AWS Files to Intervene in Pepco Cleanup Suit


Pepco Benning Road - identified toxic site

Today the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS), Anacostia Riverkeeper (ARK), and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) are filing a motion to intervene in the District of Columbia's suit against Pepco regarding cleanup of the Benning Road facility.  Over the years, toxic chemical spills at the facility have created a serious pollution problem that impacts the health of the river and the health of the communities living near the Benning Road facility. 

For at least the last year and a half, US EPA has been pressuring District officials about the need to put in place meaningful cleanup measures at three of the six known toxic sites along the Anacostia River (see map below) - Washington Gas, Kenilworth Park, and Pepco Benning Road.  As a result, District officials have been negotiating clean up agreements with responsible parties and federal agencies with jurisdiction at the various sites.


Map of six known toxic sites along the Anacostia River (click image to enlarge)

The District negotiated a draft consent decree for Pepco Benning Road that was announced in February and was subsequently reviewed by AWS, ARK, and NRDC.  This negotiated settlement with Pepco is inconsistent with federal guidelines and does not go far enough to ensure an adequate clean up.  We believe that Pepco should be ordered to do much more to clean up the site and protect public health.  To protect the public interest we have filed a motion to intervene in this suit and represent the public's interest that an adequate clean up takes place. 

We are also motivated to do this because the District has not done enough to announce the agreement to affected communities and include their input in the settlement process - to date there have been no public meetings scheduled, and the only opportunity to comment on the draft consent decree was a 30-day comment period announced via the DC Register.

The clean up of the Pepco Benning Road facility, which has been decades in the making, will not be significantly delayed by AWS, ARK, and NRDC getting involved in the case to represent the public interest.  Rather, our goal is to pursue the best clean up possible to ensure the health of the community, and to pursue a public process that is broadly inclusive of community members.


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