Alexandria Green Space scam
The Alexandria City Council "Eco City Alexandria" program is another scam (sigh) promoted by Mayor "Scooter" Wilson, Del Pepper, City Manager Mark Jinks. and City Spokesman Craig Fifer.
"Eco City Alexandria" is another fraud sold by City Council to provide a false agenda and a false sense of transparency. Mayor Wilson has spearheaded a high density development agenda resulting in a polluted Potomac River and Alexandria City Waterfront. Concerned citizens are uniting to save our Wetlands!
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) Hearing this Tuesday, 16th July, at the Durant Center on Cameron Street Many citizens have provided comments to VDEQ on the proposed Option B for the Potomac Yard Metro station. Hope you can attend this hearing Tuesday, and speak.
If you cannot make Tuesday, hope you'll submit written comments to VDEQ before 31st July, even if you already did so.
The hearing is about our environment, which ironically the city which calls itself "Eco City Alexandria" will be destroying. Along with the benefits of about 5 acres of woodland, wetland and tidal wetlands, which do a lot to mitigate flooding like we had this past Monday.
Many cars were stranded if not totaled by flooding on the George Washington Parkway, no doubt because of the construction that already exists in Crystal City, Potomac Yard, etc. Why should 5 more acres of water absorbing and filtering ground be allowed to disappear under concrete?
There are other considerations, like the nice, existing viewshed that breaks the monotony of Crystal City when heading south of the Parkway, the fact this was once National Park Service land belonging to the entire U.S., until the city managed to acquire it. And don't forget that the city has already been caught lying on this proposed station, the south entrance, through emails revealed in a FOIA request. But all this is not an issue for VDEQ. If the City lies about one aspect of the station, perhaps they're lying about the environmental aspects...
Below is a statement from the director of the Environmental Council of Alexandria, Andrew MacDonald, which should explain this all:
Please attend the DEQ Public Hearing on the Potomac Yard Metro Station Wetland Permit on July 16 at 7:00 PM at the Oswald Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
On Tuesday, July 16, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ) will hold a hearing on the City of Alexandria’s plan to build a new metro station in a wetland along George Washington Memorial Parkway in Potomac Yard. The DEQ has issued a draft permit for the project, despite our objections. https://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/19-0170_Permit_2019-06-13_Draft VWP Permit.pdf
The Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has still not issued their decision. The Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRc) has so far refused to acknowledge the very obvious tidal wetland impacts.
This may be our last chance to stop Alexandria from filling-in about 5 acres of freshwater, non-tidal wetlands that are adjacent to a freshwater tidal marsh that connects this property with the Potomac River.
The Environmental Council of Alexandria (ECA) believes the metro station can and should be located in another part of Potomac Yard, instead of in a City park that was protected by a Scenic Easement held by the National Park Service. The existing wetlands should be protected and restored. The decision by the City to press ahead with this destruction is a violation of the Clean Water Act, the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, and the City’s Eco-City Charter.
We need you to do two things:
1) Attend the public hearing at the Durant Center on July 16 at 7:00 pm. At the meeting, you will have 3 minutes to tell representatives from the State Water Control Board why you think that the DEQ should NOT issue a permit to the City for construction of a metro station at this special aquatic site.
2) Send in your comments to the VA DEQ by email before July 31 to:
Wynn K. Prusaczyk
Virginia Water Protection Permit Writer/Inspector
13901 Crown Ct
Woodbridge, VA 22193
The City’s permit application can be viewed at the VMRC website or at the City of Alexandria PYMS web page https://www.alexandriava.gov/PotomacYardMetro. It also contains additional documents related to the permit application.
Background of The Fight to Save the Potomac Yard Wetland
The City of Alexandria has spent a decade or more arguing that Potomac Yard needs a new metro station in order to encourage “smart growth” at this old railroad yard. The ECA is not opposed to building a new metro station here. There are environmental benefits, obviously. However, we strongly feel that it is disingenuous for the City to claim that this project is environmentally sustainable, when it threatens what little remains of the wetland habitat along the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Alexandria.
The latest storm and flooding should make it clear to all of us that we need to preserve and protect natural habitat, most importantly wetlands. Stormwater ponds that have already been built in Potomac Yard are discharging sediment and other pollutants into the Potomac River in violation of the Clean Water Act. The new construction will exacerbate these problems and further harm the remaining tidal wetlands. Mitigation will not restore the natural habitat that will be filled in here temporarily. Impacts will be permanent and extend into the tidal wetlands that border the project and its staging area.
The City wants to build a metro at Alternative B, in what was until recently a City park with a Scenic Easement established by the National Park Service two decades ago following the development of Potomac Greens. The site where the metro would be built provides a natural scenic buffer between development in Potomac Yard and the historic GW Parkway.
The wetlands here have irreplaceable environmental benefits. The City claims of course that they are not in great shape and will be “improved” by the mitigation. We disagree STRONGLY and fault the NPS for accepting a few million dollars in exchange for allowing the City to build here.
The City claims that it cannot build a metro at other sites in Potomac Yard because they don’t meet the purpose and need of the project, or are too expensive, etc. In truth, the City never really considered these other options – and never fully considered all the environmental impacts to these wetland—including a tidal marsh—and the GW Parkway.
The City claims most of the environmental damage will be just temporary, and that they will replace some of the wetlands that they will destroy during the construction of the station. We think that this is an entirely specious argument. The Clean Water Act requires developers to locate their project elsewhere if the environmental impacts are too great, and if there are other suitable sites available. The City decided to pick this site not because it is the most suitable one from an environmental standpoint, or because other sites don’t exist, but because they feel they can develop Potomac Yard more easily and with less cost. We disagree with their conclusions and think there are other sites at Potomac Yard that better meet the goals and standards of Section 404 (b)(1) of the Clean Water Act.
The City claims that the impacts to wetlands will be mitigated either on- or off-site by buying credits in a wetland bank. The fact that they cannot mitigate all of the impacts on site indicates that the damage is quite significant. There would be no need to do any mitigation if the City recognized the value of preserving these wetlands, but they don’t. They care only about development under the guise of “smart growth.” There is nothing smart about destroying these wetlands.
We should also add that the regionally rare and state critically-imperiled Torreys Rush and the state-imperiled River Bullrush exist in the actual footprint of Site B, or in the adjacent freshwater marsh. The City also says that the tidal marsh will be protected by a 10-foot berm during construction. This is just another example of the City’s disregard for the environment, the Potomac, and the Bay, not to mention our local ecosystems.
This project as conceived is not environmentally sustainable. The City has chosen a site for a metro that should be off-limits to development. The ECA has provided substantial comments to both the USACE and DEQ outlining why we oppose this permit. Now it is your turn.
Thank you for your support,
Andrew Macdonald, Chair, The Environmental Council of Alexandria