Dozens of county residents filled the first-floor hearing room of Winchester Hall on Tuesday night, speaking in support of a resolution introduced by two Frederick County Council members intended to combat climate change.

The resolution, introduced by Councilman Kai Hagen (D) and Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater (D), sets a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.

It also establishes an ad hoc committee, the “Climate Emergency Mobilization Workgroup,” made up of local scientific stakeholders and officials from various county government divisions. If the resolution is passed by a majority of council members, it would take up to a year to submit recommendations to the council about how to combat climate change.

After Fitzwater and Hagen introduced the resolution, they had a panel of three people explain to council members why it was important. They were:

  • Kevin Sellner, a Hood College senior scholar who studies water quality and algae blooms.
  • Joyce Tuten, a chemistry teacher at Clarksburg High School and member of the Middletown Sustainability Committee.
  • Mackenzie Wright, a Walkersville High School graduate and student at Loyola University Maryland.

In his presentation, Sellner said some may disagree about the severity of the climate crisis, but it is important for local governments to invest in better infrastructure and other resources in order to save money in the long term.

Droughts and wet fields in the spring are just a couple of factors that affect farmers’ crop yield and productivity, he said.

“We must govern to minimize those impacts, so we don’t pay for those improvements later,” Sellner said.

Tuten started her presentation by stating that many jurisdictions — more than 30 countries and 77 cities and counties in the U.S. — have passed some sort of climate resolution.

That includes neighboring Montgomery County and Alexandria, Virginia, both of which have passed resolutions since late 2017.

“I think it’s really vital, vital for us to recognize … that we are one small jurisdiction, but we are all part of this one rock floating through space,” Tuten said of Frederick County’s position on the issue. “We need to collectively act and make some changes.”

That point was furthered by Wright, who said it’s important for current lawmakers to act because climate change will have an impact on future generations.

She said she’s heard from many of her friends in college who live in coastal towns about the effects of climate change: greater storms, rising sea levels and other issues.

Another impact, she said, is the health of future generations.

“Climate change is threatening the future of my generation’s health,” Wright said, noting more global cases of malaria, Zika virus and other diseases.

The meeting was contentious at some points, as Councilman Phil Dacey (R) questioned the panel about the severity of the issue, at one point saying he disagreed with the “alarmist” beliefs some in the crowd held.

“I guess what I’m reacting to is some of that visceral [behavior],” Dacey said. “I’m not denying that people believe. I’m worried about some of the language.”

But Hagen, Fitzwater and others said the issue is a threat to the future ecological health of the planet. Sellner, in response to a question from Councilman Steve McKay (R) about how to prioritize paying for improvements to address climate change, said that it might be best to reframe the issue.

“If we put it through the lens of a warmer, wetter or drier climate, would it make it easier for you to make those calls? … [Because] as you make infrastructure decisions, that infrastructure has to be built for the future,” Sellner said.

Paul Walker, group chair of the Sierra Club Catoctin group — an environmental organization that serves Frederick County, Washington and western Carroll counties — said in an interview before Tuesday’s meeting that his organization “fully supports” the resolution.

“The most important thing is everybody participating to try and reverse climate change. ... It’s mitigation and adaptation now, climate change is happening,” Walker said.

Council President M.C. Keegan-Ayer (D) said after the discussion she and colleagues would deliberate and decide whether to introduce or vote on the resolution in the coming weeks.

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel.

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(68) comments


I have no doubt that climate change is real and that it is, at least partially, caused by man. That said, i doubt there is anything we- as a world- can do to stop it. Drive an electric car while the Chinese and India's burn more coal and develop a middle class whereby 3.25 billion new people will be driving gas powered cars? No thanks. We had our chance and should have gone nuclear decades ago but Hollywood said it was bad so the lemmings bought in. That ship has sailed.

Perhaps this is part of evolution. The world has been around for how many years? come on Bill Nyes, lay it on me![beam] (There's at least a half dozen self-proclaimed experts here!) We've had a good run.


I wonder if people like Happy are genuinely ignorant, genuinely don't care, or are just pushing for a reaction. Neither of those three are particularly complimentary.


Do genuinely care. But care about Frederick County folks, first and foremost. Not balloons, workgroups, resolutions, and single-use trash bag sidetracks. Disparage me all you want, but when you really need the County Council, will they be legislating for you or chasing after the next biodegradable straw, or a referendum on using single-ply (versus two-ply) toilet paper sheets in county building restrooms to save trees?


Whose to say they cannot multitask? Or prioritize?


