Potomac River


We have over 2,000 members located in the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church, and Arlington County. The Group's elected volunteer leaders work with interested Group members and state and national Sierra Club staffers to organize campaigns for clean energy, smart growth, public transportation, open space conservation and more. Join us!

Potomac River Group Opposes Alexandria Arena Proposal

There are arguments in favor of building a new arena for professional hockey and basketball  teams in Alexandria’s Potomac Yard neighborhood, but we judge them to be weak. The  proposed location is very close to a new Metro station. The site is somewhat centrally located in  the DMV region and definitely would be a better location than a site outside the Beltway. The  arena and related businesses would bring Alexandria a substantial increase in tax revenue,  although the use of these revenues is currently in flux as the General Assembly considers and  amends the governor’s proposal. It’s clear that most tax revenue from the arena complex would  go to repaying bonds guaranteed by the state of Virginia. 

There are more arguments against building an arena in Potomac Yard. Similar to the experience  in other cities, the existing Capital One Arena likely would be razed within a few years after  losing its two main professional teams, resulting in a loss of a substantial amount of embedded  carbon. This existing embedded carbon would be replaced by the materials needed to build the  new arena. The current arena is more centrally located and has better Metro connections (six  lines at two stations) to all parts of the DMV region than the Potomac Yard location (two lines at  one station). While the capacity of the Potomac Yard station can be increased, current evidence  suggests that the lengthy time to wait for a Metro train after a game at Potomac Yard would  discourage many fans from using Metro. Most Maryland/DC fans would have a longer Metro  ride to Potomac Yard compared to downtown DC stations, likely leading to increased use of cars  causing more traffic than is generated at Capital One Arena games.  

The Potomac River Group believes that renovation of the existing arena would be initially less  carbon-intensive than building a second arena and result in lower GHG emissions in the long  term due to better transportation alternatives for event audiences. The Potomac Yard site would  be better suited for high-density residential development with some retail to serve additional  residents.

Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Endorses Letty Hardi, Tim Stevens, and Justine Underhill for Election to the City of Falls Church City Council

FALLS CHURCH, Va., Sept. 12, 2023 - The Sierra Club Virginia Chapter announced today that it is endorsing Letty Hardi, Tim Stevens, and Justine Underhill for election to the City of Falls Church City Council. “Of the candidates seeking election, Letty Hardi, Tim Stevens, and Justine Underhill stand out for their support of policies that promote environmental stewardship, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, a transition to renewable energy, and a sustainable future,” said Dean Amel, Political Chair of the Sierra Club Potomac River Group, which includes Falls Church.

“In responses to our candidate questionnaire and in interviews, Hardi, Stevens and Underhill demonstrate a clear understanding that climate change is our top environmental challenge. They agree that the City government and the Falls Church community must do their share to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” added Michael Trauberman, a member of the Sierra Club Potomac River Group Executive Committee.

Hardi is a two-term incumbent and the City’s Vice Mayor. A sustainable city is a core component of Hardi’s vision for Falls Church, and she has a strong and consistent voting record in support of smart growth, density, and transit-oriented development. Hardi highlights that reducing energy use and transitioning to renewable energy sources will be top environmental priorities if reelected for a third term.

Stevens, Chair of the City’s Planning Commission and former Chair of its Environmental Sustainability Council, is a long-time leader in local, regional, and state-wide efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainability. He emphasizes that emissions reduction will be his top environmental goal while serving on the Council. Stevens also supports urban designs that make it easier for residents to live their lives with reduced reliance on vehicles.

Underhill is a member of the City’s Housing Commission, where she works to maintain and expand affordable housing and encourage a diversity of housing options. Underhill is also active in several citizen-led organizations including leadership roles with Falls Church Forward and Bike Falls Church, and as a member of the Falls Church Climate Action Network (FCCAN). She indicates that her top environmental priorities on City Council will be housing and land-use, transportation and pedestrian-friendly design, and greenhouse gas emission reductions.

See the candidate statements below for more infomation!

Tim Stevens 2023 Sierra Club Falls Church City Council Candidate Questionnaire.pdf83.73 KB


Letty Hardi Sierra Club 2023 Falls Church City Council Candidate Questionnaire.pdf159.24 KB


Justine Underhill Sierra Club 2023 Falls Church City Council Candidate Questionnaire.pdf271.95 KB

Call for MINI-GRANT Applications

The Potomac River Group is looking for proposals for new projects that will further the Sierra Club’s mission of environmental sustainability and climate health. We offer one to two mini-grants each year, not to exceed $500. Applications can be submitted at any time and will be reviewed as soon as possible after submission.

We are especially interested in new, creative ideas for environmental advocacy or education projects that will engage members of the larger community and lead to significant new programs or policies. We will prioritize projects benefitting the local area covered by the Potomac River Group of the Sierra Club (Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church), although local residency is not a requirement. Projects should be completed within one year. Grants cannot be used to advocate for or against any candidate for elective office.

To apply, please fill out the two-page application form below and email it to John Bloom at Johnlbloom@gmail.com. Questions? Please email the same address.

PrgMinigrantApplication.doc153 KB


The Environmental Case for Dense Residential Development

Watch the recording of this meeting to hear three perspectives on why protecting our environment requires dense and inclusive development within existing communities and neighborhoods.

The Sierra Club supports strategies that build communities that feature affordable housing; transit, bike, and pedestrian-first approaches to transportation; a balance between employment opportunities and housing; access to education, services, amenities, and recreation that improve overall quality of life; and policies that increase climate resilience. Join the discussion of how to promote these goals in Northern Virginia.

Sonya Breehey, Northern Virginia Advocacy Manager, Coalition for Smarter Growth
Christian Dorsey, Member, Arlington County Board
Alice Hogan, Consultant, Alliance for Housing Solutions
Moderated by Tim Cywinski, Communications Manager, Sierra Club – VA Chapter

Watch now!