Thursday, July 27, 2017

Council Urges Stronger Carbon Emissions Standards

Here's the full press release:

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 26, 2017—Today the Montgomery County Council sent a letter to Governor Larry Hogan urging him to take a stand against climate change by supporting stronger carbon emissions reduction standards in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).  

Maryland is one of nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states that are part of RGGI, a regional cap-and-trade system on power plant carbon emissions established in 2009.  Last year RGGI began a review to determine whether to adopt a lower cap and stricter standards.  All nine Councilmembers signed a letter to Gov. Hogan asking the state to back increasing RGGI’s annual emissions reduction target to five percent.

“The urgency with which more aggressive emission reduction goals are needed has only increased in recent months given our federal government’s shortsighted and negligent decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement,” wrote the Councilmembers.  “It is more important than ever that state and local governments do their part.  And it has become increasingly clear that doing so will not hurt our economy.  Power generators under existing RGGI standards have successfully adapted to current standards while continuing to provide a reliable supply of electricity.”

RGGI is expected to announce the results of its review this summer.  Maryland is represented on the Board of Directors of RGGI, Inc., by Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Benjamin Grumbles and Maryland Public Service Commission Chairman Kevin Hughes.

“The regional cap-and-trade system established by RGGI in 2009 has proven to be a success, with 2015 power plant emissions in the participating states falling 6.3 percent below the cap and electricity prices across the region decreasing by 3.4 percent on average compared to a 7.2 percent increase in other states,” wrote the councilmembers.  “During this time, the nine RGGI states reduced carbon emissions by 16 percent more than other states while experiencing 3.6 percent more economic growth, according to a 2016 study by the Acadia Center.  Even stronger standards will bring stronger results.”

The complete letter can be viewed at:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Rental Housing Study Briefing

In response to concerns raised about affordable housing, and particularly market-rate affordable housing, during discussions of the Long Branch and Glenmont Sector Plans, Park and Planning proposed and the Council funded a county-wide Rental Housing Study. The Planning Department provides this background on the purpose of the study.

The economic trends of Montgomery County and the Metropolitan DC region have exacerbated a rental housing shortage. And providing the appropriate housing stock to meet the demand for affordable housing is a challenge. The purpose of the study is to identify Montgomery County's rental housing issues and needs, and offer holistic and sustainable approaches to meeting them. A goal of the study is to help guarantee long term affordability of rental housing for a diverse range of households. The study will provide recommendations for increasing the availability of affordable rental housing by determining factors that contribute to increased housing costs, identifying best practices that could be implemented to preserve and add to the affordable rental stock, and recommending potential changes to current policies and programs. 

At yesterday's briefing on the study, we learned that 33 percent of all residential housing units are rental units; that 74 percent of renter households earn less than 100 percent of area median income; and that only 19 percent of rental units are affordable to households earning less than 50 percent of area median income.

The Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee will start looking at these issues and recommendations on October 2. Read the full study or watch the briefing.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Council Opposes New Potomac River Crossing

This morning the Council passed a resolution reaffirming our opposition to a new Potomac River bridge. We took the action at this time because the Long-Range Plan Task Force of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board recommended further study of a northern crossing. Montgomery County has long opposed a second crossing as a part of our commitment to protecting the Agricultural Reserve, to conserving farmland and to protecting established residential neighborhoods. We also believe our scarce transportation dollars would be better spent on other projects, including solutions on I-270. See the resolution.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Watch Out for Telephone Scam

The County is asking for your help with this scam. Here's the full press release:

Montgomery County Government wants to inform residents about a telephone spoofing scam that is taking place in our area. Several County residents have reported receiving calls from scammers who are fraudulently using County telephone numbers (240-773-xxxx and 240-777-xxxx). While we don't yet know the objectives of the perpetrators, there have been no reports of loss of money, nor personally identifiable information, to date.

Many calls are left without a message, which has prompted affected residents to call back. When the resident calls back the County number, the County employee answering the call is unaware that anyone is using their telephone number. County officials are investigating and would like to hear from residents who have received these calls to assist our efforts in addressing this problem. 

If you receive a call from a County government telephone number that is suspicious, please report it by calling MC311 or by visiting to answer the following questions:

  1. When did you receive the call or message (date/time)?
  2. If you received a message or spoke to someone, what did they say?
  3. What number did the caller ID indicate that the call originated from? (What County number was used in the spoof call?) 
Residents can reach MC311 in the County by dialing 3-1-1 or 240-777-0311 from anywhere, Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The MC311 website,, is available 24/7.