Montgomery County Sierra Club Group Endorses David Blair for County Executive

by Patrick Herron
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The Sierra Club Montgomery County Group announced Tuesday that they would be endorsing David Blair for Montgomery County Executive. The Sierra Club is an environmental protection and advocacy group, which has local chapters throughout all 50 states.  According to their website, “the Montgomery County Maryland Group focuses on local issues, including improving public transit, maintaining clean water sources, supporting and monitoring the county’s Climate Protection Plan, and endorsing and supporting green candidates.”  The Sierra Club said that Blair will be a strong and effective leader, and that he has an appealing environmental platform. In a press release, the Sierra Club said, “we understand that our endorsement of Mr. Blair will be met with surprise and even frustration by some. Montgomery County Sierra Club, though, believes that Mr. Blair is the best candidate overall to continue and expand real environmental progress in our County.”

Press Release: April 26, 2022
The Sierra Club Montgomery County Group announced its endorsement of David Blair for Montgomery County Executive. After conducting a detailed and lengthy review of the major candidates, the Sierra Club reached the conclusion that Mr. Blair will be a strong and effective leader. He combines an appealing environmental platform with personal qualities and experiences that will help him translate that platform into action.

Mr. Blair’s extensive environmental platform addresses a multitude of local environmental concerns and is actionable for the county executive’s office to achieve. To read it in full visit: https://www.blairformontgomery.com/environmental-progress The platform includes:
  • Tripling the county’s government-supported solar generation through power purchase agreements for large scale solar and more support for rooftop solar
  • Expanding smart growth policies, including building more housing near Metro stations
  • Commitment to transition government buildings to net zero
  • Creating a net-zero home incentive program
  • Creating a no-net-loss tree program, planting 10,000 trees a year, and ramping up programs to support health of the our existing trees
  • Countywide composting pickup
  • Better stormwater management and green infrastructure
  • Free Ride-On bus in perpetuity, and expanded transit funding
David Sears, longtime Political Chair of the Sierra Club’s Montgomery Group, made this statement.
David Blair understands the urgency of addressing climate change and is running a campaign dedicated to action. He has a bold, achievable vision for Montgomery County where we grow public transit, support walkable and bikeable communities, emphasize smart growth and jobs in Montgomery County, and do our part to contribute to Maryland’s transformation to relying on clean energy located in-state. David will  help grow renewable energy development by investing in the expansion of solar power generation; more transit by bringing Ride-On into the 21st century and supporting real Bus Rapid Transit with dedicated lanes. He has a track record of executive leadership and is dedicated to working for the public good.
The Sierra Club recognizes that Mr. Blair is not opposed to the State’s toll lane plan for the Beltway and I-270. The Sierra Club will continue to urge Mr. Blair, the Montgomery County Council, the General Assembly and the next Governor to oppose this boondoggle. We look forward to working with Mr. Blair on transportation initiatives that promote equity and reduce car trips, including the expansion of bus rapid transit with dedicated lanes and providing free fares on the County’s Ride-On bus system.
Josh Tulkin, Director of the Maryland Sierra Club Chapter, stated:
We remain steadfastly opposed to Governor Hogan’s plan. It would be an environmental and financial disaster, attract more drivers which would increase greenhouse gas emissions and other toxic pollution, and adversely impact our communities, parks, tree canopy, and local waterways. It also would not reduce traffic congestion for the majority, just serving the few able to pay the high tolls. 
The Sierra Club concluded that the other two major candidates, County Executive Marc Elrich and Councilmember Hans Riemer, also have laudable strengths but have taken problematic actions against the environment. While Mr. Elrich has fought hard against the Governor’s highway expansion proposal and developed a county climate action plan, we have been on different sides on multiple key issues, including smart growth, building solar on a small portion of the County’s Agricultural Reserve, and bus rapid transit, and we have been disappointed with the limited extent to which promises and plans have been turned into action. Councilmember Riemer has been a strong advocate for clean energy and smart growth, but recently led the effort to breathe continued life into the Governor’s highway plan at the region’s Transportation Planning Board. We hope that with fresh leadership we can see further strides in implementation of long awaiting solutions to climate challenges.
We understand that our endorsement of Mr. Blair will be met with surprise and even frustration by some. Montgomery County Sierra Club, though, believes that Mr. Blair is the best candidate overall to continue and expand real environmental progress in our County.
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