Montgomery Council Requires Climate Review of All New Legislation

Montgomery County Council recently passed a measure requiring Climate Impact Statements for all future legislation, zoning measures, and master plans. 

Earlier this week the Montgomery County Council unanimously voted to pass Bill 3-22, Legislative Branch – Climate Assessments – Required, which would require the director of the Office of Legislative Oversight to prepare a climate assessment for each bill, zoning text amendment, master plan and master plan amendment pending before the Council.  

This historic legislation aims to curb climate change effects and facilitate the County’s efforts to reach its climate goals. All Councilmembers co-sponsored the legislation. 

According to the press release:

“This legislation will require all bills and zoning text amendments to have a climate impact assessment, which will ensure our policies are made through a lens of sustainability and equity,” said Councilmember Hucker, who chairs the Transportation and Environment Committee. “These are the type of systematic changes needed to meet our ambitious climate goals.”

“This groundbreaking legislation will support local lawmakers to make impactful decisions through a climate lens and preserve the environment,” Council President Albornoz said. “These assessments will also help to safeguard our public health, lessen poverty and minimize the impact of climate change on our County residents. I am proud to have co-led Bill 3-22 and help shape a sustainable and healthy future for all to enjoy.”    

Each climate assessment would consist of the potential positive or negative effects, if any, of the bill, zoning text amendment, master plan or master plan amendment on climate change, including greenhouse gas emissions, sequestration and carbon drawdown. Additionally, the assessment would provide quantitative or qualitative evaluations of the identified effects on community resilience and make recommendations regarding amendments or other measures to mitigate any negative climate impacts.  

The legislation will strengthen the Council’s understanding of the potential climate impacts and implications of proposed legislation and better prepare the Council to make policy decisions that move the County toward a green, sustainable future that will benefit generations to come. 

Maryland’s counties have been at the forefront nationally in the fight against climate change. The MACo Summer Conference session, “On the Horizon – The Future of Maryland Environmental Policy” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball will moderate a conversation between Maryland’s leading environmental lawmakers, Senator Paul Pinsky and Delegate Kumar Barve. 

The 2022 MACo Summer Conference will take place at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD, from August 17-22. This year’s theme is “Taking Care of Business.”

Read the full press release. 

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: