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Archive for March, 2011


REPORT: Anacostia River Contaminant Sites Briefing

Fri Mar 25, 2011 at 11:16:27 AM EST

By Chris Weiss, Director, DC Environmental Network

On February 23rd the DC Environmental Network sponsored a briefing on six contaminant sites of concern in the Anacostia Watershed – the Washington Navy Yard, Southeast Federal Center, Poplar Point, Kenilworth Landfill, Washington Gas Light and PEPCO Benning Road. These sites are contaminated by a range of toxics, including PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls), PAHs (Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), and heavy metals – toxics that endanger the health of the river and the communities that live, work, and play nearby.

Lisa Pelstring, Special Assistant to the Department of Interior Office of the Deputy Secretary, graciously offered to help coordinate a briefing on the contaminant sites that would include representatives from the District Department of the Environment, National Park Service, Environmental Protection Agency and DC Environmental NGO Community.

Meeting Highlights:

– Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network – Introductions.

– Lisa Pelstring, Special Assistant, Urban Waters and the Anacostia, DOI Office of the Deputy Secretary – Brief Remarks on Behalf of DOI Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes. Watch Video.

– Shawn Mulligan, Senior Environmental Program Advisor, Environmental Compliance and Response Program, National Park Service – Nature of Contaminants and Cleanup Status. Wach Video.

– Ron Borsellino, Director, Region 3 Hazardous Site Cleanup Division, U.S. EPA – EPA Role in Contaminant Sites and Oversight. Watch Video.

– Paul Connor, District Department of the Environment – Overview of Contaminant Sites. Watch Video.

– Dottie Yunger, Anacostia Waterkeeper – Local NGO Efforts Relating to Contaminant Sites. Watch Video.

– Brent Bolin, Advocacy Director, Anacostia Watershed Society. Watch Video.

– OPEN DISCUSSION SEGMENT – Audio w/Pics Only, 48 Minutes. Watch Video.

In response to this forum the agencies are already moving to:

– Develop websites for each contaminant site that will have critical information about cleanup progress.

– Develop timelines for each site.

– Increase outreach to affected communities on a regular basis.

David Baron of Earthjustice summed up the concerns of many environmentalists who attended,  “For more than twenty years, government officials have been aware that sediment in the Anacostia river is contaminated with toxic metals, organic chemicals, and PCBs, at levels that threaten human health and wildlife. The contamination has been the subject of multiple studies, yet so far there has been no remedial action to address the toxic threat. Federal officials now say they want to spend several more years to conduct yet more studies before even considering remedial plans. These delays are inexcusable. The time has come for the responsible federal agencies – EPA, the Navy, GSA, the Park Service, and others – to adopt (with public input) detailed plans for remedying the sediment contamination problem on a legally binding schedule with expeditious, date certain deadlines.”


Book Review: BEATING HEART, a novel by Anna El-Eini

Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:44:03 AM EST

By Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

The DC Environmental Network Invites All Metro-Based Environmentalists to a BROWN BAG LUNCHEON:


– Anna El-Eini, Author, Former Director of the D.C. Environmental Network

– Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network (moderator)



Behind the marble monuments and elegant suites of the Washington, D.C. seen on the news, there’s a city where 1 in 5 live in poverty, nearly half the children fail high school, and 41 percent of young black men spend time in prison.

This is where Linda Thurston, a young community organizer, lives and works. She must help stop a new prison from being built in the heart of the city’s poorest neighborhood, and prevent eight hundred residents from being evicted. But to do this, Linda needs to believe in herself again after her brother’s death, and she must win the trust of the community’s leader, Anita Douglas, who is secretly wrestling with her once unshakable faith in God. And together they need to help Luther Shaw, the campaign’s lawyer, injured by gang violence, to overcome his bitterness. As Linda, Anita and Luther are forced to confront their own prejudices and fears, they come together across the black-white divide to heal a neighborhood.

BEATING HEART is a profound and vivid journey into the neighborhoods that lie close to the White House, shut out from the American Dream. As you walk the streets with Linda, meet the residents and power-brokers who vie for control of the city and explore the city’s forgotten river, you’ll discover what it takes to make a difference in the lives of others, and the rewards and losses that come from having tried.

Author Bio:

Anna El-Eini was born in Sudan and grew up in England. While working towards a PhD in molecular neurobiology she volunteered at a local community center and saw first-hand the struggles faced by low-income, minority communities. She became a policy analyst and community organizer in Washington, D.C., and worked with communities across the city. She is a former Director of the D.C. Environmental Network and has worked for Scenic America and Friends of the Earth. A selection from BEATING HEART, her first novel, received an Honorable Mention in the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition 2010.

All are welcome.

DATE: Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
TIME: 12:00 NOON to 1:30 PM
PLACE: Global Green USA (offices of Friends of the Earth), 1100 15th Street NW, 11th Floor. Near Farragut North & McPherson Square Metro Stations


CALL-IN NUMBER: 775-269-3893 When prompted enter 399602

For more information contact Chris Weiss at 202-518-8782.