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May 15, 2017

Restore $5 million for Anacostia River!

Mon May 15, 2017 at 01:06:50 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Global Green USA

DC Council: Restore $5 million in FY18 capital funds for Anacostia River clean-up projects!

DC Environmental Network:

As many of you know, Mayor Bowser removed $5 million in FY18 capital funds that were targeted for hazardous material remediation of the Anacostia River bottom sediments and the contaminated land areas adjacent (particularly to Ward 8’s Poplar Point and Ward 7’s Kenilworth North).

Now many of us are scrambling trying to figure out if we have enough leverage to convince the Council to restore these important funds.

We should not have to be doing this. 

We should not have to be advocating, again, for funds that had already been committed to help with the cleanup, the remediation of toxic sediments. Not now, not after so much work by so many, over too many years. The river, and adjacent, arguably too often forgotten communities, have been waiting far too long to see some measurable progress and experience a modicum of well deserved economic and environmental justice.

The DC Environmental Network, and many other DC citizens, river advocates, and organizations, should not have to repeat our efforts and use our limited time and resources to do what we thought had already been done.

Since 1996 the DC Environmental Network has never stopped working to restore and protect the Anacostia River that runs through many DC neighborhoods. We have worked hard to reduce the untreated sewage, polluted runoff, and trash, that makes its way into our rivers and creeks.

The last three years the DC Environmental Network has been part of Mayor Bowser’s Leadership Council for a Cleaner Anacostia River. When we meet we have been engaged in briefings and discussions on the Anacostia River Sediment Project as it moves towards it’s June 30th, 2018, Record of Decision (ROD) requirement. By this date a remedy for remediation of contaminated sediment in the Anacostia River must be chosen. This is a very important milestone in this lengthy process.

With the upcoming Record of Decision, the timing of this $5 million dollar cut to important river remediation efforts could not be worse. Additionally, this spending cut may be putting budget pressures on other important Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE) programs as the District scrambles to fulfill its statutory requirements.

Our budget request:

The DC Environmental Network hopes the DC Council can figure out how to restore the $5 million in capital budget dollars for the Anacostia River. 

The bad news is that looming federal budget cuts, unecessary, scheduled tax relief for some of the largest, wealthiest, most successful DC businesses, and other factors, are creating a budget climate that makes finding $5 million a challenge.

The good news is one of our biggest Anacostia River champions, Councilmember Mary Cheh, is working hard to try to replace these funds.

[Photograph (L to R): Malusi Kitchen, Rev. Keith Kitchen (Zion Baptist Church of Eastland Gardens), Sheridan Fuller (Parkside Civic Association), and Russell Klein (Parkside Civic Association), testify in support of restoration of the $5 million.]

We believe if the Council pulls together and supports her efforts, the District can make progress restoring the Anacostia River, and bring more economic and environmental justice to the people who live along its banks.

[If you have not already, let DC Councilmember’s Jack Evans, Kenyan McDuffie, Charles Allen, and Brandon Todd, who are members of the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, know you support restoring the $5 million. The mark-up for this committee is May 17th at 4:00 PM, in room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building. Hope to see you there!]

 

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