How DC's Environmental Community Came Together in Support of Healthy Rivers in the District
In the last two months groups like the Anacostia Watershed Society, Global Green USA, Sierra Club, Friends of Rock Creek Environment, Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council, Audubon Naturalist Society, Surfrider Foundation, Clean Water Action, Potomac Riverkeeper, Anacostia Riverkeeper, Alice Ferguson Foundation, DC Greenworks, Casey Trees, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and others have again been working hard to let the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) know that we are unanimous in advocating for a strong stormwater permit for the District (see comments in sidebar).
Even Councilmembers Cheh, Wells, Mendelson, (K) Brown and Graham have been working with us in support of healthy rivers and sent their own letter advocating for a strong permit to help guide the restoration of our rivers.
All of us have been very busy generating hundreds of emails to EPA; participating in meetings with the District Department of the Environment; convening discussions to educate the environmental community about the stormwater permit; walking the halls of the DC Council to raise decision makers awareness of the needs of our rivers and how their health are tied to the economic sustainability of our city. We have made some progress but much still needs to be done!
Join our Clean Water Campaign and help us keep the momentum moving forward.
How DC Environmentalists Came Together to Protect Funding for Important Environmental Programs
Last April Mayor Fenty released his FY2011 Proposed Budget to the DC Council. The environmental community soon found out that many critical envirionmental programs to restore the Anacostia River, fight global warming and restore the District's tree canopy had been stripped of funding. Many organizations including the Mt. Pleasant Solar Coop, Surfrider Foundation, Sierra Club and other groups launched campaigns to save these important initiatives. The DC Environmental Network coordinated numerous coalition activities including:
• Convened DCEN Luncheon to discuss strategies to retore budget cuts.
• Coordinated the largest environmental coaltion letter of the year with 40 environmental NGOs and business asking the Council to protect jobs and restore funding.
• Coordinated a Green Budget Lobby day and delivered our letter to every Council office, verbally presenting our concerns to staff and members.
• Coordinated and shared information with green Councilmembers who also fought hard to protect and restore funding.
Our efforts resulted in helping restore $2.6 million in funding to the the Anacostia River Cleanup Fund; almost $4 million to the DC Sustainable Energy Utility to fight global warming and $1 million to fund a solar rebate program to help District residents bring renewable solar energy to their homes. The environmental community also raised awareness that environmental programs are important to the health and economic sustainability of the District.
It is important to note that we may all have to re-visit the FY2011 budget should the District's Chief Financial Officer, Natwar Gandhi, find new budget pressures sometime around June 15th. We may have another $75 million dollars of budget cuts. Stay Tuned!
How One Block within an Existing City Can Lead the Paradigm Shift Towards a New Urban Landscape
All Metro Washington Region environmentalists are invited to a brown-bag luncheon on June 10th @ Noon @ 1100 15th Street NW, 11th Floor.
Our luncheon will include a panel with Llewellyn Wells (President & Founder, Living City Block of Denver), Katherine Gajewski (Director of Sustainability, City of Philadelphia) and Barbara Deutsch (Executive Director, Landscape Architecture Foundation).
Very few cities and organizations in this country or worldwide are making progress towards proving the value of retrofitting existing urban environments in large, defined segments. Deep retrofits conducted in an existing urban environment can be profitable and will contribute greatly to the development of regenerative urban communities by:
• reducing vehicle-miles traveled and improve public health by creating a transit-served or transit-ready mix of uses in a walk-able street pattern connected to adjacent uses;
• reducing land consumption and per-capita costs of public investment by absorbing growth that, without alternatives, would expand in sprawl and edgeless cities;
• increasing the feasibility and efficiency of transit;
• increasing local interconnectivity;
• adding permeable surfaces and green spaces;
• adding public and civic spaces;
• increasing choice in housing type and affordability;
• increasing diversification of tax base; and
• establishing an urban node within a polycentric region.
Join us as our panelists explain and discuss how Living City Block in Denver (and maybe someday in DC or Philadelphia) might help make the case for sustainability by focusing on the value of retrofitting existing urban environments. Our panel will make brief presentations. We will then open up the meeting to questions and comments.