Checks out all of these major world droughts my friends over the past few centuries:

United States and Australia droughts in the past two centuries did not even make the list. I wonder if all the climate fear mongers and doom and gloom folks came out of the woodwork back then?

Droughts, like forest fires, snow blizzards, monsoons, etc. all happen in cycles. Be as scared and worried as you want when it goes down to 18 degrees in Frederick County tomorrow night.


I really don’t know why I waste my time, but did you actually READ the article. It talks about how climate change is causing more frequent and severe droughts. Unbelievable.


And one has not made the top 10 list in the past two centuries in the United States Matts. Why are you so worried in 2020? Those were some pretty bad droughts worldwide over the past 200 years.


I refer you back to my original post.


Matts, your original post is reading into the article beliefs that the article does not state. You are trying to twist this article to support your beliefs, but it does not conclude such my friend. If anything, over the history of the world, massive human-altering droughts were NOT caused by humans. Did you read it from start to finish Matts?


Matts, the article states a study that concludes humans "could have" impacted climate change. Then, it shows a graphic going back 100 years to the worst droughts in the world. You are reading into this article your beliefs that are not stated in fact. Nice try, but not buying your read too fast my friend.


Good morning Happy. Look, as long as you’re happy being completely misinformed on climate change, I won’t bother to stand in your way. Have fun with it.


The denialist crowd just cracks me up. They know better than the conensus of a critical mass of the international scientific community. They think 195 countries in the world are perpetrating a socialist hoax. Then when the weather events the scientific community has been predicting for decades actually happen, they wave it off as normal. And here’s the best part - they’re too obtuse to realize that addressing the matter is in their own self interest.


And yet we had Snowmageddon less than a decade ago and the US Northeast is getting pummeled by snow yet again this weekend. Just last October 2019 many parts of Canda and the Midwest/Western US innundated with snow. With all this hysteria, global warming must just be concentrating on the lower 48 contiguous states, eh?

Fires happen. So do floods, volcanos, hailstorms, tornados, earthquakes, tsunsmis, droughts and gentle breezes. For all we know, a fart released in Africa could lead to a hurricane in the Carribean!


There's a difference between weather and climate. It's not the scientists fault you don't understand the difference.


You needed to be living around the 1930s in the US dustbowl.

Stopped raining in 1932 and US midwestern farmland did not see relief until about 1939 when the rains returned.

Yep, just stopped raining for about seven years.

You blaming that episode in US history on climate change? The weather, and the climate, in the US midwest was terrible. Must have been all that 1930s pollution, eh?

But the rains came back. Just cycled back.


Good one!!!


Dab, Happy doesn’t grasp the concept of trends. To him, a cold day here and a warm day there just evens out. He can’t relate to the clearly evident long term trend of heat rising along with Co2 emissions, or the correlation of the near constant record breaking heat that’s causing a clear pattern of increasing droughts where the planet normally has droughts, and wetter, more violent storms in temperate regions. He just doesn’t understand the concept of climate amplification. To him, a couple of extreme but opposite weather events that are separated by decades or centuries indicate all systems go. You can’t have a rational conversation with people who are either oblivious or immune to facts.


Matts, do you realize how hot it was back in 1931 and 1934 in the United States? You should check. And now, 90 years later, it is quite hot around the US again. The seven years during the US dustbowl from 1932 through 1939 we very hot and dry out in the US Midwest.

Everything regresses to a mean. It gets drier in some places and wetter in other places. Some places lose coastline and some places gain it. Some places lose ice and some gain it.

Yes, some geographic locations are gaining ice. I said that correctly. Did you know Antartica has been gaining ice lately? And it has been snowing quite a bit more in Antartica lately.

It seems Matts all of your concerns are primarily related to the climate since 2005 or so. Sure this isn't a blip?


Happy, you’re just wrong. Antarctica has NOT been gaining ice! Check out what NASA has to say.


I’ll give you a little credit for your assertion on Antarctica. There was a 2015 study from a NASA glaciologist that said that. There was disagreement among other NASA scientists and the IPCC. It seems the 2015 study was partly right, that one side of the continent saw increased snow pack, but that was from increased humidity coming from melting on the other side. The consensus is that the continent as a whole is experiencing a net loss of ICE. That’s the benefit of having peer reviewed science.


Matts, it is a solid fact. Antartica has been gaining ice recently, especially with more snowstorms due to more condensate in the air.

I am not gonna argue facts. Thoughts and beliefs, yes. But not facts. You can argue facts with me, but facts are facts.


