As a whole, Washington, DC has more environmentally-friendly buildings and healthy, green spaces than most urban centers. Yet, it is well-known that our Ward 5 neighborhoods have benefited the least from our city’s environmental development.
For decades, the majority of our city’s industrial land use has been in Ward 5. This has degraded the quality of the air, limited our access to green spaces, and put the health of some of our residents in jeopardy. Much of this has been due to bad policy decisions and poor regulation, stemming from a period of housing segregation and redlining in our city’s history, and continuing over decades with efforts to create business opportunity zones in and near our neighborhoods.
We now know better and we must do better.
- We must first acknowledge the harm that has been done to our communities and create the pathway to make it right.
- ALL of our residents must have homes free of lead or asbestos, healthy air quality, clean water and healthy green outside spaces to enjoy;
- Local and federal funds have been allocated for our city to address climate change and environmental remedies. Ward 5 neighborhoods should be prioritized for city projects that will mitigate industrial and other environmental hazards;
- Ward 5 communities should have priority access to city funding for energy-efficiency and environmental improvement projects;
- A whole-government approach to understanding and correcting our environmental issues is the most effective way of addressing policy, regulations and enforcement for environmental preservation and justice.
- We will follow up on the 2014 Ward 5 Industrial Land Transformation Study, which recommends we target 1000 acres of our industrial land for a hub or green, food, tech and creative businesses.
- Of course, there must be true partnership between government and community members in neighborhood and city decision-making.
As the next Ward 5 councilmember, I will fight hard to make sure that our beautiful Ward 5 receives the attention and resources it deserves to improve our neighbors’ environmental quality and overall health and well-being.