Washington, DC Chapter
Please reply to:
Mark Wenzler, Chair
305 10th St., SE
Washington D.C. 20003
January 18, 2002
The Honorable Anthony Williams, Mayor
District of Columbia
1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20004
Dear Mr. Mayor:
The Washington DC Chapter of the Sierra Club has several serious
concerns regarding the proposed National Grand Prix Racing at the RFK
Stadium site, and we write to you now to share those concerns and ask your
help both as mayor and as one who understands the importance of
environmental protection here in the District.
First among these concerns is that the fast timeline for this event
does not allow sufficient time to assess its environmental impacts. We ask
that you evaluate the environmental effects of this event on both the
nearby neighborhoods, the adjoining Anacostia River, and the region at
large, and that you require these effects to be mitigated as necessary to
protect public health and environmental quality.
Air Quality. We believe this event may very well degrade air quality in
both nearby neighborhoods and the region at large. The lack of air
pollution controls on the racing cars has the potential to emit toxic
chemicals into surrounding neighborhoods. In addition, this event will
bring thousands of spectators in cars into the city, resulting in even
higher smog levels – during the time of year when we are most likely to
experience Code Red days. Given these factors, we feel that this event
will make compliance with the Clean Air Act even more difficult for the
Washington region. You should make sure that both of these impacts are
evaluated and mitigated to the greatest possible degree to protect public
health. At a minimum, the event should encourage the maximum possible use
of Metro rail and bus.
Runoff into the Anacostia River. Runoff from the RFK Stadium parking
lot already is a major source of pollution for the Anacostia River.
Placing fuel storage, car maintenance, and other facilities on the lot
without substantial measures will only exacerbate the situation. Since the
lot is being repaved to accommodate the event, however, you have the
unique opportunity to help mitigate these problems by integrating runoff
controls such as rain gardens and other bio-retention methods into the
parking lot repaving plan.. By strategically designing green spaces into
the new parking lot, the water can be filtered naturally and its flow into
the Anacostia slowed, further helping to clean this endangered river.
We look forward to working with you to reduce both the runoff and the
air pollution problems of this event.
Chair, Sierra Club, Washington, D.C. Chapter