants constitute the largest single investment in environmental justice, supporting community-led projects focused on clean energy, climate resilience, and environmental justice challenges. The funds, part of President Biden's Investing in America agenda and facilitated by the Inflation Reduction Act, aim to empower disadvantaged communities historically overlooked and burdened by pollution. The program offers two tracks for submission, totaling approximately $2 billion, with specific Target Investment Areas identified, including support for tribes, territories, and border communities. Rolling applications will be accepted until November 21, 2024, and oral presentations from applicants are encouraged. Additionally, $200 million is allocated for technical assistance to enhance community access to resources for environmental and climate justice activities. EPA will host informational webinars to provide further details and address questions.

For more information, click here

Student Corner

This month's student highlight comes from Montgomery County's Student Climate Action Council (SCAC), a council of 14 students working with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) to represent clusters of the county to advance sustainability initiatives and create a greener school system by holding MCPS accountable for their climate goals.

Student Corner

In their words:

Hello! We are the inaugural MCPS Student Climate Action Council (SCAC), made up of 14 Councilmembers and over 200 Climate Ambassadors throughout Montgomery County who are all passionate about fighting for a more sustainable future. We were sanctioned by the Board of Education to advise the Board on sustainability issues and support student sustainability projects with a $75,000 budget. We are excited to announce that applications to become an SCAC Councilmember for the 2024-25 school year are open now! Apply here by April 14.

Here are some of our accomplishments so far:

Grants: The SCAC has accepted 10 grants in our first round of applications, totaling about $20,000, and we hope to support even more in the coming years! 

Climate Ambassadors: We have a network of 200 MCPS students working to support our work. We have held both virtual and in-person meetings with our Ambassadors and have been so impressed by their passion! If you'd like to get involved with the program here is our rolling application form

Communications: We have created social media posts, including important announcements and videos (watch our introductory video here), with the help of our ambassadors. Follow us on Instagram and TikTok at @mcpsscac and check out our website

Operations & Outreach: We’re committed to giving all students an equitable opportunity to participate in and understand our work. To accomplish this, we have held school visits and provided key information to schools across the county. We’re also working with an elementary school teacher to support her school’s sustainability work!

Policy: The SCAC has spent the past several months researching the impacts of artificial turf fields. We are close to finishing a comprehensive report on this topic, but in the meantime, you can watch our testimony to the Board of Education on it here (timestamp 00:42:49) and here (timestamps 01:41:14, 01:45:53, and 02:11:16). 

We look forward to continuing our work!

Green Jobs Board

Lots of exciting opportunities available for job seekers. Check out DEP’s Green Job Portal for climate and sustainability jobs, including these highlighted positions:

Environmental Best Practice & Data Coordinator: This position falls within the Facility Services Division (FSD) the largest Division within the Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County, that provides high quality maintenance and maintenance support services for all of the parks and recreation facilities. View Job

Fleet Charging Infrastructure Specialist: The Fleet Charging Infrastructure Specialist will play a critical role in delivering innovative fleet charging solutions for truCurrent’s customers. The company is seeking a candidate who has experience working with large enterprises to deploy on-site fleet chargers to power their medium- and heavy-duty (MHD) truck fleets. View Job

Land Use Planning Policy Analyst: DEP is seeking to fill a full-time Land Use Planning Policy Analyst position (specializing in Environmental Planning) in the Recycling and Resource Management Division to independently develop comprehensive strategic plans and policy recommendations on sustainable materials management, specifically focused on strategies for waste reduction, reuse and recycling. View Job

Clean Energy & Grid Research Analyst: Reporting to the Senior Manager, you will support WRI’s U.S. Energy team, which focuses on accelerating an equitable transition to clean energy. You will provide research that supports the Energy Program in expanding deployment of clean energy, accelerating electrification, and decarbonizing the electricity sector in the United States. View Job

Demand Response Energy Analyst (Hybrid): To support our growth, ICF is seeking an entry level candidate to provide program support for our utility program team in Maryland. Working closely with program and portfolio managers, this individual will coordinate and contribute to various deliverables such as creating and managing progress reports, conducting research on demand response initiatives for other utilities, supporting program stakeholders and participants, and researching products and enhancements. View Job

Upcoming Events

Energy Summit

2024 Montgomery County Energy Summit (Monday, April 15 – 16, 8:00 am – 5:30 pm) at Silver Spring Civic Building, 1 Veterans Pl, Silver Spring. Cutting-edge education focused on the latest trends in green building, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and related commercial, multifamily, and residential topics in Montgomery County. $40/day, or $75 for both days. For more information, click here

MCPS Climate Event

MCPS will host the its annual Youth Climate Summit (Saturday, April 13, 8:30 am - 3:30 pm), in-person at Tilden Middle School. This student-led event is designed to educate MCPS high school students about climate change and equip them with the tools to create climate action projects to bring back to their communities. During the summit, students will talk with environmental mentors, collaborate with peer leaders and grow as environmental activists. Students will have the option of attending the summit as mentors or participants. All students will receive Student Service Learning (SSL) hours, environmentally friendly food options and access to environmental justice resources. Transportation will be provided on MCPS electric buses. For more information or to register, click here

Illumination Stations (April 8,9,10, 16,17, 29, 30), an innovative initiative launched by Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) where residents can learn about energy efficiency and exchange old incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs for new energy-efficient LED light bulbs throughout the month. This not only promotes energy savings but also highlights the importance of adopting greener technologies in our daily lives. For more information, click here.

Food Waste Prevention Week (April 3-7), stop by any of the Food Is Too Good to Waste Education Events at specific local grocery stores throughout the County. For more information, click here.

Healthy Homes Fair (Saturday, April 5, 1:00 - 5:00 pm) at DC Armory. Come learn how to use your home as a tool to fight climate change! This is an expo and interactive experience for homeowners, renters, home renovation professionals and career seekers to learn about the products and services needed to improve our health, increase comfort, and reduce emissions from the homes of the DC region. Free, for more information, click here

Backyard Composting Workshop (Saturday, April 13, 10:30 – 11:30 am) at Damascus Library. Take part in a workshop and pick up a backyard composting bin and materials. Please note that bins are only available to Montgomery County residents and by accepting a bin, you agree that Montgomery County may contact you to provide any follow-up assistance that may be needed. For more information, click here.

Rockville Science Day (Sunday, April 21, 12:00 – 5:00 pm) at Montgomery College - Rockville Campus. Join over 100 exhibitors celebrating science including NIH, University of Maryland, NSA's National Cryptologic Museum, and many more. Also, Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will have an educational display to teach about composting and recycling. Free to attend and park – for more information, click here.

GreenFest, (Saturday, April 27, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm) at the Blackrock Center for the Arts in Germantown. Enjoy the largest annual environmental festival in Montgomery County, MD. People of all ages come together to celebrate, learn, and start or continue their journey to improving our community and the environment! Free – for more information, click here.  

Backyard Food Scraps Composting Webinar (Online – April 30, 6:30 -7:30 pm), join DEP’s Recycling and Resource Management Division - Waste Reduction and Recycling Section staff for a virtual workshop to learn how to compost various types of food scraps in your backyard. Free – for more information, click here.