Matts, are you reading the same NASA report I am???

Not saying what you are saying. You are reading really fast again. There has been a net increase according to this article, which may continue for 20 to 30 years.


No Happy, I sent the 2018 report which resolved the controversy over the 2015 report which is the one you sent. Take time to read the information. You’re arguing with old news.


Happy, the old solid fact is that you’re wrong. Even when I present current information to you showing that you’re wrong, you just keep regurtating you’re non factual assertion. You do realize that there’s no way to logically debate people like you. In fact, studies have shown that when people like you are presented with facts that refute their beliefs, they double down on them. Case in point.


"dozens" wow!


That was poor reporting. The room was packed with well over 100 people during the workshop. Public comment wasn’t allowed then, only much later after the firefighter arbitration public hearing which started at 7 and went on for an hour or so. Most of the climate supporters left by then. I stayed to refute something Dacey said earlier which was completely bogus. Bottom line - There was a LOT of support there last night.


Half of them were in yellow Matts. Representing the firefighters.


Dude, I’m taking about the 5:30 workshop session on the resolution. The yellow shirts didn’t show up until the 7pm hearing. 2 totally different occasions. Try to follow some clues next time.


So Matts, what did you 100 accomplish during the 90 minute workshop? The article was good on words spoken. Do you feel accomplished? Did the County Board feel accomplished?


70,000 residents and"dozens" show up. Zero emissions by 2050? This is virtue signalling as a means to increase taxation. No more, no less. We must save the planet and YOU must pay.


Current economic data, and scientific reports being cited in numerous sources that are current [this week] indicate: US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions fell by 2.1% last year [2019] based on preliminary energy and economic data. This decline was due almost entirely to a drop in coal consumption. Coal-fired power generation fell by a record 18% year-on-year to its lowest level since 1975. An increase in natural gas generation offset some of the climate gains from this coal decline, but overall power sector emissions still decreased by almost 10%. Unfortunately, far less progress was made in other sectors of the economy. Transportation emissions remained relatively flat. Emissions from buildings, industry and other parts of the economy rose, though less than in 2018. All told, net US GHG emissions ended 2019 slightly higher than at the end of 2016. At roughly 12% below 2005 levels, the US is at risk of missing its Copenhagen Accord target of a 17% reduction by the end of 2020, and is still a long way off from the 26-28% reduction by 2025 pledged under the Paris Agreement. / With the Kirwan Commissions estimated price tag of billions, and a highway toll expansion that is excitedly being touted as the most expensive highway project in US history. Tell us - what is 'this' study group going to tell us that we already do not know? WE NEED TO INVEST MONEY! The hand of pointing out the problem, and the usual emotional pleas for fundraising for the likes of the Sierra Club are just worn out sound bites playing to demographic data provided by another app. Our elected functionaries need to stop using the vaguries of this issue to sound an alarm that has been sounidng for decades. WHAT HAS BEEN BUILT? You know - "Build it and they will come." Legislating dim behavior delusions of an infra structure that appears no government in the US will build unless either paid for directly through public treasuries or public-private partnerships is just sad. Passing behavior laws that assault liberty and insult our intelligence has run its course. Full stop. So - until the larcey of a highway/toll road expansion, the sinful gluttony of school budgets, and other 'government' real estate purchases are curtailed - and transferred directly to non-rhetorical 'would' 'could' 'should' plan to create more studies for more plans. The central question I ask of items that are part of my own consumption: How many jobs does it take to make that box of crackers; include every single aspect of that box of crackers. / By all means - I believe our most basic liberty is personal responsiblity and its relationship to care for our shared home. The time is nigh - government is faced with its moral responsibility to stop talking - and build what will give us dignity, a sense of being part of something bigger than the petty rhetoric of crisis and emergency decrees, and of shame. PS: The other evening we had a few friends over and watched a Hallmark film. A charming mystery romance. But it was the end that is central to this bit tale: To celebrate the accomplishment of love, a bunch of balloons were released. Without skipping a beat, my buddy said, "Not in Frederick you don't! What's the punishment up to now? Nothing fun like public pillaries perhaps?" / I don't know what is worse; now balloons are associated with our local functionaires smug mug, or that now, balloons, like the environment are things to fear by way of 'crisis'. No one wants our Eden ruined, but - without the foundational architecture our public treasuries are meant to build,one that supports all these groups, plans, pleas, and pious discourse on behalf a healthier planet - it's all just more particulate matter we have to breathe.


China by far the biggest polluting country in the world. And they produce a majority of the balloons in this world.

