Following their first meeting of the year on Jan. 22, a public meeting of the Joint Environmental Task Force, or JET for short, met on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at the Fairfax County Public School Gatehouse Administration Center in Falls Church. The Task Force is a collaboration between the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the School Board. Its mission is to join the political and administrative capabilities of the county and the school system to address climate change and environmental sustainability proactively.
Membership includes Supervisors Penny Gross (D-Mason) and Dan Storck (D-Mount Vernon), School Board members Karl Frisch (Providence) and Elaine Tholen (Dranesville), as well as community partners from higher education, industry, community and student advocacy groups. The work of the Task Force is to "set and meet aggressive goals in areas of common influence, such as workforce development; infrastructure and sustainability of public facilities and transportation; land use planning; communication and community engagement; and other challenges and opportunities as they arise," according to fairfaxcounty.gov.
On Jan. 22, Supervisor Storck discussed Board member and governmental leadership. He said that the task force wanted to harness the membership's energy and "may be able to move things more quickly than CECAP" (the Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan of the nine district-level Focus Groups). School Board Member Frisch suggested JET "should develop very clear, achievable stretch goals with a plan to achieve and way to measure success." Supervisor Gross noted the need to recognize and identify associated costs. Members agreed JET needed staff technical support on subcommittees. Members noted consideration of waste management, workforce development and a clean energy plan.
Subcommittee leadership is as follows: Storck-Energy; Gross-Waste Reduction/Recycling; Frisch-Transportation and Tholen-Workforce.
Members will establish an understanding of County/Schools existing practices, goals and targets, as well as restrictions on what County/Schools can and cannot do. Members would identify what additional information was needed to make recommendations to the County/Schools.
Meetings will be on the first Wednesday of the month. The next meeting is March 4 at the Fairfax County Gatehouse Administration Center, first Floor – Gatehouse Café, 8115 Gatehouse Rd. Falls Church.