Search Form
Now choose a category »

Public Statements

Letter to Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail, National Park Service - Residents' Questions and Concerns about an Environmental Remedy for Kenilworth Park

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) last week wrote a letter to National Park Service (NPS) Deputy Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail asking NPS to hold a public meeting in light of questions and concerns raised by D.C. residents about the proposed cleanup plan for Kenilworth Park. Residents argue that the cleanup is not necessary and that they would lose the park to construction for several years and that it could bury the ecosystem. The NPS feasibility study to evaluate alternatives to cleanup Kenilworth Park has identified minimal risks thus far. Some questions and concerns were addressed at an initial public meeting in April, but many remain, especially regarding the recent NPS decision to conduct a ground water investigation prior to selecting a final remedy for Kenilworth Park.

Norton, in her letter, wrote, "At the same time, I understand NPS's risk concerns, particularly about children, who are more vulnerable to various toxins and pollutants due to their ongoing growth processes, including brain development…Therefore, I ask that you hold a second public meeting after the study is concluded, before the record of decision is issued, so that the community can fully understand how the study impacts the alternative that is ultimately selected. I intend to have staff present at that meeting."

The full text of the letter follows.

Dear Deputy Superintendent Noojibail:

Thank you for briefing my staff on the National Park Service's (NPS) proposed plan to clean up Kenilworth Park. As you know, several constituents contacted me because they are concerned about NPS's preferred alternative of installing a 24-inch low permeability soil cap. In short, they believe that the risks identified in the feasibility study do not justify such a costly project with significant inconvenience and displacement. For example, they think that the preferred alternative is unreasonable given the slight risk of residents developing cancer, assuming adults eat the soil two hours a day, 350 days per year, for 24 years, and children eat the soil two hours a day, 350 days per year, for six years. Residents think that if the risks are so small, NPS should not turn their community park into a construction site for several years. The residents are also concerned that this project will bury the ecosystem, including rare birds. At the same time, I understand NPS's risk concerns, particularly about children, who are more vulnerable to various toxins and pollutants due to their ongoing growth processes, including brain development.

I appreciate that NPS held a 60-day public comment period and a public meeting on April 11, 2013, where residents voiced their concerns. However, residents still have a number of questions and concerns about the project, especially in light of NPS's recent decision to conduct a ground water investigation prior to selecting a final remedy for Kenilworth Park. Therefore, I ask that you hold a second public meeting after the study is concluded, before the record of decision is issued, so that the community can fully understand how the study impacts the alternative that is ultimately selected. I intend to have staff present at that meeting.
I ask for a response in 30 days.

Sincerely,

Eleanor Holmes Norton


Source:
Skip to top
Back to top