We folks in Frederick County need to elect folks who take care of us. Balloons do not vote. But I do.


We need to tighten our voting standards.


I guess if it makes you feel better. [whistling] You're efforts would be more impactful if you did a fun raiser for Mayor Pete. Oh, I forgot, not hippie enough for you.


This effort is akin to the ants planning on how to get more humans to drop food when they go to a picnic — i.e. a monumental waste of time, energy, and resources.


Ants don’t wait for anything. They just keep coming at you - sort of like climate change. You were close though.


Anyone can parade a bunch of people in front of a public hearing to divulge doom and gloom. But our county council spent a lot of time talking about yet another resolution and study group to give recommendations in a year. This after a one-use trash bag team was sidelined and we got nonenforceable mass balloon release legislation.

If I brought relatives of the past three people who died in northbound Route 15 wrecks during the past few months to speak, I would get a lot of ooohs and aaahs from the ctowd and county council as well. But, every second our county council spends legislating like Don Quixote is another second lost to solving the real problems affecting ordinary citizens in Frederick County.

Maybe we should parade a bunch of kids in crowded FCPS portables to the next county council meeting? Or, a bunch of folks with sweet smelling organic matter in their hands who want to compost, but cannot now? Or a bunch of prople dressed up like solar panels because they cannot get them on their roofs? The hypocrisy here is glaring.


What is the County doing to provide EV charging stations? We are about to go into large scale production of EVsnow and their are limited charging stations available. Linganore Winery has had two solar charging stations for years. Once installed there's little cost or maintenance.


Is there a meter on those charging stations to charge the user for the power, dick?


Depends on where you go, Gabe. They are free at Linganore Winery. They have two 220 charging lines. Middletown has a couple they are not currently charging for use and almost all dealerships allow free charging, if you can get to them as they use them for their own purposes too. My EV Leaf had a app that allowed for you to find all charging stations, free or charges for use. I know that FCC had one that they charged for.

My problem with the 2012 Leaf was range. I almost always charged at home, using a 110 line. That cost $13 a month for about 600 miles of driving. As it only had a range of 73 miles it was not the best for me and I no longer have a EV. But the new ones are much better. Tesla is getting over 300 miles of range, couple that with a 440 charging line and you can drive at least 500 miles a day. The Chevy Bolt gets about 235 miles of range.

Now EV's are usually smaller and up to the present did not include SUV's. That too is changing.


Thanks Dick. I believe the chargers on private property are funded by the property owners as a customer service. Taxpayers should not be funding chargers on public property, thus subsidizing EV drivers. Does the funding for Middletown's chargers come from Middletown taxes, County taxes, State, or Federal? Just asking.


I test drove both a Kia Niro EV and the NIRO PHEV last week. EV has 230 miles of range. PHEV has 26 miles of all electric range. They are very nice cars but come with a significant premium, and you can’t get back the tax credits until you file your taxes next year.

Toyota is coming out with the RAV 4 Prime in the summer. It’s a PHEV with 39 miles all electric range. That would probably take care of 80% of my driving.

PHEVs are less expensive than EVs but only qualify for like 60% of the credit. Still a cheaper option overall by a few K I think, albeit a lighter shade of green. But all these vehicles have a 10/10 CO2 emissions score.

What to do, what to do?


Gabe, I can't answer your question on the Middletown chargers for electrical vehicles. If you are concerned about taxes. I don't know, but suspect the town pays for them with tax money. It is a one time cost plus the electricity cost, which is very small for any one vehicle. Remember. there are no state or federal taxes for charging an electrical car. Most are not solar and there is a cost for that electric, but some are solar and the cost to charge at them is almost nothing.

Here are some of the locations listed in the County.

The city of Frederick in Maryland, United States, has 19 public charging station ports (Level 2 and Level 3) within 15km. 78.95% of the ports are level 2 charging ports and 15.79% of the ports offer free charges for your electric car.The two main charging networks in operation are ChargePoint and SemaCharge. You can find out more about the charging networks (policies, pricing and registration information) by visiting our networks section.With the ChargeHub charging stations map you have all the information you need about Frederick’s public charging infrastructure. The charging stations description gives you the address, the type of connector, the network, the price and a lot more. ChargeHub lists all charging stations (level 1, level 2 and DC Fast Chargers) from any provider or manufacturer in North America like ChargePoint, Circuit Électrique, EVgo, SemaConnect, Sun Country Highway and Tesla. You can check out the map on the responsive website or the native iOS and Android mobile app. ChargeHub users can edit information, add pictures, add comments. Be part of a great community!


