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Archive for January, 2013

25
Jan

Zero-Waste Without Incineration in the District!

Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 01:32:13 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

The environmental community created this coalition letter to let Mayor Vincent Gray know that we believe incineration has no place in his Sustainable DC initiative and especially in the DC neighborhoods we live, work and play in. Zero-waste strategies, not incineration, are the key to tapping into our waste resources in the District of Columbia. Click on the letter to read more!

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We have more organizations that want to sign-on to this coalition letter and will be updating it next week. If you are interested in signing-on send an email to cweiss@dcen.net.

 

21
Jan

February 13th: DC Clean Rivers Action Day

Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 01:41:58 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

Action Email Title d

A Special Invitation to DC Environmentalists to Take Personal Action to Support Clean Rivers:

DC Environmentalists:

With the recent firing of an effective District Department of the Environment (DDOE) Director, Christophe Tulou, lack of sustainability principles in Mayor Gray’s 5-year economic development plan and the possible inclusion of a proposal to look at building a dirty, polluting incineration plant in DC neighborhoods, many environmental activists are scratching their heads. Add to these actions aggressive attempts by corporate interests (and other friends of the Gray administration including high paid lobbyists of the local building industry), to attack meaningful, long overdue, stormwater and wetlands regulations, and you start to wonder if Mayor Gray’s Sustainable DC initiative is a real priority in the District.

Tell the Mayor and Council “We Want Clean Rivers!” RSVP here to join us for our February 13th Clean Rivers Action Day.

IMG_8211-001Up until six months ago the environmental community was feeling good about new stormwater regulations that would finally help cleanse our rivers and move the District towards fishable and swimmable waterways. We even took our lead from our government when it said, “With revised [stormwater] regulations (the District) we will be harnessing development…redeveloping sites that have already been built on…taking existing impervious surfaces in most cases and re-developing them to a higher standard. This without a doubt will be the highest driver ever for improving water quality in the District.” (Jeff Seltzer, Stormwater Administrator, District Department of the Environment, at DCEN Luncheon, February 2, 2012) We were also confident that wetlands regulations, although imperfect, would be finalized and start working to protect our most sensitive natural areas and the humans and wildlife that lived in or near them.

Now we are wondering if all the hard work of the last decade is at risk.

The good news is that when the environmental community has come together and made the case that promoting environmental initiatives is good for the health, economic well-being and overall quality of life of District residents, we have achieved much success. It was the environmental community that worked together and advocated successfully to create DDOE; saved parkland by stopping a prison from being built at Oxen Cove; stopped the District from lowering water quality standards to legalize the dumping of more raw sewage into our rivers and creeks; and passed cutting edge environmental, jobs and housing standards for all new development along the Anacostia River. And that is just a small sample of what we have achieved together over the last decade.

Tell the Mayor and Council “We Want Clean Rivers!” RSVP here to join us for our February 13th Clean Rivers Action Day.

It’s time again for all of us who are tired of having polluted rivers cut through our neighborhoods to tell Mayor Gray and the District of Columbia Council that we want clean rivers now. We cannot have another decade of elected officials standing on the edge of our riverbanks, pretending to prioritize restoration, while at the same time undermining important initiatives that would do just that. We have in our grasp the tools to start making this happen.

We need to urge the Mayor and Council to do the following:

Action Day Info Card bFinish Promulgating Meaningful, Strong Stormwater Regulations: Last November the Natural Resources Defense Council, joined by the Anacostia Watershed Society, Audubon Naturalist Society, DC Environmental Network and others, submitted comments to Mayor Gray outlining what it would take to have meaningful stormwater regulations and as stated in the comments, “improve the health of District water bodies, provide social and economic benefits to local residents, and green our nation’s capital.” In order to show a true commitment to river restoration and Mayor Gray’s Sustainable DC initiative the District needs to support these comments and finish promulgating meaningful, strong stormwater regulations.

Finish Promulgating Important and Long Overdue Wetlands Regulations: Last September, Earthjustice and the DC Environmental Network, applauded the District in comments for  “the proactive efforts by the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) Water Quality Division to regulate and prevent harm to wetlands in the District of Columbia.” It has taken years, possibly almost a decade, to finally get to the point where meaningful wetlands regulations are possible. These regulations are now threatened by the efforts of high paid lobbyist and business interests who have strong connections to the Gray Administration. The Mayor and Council need to wholeheartedly get behind and finish promulgating these long overdue regulations.

What can I do to convince the Mayor and Council to support clean rivers in our city?

Sign-up to join us on February 13th at 10:00 AM, at the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 504), for the DC Environmental Network’s first Clean Rivers Action Day of 2013. We will meet in the offices of our clean water champion, DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, to present him with our views and urge him to tell the Mayor to finish promulgating meaningful stormwater and wetlands regulations. We will then break up into smaller groups and take our message to the other DC Council offices and finally share our message with a representative of the Gray administration.

Tell the Mayor and Council “We Want Clean Rivers!” RSVP here to join us for our February 13th Clean Rivers Action Day.

Let’s help the Mayor and Council make a real commitment to a sustainable District of Columbia.

All are welcome.

7
Jan

A Unique Coalition Supports DC Transparency

Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 03:35:26 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

The DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI) recently led efforts to enhance the transparency of the DC Council’s operations during the upcoming Council period. DCFPI drafted focused recommendations regarding hearings, roundtables, budget processes, legislative processes, District building use and access, public access to information, open meetings and Council structure and invited organizations to sign-on to a coalition letter.

The DC Environmental Network signed on to this important document because we believe a transparent DC Council will do a better job of representing the interests of the environmental community. Since many DC focused environmental organizations communicate regularly with Council offices and at hearings and roundtables, DCEN felt it important to support this effort.

This was an opportunity to network with non-environmental organizations on issues important to all of us who care about our city.

Other DC organizations that joined DCFPI’s unique coalition are:

• Capital Area Food Bank
• Children’s Law Center
• DC Alliance of Youth Advocates
• D.C. Employment Justice Center
• DC Environmental Network2013-01-07_1517
• DC Fiscal Policy Institute
• DC Jobs Council
• DC Jobs with Justice
• DC Open Government Coalition
• DC Statehood Green Party
• Defeat Poverty DC
• Fair Budget Coalition
• Healthy Families/Thriving Communities Collaborative Council
• Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO
• Miriam’s Kitchen
• Sasha Bruce Youthwork
• The Arc of District of Columbia
• Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities
• Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless
• We Are Family

Jenny Reed, Policy Director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute reported:

“Earlier this month, the DC Council adopted a set of rules that govern the Council’s organization and procedures for the next two years.  The DC Environmental Network, along with several other organizations, signed onto a letter to Councilmembers asking for changes to the rules to improve the transparency of Council actions and public access to information.  The Council did adopt revisions to two areas suggested in the letter: requiring the Council to use government emails for public business and including relevant documents, in addition to testimony, as part of the public hearing record on legislation.  Unfortunately, many other suggestions such as improving the notice to the public of hearings and roundtables and the transparency and public access of emergency legislation and amendments were not adopted.”

You can read a copy of the letter submitted to the Council here and a final version of the Council rules will be available here (as soon as they are posted).

The DC Environmental Network will continue to look for ways to work closely with the broader DC advocacy community which we hope will result in generating more success on the environmental front.