Climate Groups Protest Against MCPS Environmental Policy

Sage Suddleson, Staff Writer (they/them)

On April 1, members of MoCo Green New Deal Internships, Declare Emergency, Indigenous Rising Media, Extinction Rebellion DC, the Sunrise Movement, Fridays For Future, and Water Protectors from Camp Migizi, among other climate activism groups, joined together on Route 355 outside of Montgomery College in Rockville to call for Montgomery County Public Schools to cease their use of fossil fuels.

The demands, as stated by MoCo Green New Deal Internships, are for MCPS to: 

  • Buy ONLY renewable energy
  • Electrify (stop using fossil fuels to heat) any new buildings and find the money to switch those under construction or in planning
  • Install solar panels at every school, either on rooftops or over parking lots, by 2027
  • Increase energy efficiency (which can be done at no cost to MCPS due to energy savings)
  • Demand necessary funding from state/federal sources to retrofit gas-heated schools with electric systems
  • Provide good “prevailing” wages, a fully just transition, and targeted hiring from low-income, MoCo communities for all MCPS-funded work.

Groups such as MoCo Green New Deal Internships, Sunrise Movement’s Silver Spring and Rockville hubs, and Extinction Rebellion DC are notable for their ongoing climate action in the DC and Maryland area. Water Protectors from Camp Migizi have been involved in other climate action efforts as well including the fight against the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline in Minnesota. 

Several protesters were arrested by police on April 1 after blocking traffic, and police threatened to use riot control agents on the peaceful protesters in a video published on the MoCo Green New Deal Internships Instagram page. MCPS has not issued a statement in response at the time of publication.