Gabby, some charge and some do not. You just need to know where to look. There is an app for that.

Hagerstown Outlets off I-70 has a bunch. But, like composting and solar panels and dead balloon csrcasses, not many county-sponsored ones in Frederick County. Do not need a year to study that - it is a fact.


FNP, can you please add a balloon emoji to the choices? It will save Happy a lot of typing. Thanks.


Dick. How much oil is burned to produce the electricity for EVs?


Well here we go. First no one can fly balloons in Frederick thanks to Kai. Then we want to preserve farm land so housing starts will be curved. County wants to go “Green” but won’t allow solar panels. Better stick with getting the firefighters taken care of first before anything else.


Preserving certain farmland doesn't "curve" housing starts.

Alice Jones

Exactly. We are gonna need those fine firefighters when we start to burn up like Australia. Climate change, what climate change? All is good!


Those fires were not started by climate change but leftist activist.


Rrbtdt5, you should actually read what you post. For instance, your link disproves your point. Did you think no one would notice?

Alice Jones

Been drinking already, rb?


Not so fast professor. I also read there was arson involved. But 9 of the 10 hottest years on record for the continent have occurred since 2005. The January average temp soared to 107 F before the fires started. Things were so hot and arid down under that it made it impossible to extinguish the fires. They simply raged out of control like nothing ever seen before. Climate change was a factor.


It has been raining a lot lately in Australia. Fires should all be out in a week. Nature just reverting back to its steady state now. Good news is a huge amount of underbrush has been removed. Over next few years, all forests will revert to normal. We all know this.

We in a very wet spell over past few months around here. But just making up for some dry spells late last year. Spring will be beautiful this year in Frederick County with the water tables high and ground saturated...let's just hope we are not innundated with dead balloon carcasses.

Alice Jones

Are you an expert? And all the loss of animal life - some species not extinct? And Australia’s use of coal has nothing to do with climate change? Ignorance surely is bliss.


Alice, I am a realist, not an alarmist. We had a massive drought and water rationing in Frederick County back in 2002 if I recall correctly.

We came out just fine, didn't we?

Alice Jones

Alarmist? What kind of evidence do you require to believe the earth is undergoing dramatic climate change? A few fires here and we came through ok? OMG, weakest rebuttal ever. Please expand your worldview. Thank you.


Alice, you know how many drought and forest fire cycles the US, and the rest of the world, have occurred in the last century?


Umm, while some ecosystems respond positively to occasional fire damage - as long as it’s not an all out inferno like this that will burn plant roots so they don’t come back - brush is an essential part of nutrient cycling back into soil. Forests rely on humus to keep the soil moist and feed plant growth. Humus is decomposed brush. Brush also provides habitat for many wildlife species. You truly don’t know what you’re talking about - again.


Let me step in here again happy and try to help you out. Rain was certainly a welcome sight to help control the fires. But have you ever heard of mudslides? You see, Happy, when this much forest is destroyed, there’s nothing left to filter the storm water. Heavy rains on bare ground result in rivers of mud, that further destroy the surroundings. This is especially bad for Australia because climate change is magnifying the typical weather events - hotter and dryer conditions in the brush fire season, followed by heavier precipitation in the rainy season. Indonesia is getting hammered with unprecedented monsoon events that are causing catastrophic flooding of villages. Feel me?


Alice, he’s neither an expert or a realist. In fact, Happy and his ilk are the true alarmists. They’re hysterical in their beliefs that climate change science is a bunch of liberal/leftist/commie/socialist voodoo. They are anti-science and apparently have no empathy for people around the world who are losing everything they have to catastrophic weather events that is all just perfectly normal to them. Their POV is incomprehensible. All you can do - if you don’t mind wasting your time - is prove them wrong every time and know that you’re driving them crazy.


Matts, you the person responding three successive times to my original post. Who is driving who silly? :)


I agree with you KMRD1 - how did all of those people get to the meeting last night? I would think in their gasoline vehicles. How many county vehicles are running around daily in our county with gasoline. I do not buy into propaganda and this is what I heard last night. This county needs to be more open and right now it is no where near open.

Alice Jones

Are you able to see the forest through the trees? Talk about short and narrow sighted.


Alice, TMI. I actually thought you were tall and farsighted?


Happy likes forest fires. Smokey bear has a warrant out for his arrest.


The county has a small fleet of PHEVs. They are moving toward replacing ICE vehicles with EVs going forward. Same with school buses.



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