Sustainable DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2014 (Washington D.C.)

Two major packages of legislation directly supporting Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray’s 'Sustainable DC' initiative have been adopted. The ‘Sustainable DC Act of 2012’ was signed into law January 2013, and the ‘Sustainable DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2014’ on July 29, 2014.

On January 16, 2013 Mayor Gray passed the ‘Sustainable DC Act of 2012’ in preparation of the release of his full sustainability plan, Sustainable DC. When first proposed, the ‘Sustainable DC Act’ consisted of nine components with sustainability measures, and all nine proposals were adopted by the District Council. Two proposals became law as part of the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Support Act of 2012 and the remaining were signed into law as of July 2014.

The ‘Sustainable DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2014’ will help achieve Mayor Gray’s vision to make the District of Columbia, in one generation, “the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city in the United States.” The components of this legislation address the challenges as prioritized in the Sustainable DC Plan including: growing jobs and the economy, improving health and wellness, ensuring equity and diversity, and protecting the District’s climate and the environment.

Specifically, the 2014 legislation supports the District building a benchmarking program by making data on energy and water use more accessible; it creates an environmental literacy program, prohibits the sale or use of polystyrene containers for food service, and increases the District's tree canopy by requiring payment to offset the destruction or removal of a tree.

There are seven subtitles that make up the Sustainable DC Act of 2014, some of which support climate change adaptation including: 

  • The “Aggregate Benchmarking Data Access” and “Benchmarking Data Transfer Improvement” Acts will support the District’s cutting-edge building benchmarking program by making data on energy and water use more accessible to building owners through direct electronic reporting by utilities. They further require transfer of utility records when a property changes ownership to ensure the new owner can track the building’s performance and make informed decisions about the cost of operating a building in addition to the price of the building.
  • The “Anacostia Pollution Prevention” Act prohibits the sale, use, or provision of polystyrene containers for food services and encourages the use of compostable or recyclable containers after January 1, 2016. This provision also requires food service providers to use compostable or recyclable food service products after January 1, 2017. Through regulation, the Mayor would define the range of compostable and recyclable materials that could be used for food services. Reducing the use of polystyrene, which cannot be recycled or composted, will help clean the Anacostia and other waterways of polystyrene trash.
  • The “Sustainable Urban Agriculture Apiculture” Act will allow the Mayor to define through regulations, rather than statute, standards for beekeeping in the District to reflect the needs of local beekeepers and an effective level of agency oversight.
  • The “Urban Forest Protection” Act will increase the quality of the District’s tree canopy by requiring payment to immediately offset the destruction or removal of a tree. This change will allow the District Government to plant replacement trees on public space throughout the city to more rapidly replace lost trees and help achieve the citywide 40% tree canopy goal.
     

Publication Date: July 29, 2014

Related Organizations:

  • District Department of Energy and the Environment (DDOE) - Washington DC
  • District of Columbia

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  • Laws

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