You have permission to edit this article.
Edit

County considers plastic bag tax to help fund new environmental office

  • Updated
  • 0
plastic bags at a Wal-Mart checkout stand

Prince William County officials are examining the possibility of creating an office of environmental sustainability and are considering a 5-cent plastic bag tax to help fund it. 

The tax would likely not be implemented until next year, however, and projected revenues would be minimal – only around $50,000 per year, according to Prince William County Executive Chris Martino. 

The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation in 2020 allowing localities to collect taxes on disposable bags given by grocery stores, convenience stores and drugstores. 

Tax revenues must be allocated for environmental cleanup, pollution and litter management, providing educational programs to reduce environmental waste and to pay for reusable bags for recipients of federal food support programs.

Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington are also considering whether to implement a plastic bag tax.

The cost to create a countywide sustainability office, as well as a county climate action plan and citizen-led environmental sustainability commission, would cost an estimated $650,000, according to county officials.

Whether the office receives funding this year is up to the board of county supervisors.

At-large Chair Ann Wheeler said Wednesday, March 17, she is in full support of the effort and said it is possible the board could fund the office in this year’s budget, with or without a plastic bag tax. 

“It's an important subject that we need to start acting on,” Wheeler said. 

Supervisor Kenny Boddye, D-Occoquan, a vocal advocate for adopting countywide environmental policies, said his office is working to identify a funding source for the environmental sustainability office. 

“I am proud of the advocacy by the community on this issue that has brought us to the precipice of establishing an office of sustainability,” Boddye said. “We hope to be able to address it this budget cycle.”

The new sustainability office would be established in part to help the county meet environmental goals set in 2020 to address the local impacts of climate change. Those goals include sourcing 100% of electricity for county buildings from renewables by 2030 and drastically reducing countywide greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels are causing temperatures to rise across the planet and increasing global temperatures have been accompanied by changes in weather and climate, including more floods, droughts and intense rain, as well as more frequent and severe heat waves, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The creation of an office of environmental sustainability and a climate action plan would be a major win for local activists who have been urging the board to back their climate resolution with the necessary funding. 

Reach Daniel Berti at dberti@fauquier.com

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.
0
0
0
0
0

2020 was a year marked by hardships and challenges, but the Prince William community has proven resilient. The Prince William Times is honored to serve as your community companion. To say thank you for your continued support, we’d like to offer all our subscribers -- new or returning --

4 WEEKS FREE DIGITAL AND PRINT ACCESS.

We understand the importance of working to keep our community strong and connected. As we move forward together into 2021, it will take commitment, communication, creativity, and a strong connection with those who are most affected by the stories we cover.

We are dedicated to providing the reliable, local journalism you have come to expect. We are committed to serving you with renewed energy and growing resources. Let the Prince William Times be your community companion throughout 2021, and for many years to come.

Subscribe

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Page Title

The future of Prince William Times now depends on community support. Your donation will help us continue to improve our journalism through in-depth local news coverage and expanded reader engagement.

Keeping you connected to the Community. Find or Submit your local event here..

Sign Up For Newsletters