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DC Diesel Clean-Up Campaign

Curbing Diesel Pollution in Our Nation’s Capital City

The Opportunity

Diesel exhaust is comprised of microscopic carbon soot particles to which metals and other toxic substances attach. When inhaled by humans, these tiny, toxic-laden particles cross the blood barrier from lungs into the bloodstream, delivering the toxics to internal organs and leading to inflammation and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases such as cancer, stroke, and heart attacks. (Here is a simplified image of a diesel carbon and toxics that attach to it.) Diesel soot is one of the most toxic pollutants we all breathe every day. It is also a toxic pollutant we know how to contain and protect our children from, as the technology exists to virtually eliminate the diesel problem. Recent wins in other metro areas such as Clean Construction requirements in Providence, RI and Cook Co., IL provide templates for our local success. A window of opportunity has also opened in federal initiatives to include diesel clean-up requirements and funding in the new Transportation Bill, the Climate Bill, and a possible EPA initiative. The DC Environmental Network is poised to leverage existing technology and know-how to work towards elminating the threat of diesel pollution in our nation’s capital city and surrounding region.

The Challenge

Washington, DC and the surrounding region are plagued by numerous environmental challenges. With budgetary shortfalls nationally and throughout the region, the DC Environmental Network needs to come up with policies and actions that we can find funding for and that give us the most diesel soot reductions possible for the largest number of people. Additionally, with a fairly active environmental caucus on the DC Council, the DC Environmental Network will have to work to make sure Diesel Clean-Up Strategies are part of the Council agenda in 2010 and beyond.

DCEN DC Diesel Clean-up Campaign Priorities

  1. DC Diesel Cleanup Legislation – Work with DCEN coalition members and DC Council offices to develop a legislative fix to start the District on the road to the cleaning up diesel pollution in DC and surrounding region.
  2. DC Diesel Cleanup Education – Include a chapter of recommendations to reducing diesel pollution in our upcoming DC Environmental Agenda. Engage candidates running for office in the Mayor, Chair and Council races with questions about diesel policies at our DCEN Candidates Forums in July and August.
  3. Leverage Local Efforts for the National Diesel Clean-Up Campaign – Assist the National Diesel Clean-up Campaign’s efforts to develop national policies designed to reduce diesel soot across the land. Develop a list of organizations and individuals that can be mobilized in support of efforts to impact climate legislation and diesel funding initiatives that wind their way through Congress.

DCEN Accomplishments

The DC Environmental Network has laid out the groundwork to successfully reducing diesel pollution in our nation’s capital city. We have created good momentum in the last six months and hope to introduce some legislative fix in 2010. So far we have:

  • DCEN Luncheon – The DC Environmental Network held a luncheon on diesel pollution to get the conversation started with representatives from the DC executive and legislative branch, including Office of Planning, DC Council, DDOE and important potential NGO partners including the DC Sierra Club.
  • DC Council Diesel Briefing – With the help of Councilmember Muriel Bowser, DCEN coordinated a DC Council diesel briefing with six DC Council offices represented including our key supporters (Cheh, Wells & Mendelson) and representatives from the Executive and NGO community.
  • DC Council Commitment – DCEN received commitment from Councilmember to work with DCEN to develop the best diesel pollution reduction policies possible.

What Can I Do?

  • Check out the national Diesel Clean-Up Campaign website to learn more about how diesel hurts all of us and what you can do to reduce black carbon by strengthening the climate bill before Congress.
  • Sign-up your organization to the National Diesel Clean-Up Campaign Platform. Build the power by having your organization (church, PTA, community group or other) join the national coalition to add your voice to the cause. Over 460 diverse organizations from nearly all 50 states have signed on. The level to which you become involved is entirely up to you. We will keep you up-to-date, and make you aware of opportunities to take action. Endorse the campaign platform now by downloading the Diesel Clean-Up Campaign Platform, having an authorized organizational representative fill out the form, and e-mailing it to us at facts@dieselcleanup.org .
  • Work at the local level. Join the DC Diesel Clean-Up Campaign!