Richmond City Hall
900 E. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Dear Mayor Stoney, Council President Newbille and Members of the Richmond City Council:
On September 13, 2021, City Council made an important commitment to climate justice with the unanimous passage of the Climate and Ecological Emergency Resolution (Res No. 2021-R049). You are now in the process of adopting the first city budget since the passage of that resolution, which provides you with an opportunity to begin to put those words into action.
Additionally, in his 2021 State of the City address, Mayor Stoney stated that “By 2023, the city will complete purchases for 50 percent of its electricity usage to be in off-site renewable electricity. By 2025, the city will complete purchases for its electricity usage to be entirely renewable.”
Sierra Club, Falls of the James Group has reviewed the proposed FY 2023 budget. We are concerned that there is no mention in that budget of energy efficiency or clean energy investments that could actually save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To remedy this omission, we urge your support of the RVA Clean Energy and Climate Justice Budget Recommendations.
The recommendations specifically related to urban forestry reflect the work and thoughts of numerous organizations in Richmond advocating for tree equity in recognition of the disproportionate urban heat island effect on communities that still suffer from historic redlining. Those recommendations require the reestablishment of the Urban Forestry Commission and the funding of two new positions in the Urban Forestry Division, including an Urban Forester position.
Recommendations related to oversight of Richmond Gas Works reflect the need for enhanced oversight consistent with basic good governance as well as the Mayor’s and City Council’s commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030. Other recommendations relate to the imperative to run our basic building operations (e.g. HVAC systems) and the transportation sector on clean renewable energy rather than fossil fuels if we are to meet the reductions in GHGs necessary to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
The 2023 FY budget is the principal document that can turn your commitments to climate justice and clean energy into action. As a resident of the City of Richmond, I urge you to adopt the RVA Clean Energy and Climate Justice Budget Recommendations.
Joe Brancoli, Chair
Sierra Club-Falls of the James Group