Norton Requests Outreach to SW Residents on Environmental Impact of Buzzard Point Redevelopment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today released a letter she wrote to District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment Director Tommy Wells, referring to his office, D.C. United, and Pepco several health and environmental concerns raised by D.C. residents in ANC 6D06 related to the planned Buzzard Point D.C. United soccer stadium construction, the nearby Pepco substation, and a concrete facility in Southwest. Norton said that she was referring the concerns raised to the appropriate District agency and parties because the matters are exclusively under the city’s local control.

“ANC 6D06, which is located near the planned Buzzard Point D.C. United soccer stadium site, reached out to our office with a number of health and environmental concerns related to the stadium construction, the nearby Pepco substation, and a concrete facility in SW…We request that the Department of Energy and Environment see that the relevant parties engage with ANC 6D06 to provide the community with responses.”

Norton’s full letter is below.

Tommy Wells
Director
D.C. Department of Energy and Environment
1200 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20002

Dear Director Wells:

District of Columbia residents recognize that the city has been working to ensure that D.C. United remains here in the District of Columbia. We understand that your office, D.C. United and Pepco are working on some of the issues raised in this letter. However, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6D06, which is located near the planned Buzzard Point D.C. United soccer stadium site, reached out to our office with a number of health and environmental concerns related to the stadium construction, the nearby Pepco substation, and a concrete facility in Southwest. These are matters exclusively under the city’s local control with no federal involvement. Therefore, I am referring them to your office and asking that your office,e or whichever party you think is most appropriate, contact ANC 6D06 Commissioner Rhonda Hamilton.

A good number of residents in the neighborhood have low incomes, many are in poor health, have young children, or are susceptible to environmental risks. One of their principle concerns is cleanup of contaminants at the Buzzard Point stadium site. We understand that under the voluntary cleanup program, there will be excavation of the first 10 feet below ground surface and that contaminated soil will be moved off-site. Residents are concerned about remaining contaminants. In addition, they are also concerned with the amount of particulate matter in the air (dust) created by construction of the stadium.

Residents also are seeking plans for how environmental and health concerns will be addressed, such as real-time monitoring reports, and resident input on actions D.C. United and the city will be taking. Our office has been able to get both on federal projects. For example, the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, which was partly under our federal jurisdiction, holds monthly public meetings with residents and has a community office near the work site. On its own, the developer for the Capitol Crossing project has real-time monitoring on the project website. The ANC also had the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) provide technical assistance on a cleanup review for the D.C. United soccer stadium, and NJIT made a number of findings related to health impacts and made recommendations for ways to avoid these impacts.

Among NJIT’s recommendations were the following: (1) D.C. United more proactively engage the community; (2) D.C. United establish a public website with real-time air monitoring data and a more thorough plan for addressing contaminated air during construction; (3) completion of a vapor intrusion investigation; and (4) thorough investigation of environmental impacts to the Anacostia River.

In addition, residents raised concerns that the Pepco substation expansion will result in exposure to electromagnetic radiation. Residents also cited ongoing air quality issues posed by the concrete facility located in close proximity to housing.

We request that the Department of Energy and Environment see that the relevant parties engage with ANC 6D06 to provide the community with responses.

Sincerely,

Eleanor Holmes Norton

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