Meeting Minutes – June 2016

Next meeting facilitator: Nick

Celebrate Petworth table

Good response, lots of people stopping by, lots of people signed up on mailing list including some from far afield; lots of people liked the pollinator poster

Farmer’s Market table

Not as many people stopped by because more people were there for buying produce, etc.

Could be good to hand out something more tangible than a piece of paper

Grid Alternatives as possible speaker

Person without access to green roof – Catherine will contact her and find out what help she needs and what the situation is

AU school of law – someone who could help us become 401c3 if we want to

Renewable standards update

The bill includes mandated amount of renewable

Solar for all – city installing solar panels on low income houses

The bill passed on first reading. The second reading is coming up soon (within the next couple of weeks). If the mayor does not veto it, it will become law (it does not sound like she will veto). So far no one is lobbying against it and it is fairly non-controversial. The vote may have been unanimous.

A woman who was at a meeting of the DC Sierra Club Environmental Justice Committee announced there is an effort to add jobs for youth to be involved in installing solar panels.

Mary Cheh has introduced new legislation to reiterate that if tenants in a building want to get credit for offsite solar, they should be able to get full credit. (The PSC will only give half credit.)

DC Divest update

The DC pension funds have announced that they will divest from fossil fuels. DC joins SF, Minneapolis, Paris, Oslo in divesting.

DC Fair Elections update

So far we’ve pushed the resolution successfully in ANC4D. Lisa gave a good presentation at ANC4C but they didn’t vote on it. When Lisa gets back into town she will work with her commissioner to get a vote on it. David gave a presentation at ANC4A. The commissioners said they’d get to it after the summer.

The report from the Fair Elections Coalition is that McDuffie (Chair of the Judiciary Committee) is not willing to hold a hearing on the bill. It doesn’t look like it will be voted on in this session. Hopefully after the new council gets in place we can get more support for it. On Saturday 6/25 there will be canvassing in Ward 5 (McDuffie’s ward). You go and talk mostly to people being affected by gentrification; most people are very receptive. David will post the information about canvassing on the GN listserve.

Proposed action: Can we do a targeted petitioning day at the Farmer’s Market and/or the Georgia Ave. metro?

2 parades/marches at 4th of July – one at Palisades and one on Capitol Hill – could do petitioning there

Basav will set up a doodle poll for the week after July 4th to find out who can petition at the metro.


-Rubin will talk to Groundswell about Howard Univ.

-Nick could ask Montessori taking over Bridges about wind power.

-Catherine and Basav will talk to local businesses, churches, etc.

Railroad issues

July 6th is third anniversary of Lac-Mégantic train disaster. The people there have asked that people all over dedicate the day to remembrance and to rail safety (infrastructure, crew size, fatigue, long and heavy trains, etc.).

The CSX wreck that took place at the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station came very close to being a very serious disaster. There was a spill of sodium hydroxide and ethanol.

There is nothing that restricts CSX from moving Bakken Oil through DC. CSX says they won’t move large quantities of it, but they have not promised not to move small quantities (in the thousands of gallons).

Chlorine gas is much more deadly than Bakken Oil, and CSX transports @ least “empty” tankers of it through DC. If there is an accident and it spills lots of people will die immediately in the area.

Fritz hasn’t been able to pull together a specific action for that date, but he will be launching a social media campaign. Would like to put it on the Green Neighbors listserve and ask people to share it with their social media and endorse it.

In Lac-Mégantic the people who worked on the trains have been held responsible, and not the policy makers or the company executives.

The community will never recover; already 50 deaths out of a community of a few thousand.

Since the 1930s DC has not had a state rail plan, but now one has been proposed: The DC Rail Plan. There are some good things in it but some important things relevant to the environment and safety are missing. The DC Office of Rail Safety will not be under the Department of Transportation, but is proposed to be under the Department of Energy and the Environment. There is a 30 day comment period on state rail plan (now probably 10 or so days left). Would be good for people to comment about need to have Safety Officer in Dept. of Transportation. Fritz could write something up for the listserve. The goal to move away from fossil fuels is also not in the plan; doesn’t include anything about the Paris accords, etc.

The solution is to have all the stakeholders at the table when decisions about railroads are made, including the workers/unions and the communities, not just the government and the railroad owners.

GN will support the July 6th Lac-Mégantic Day of Solidarity.

The FRA had an open comment period on federal legislation on crew size, restricting the use of single crew members for operating trains. There was a comment period but it has passed.  Railroad Workers United pushed the open comment period and got 4 or 5 times more comments than they usually do.

DC Sierra Club Environmental Justice Committee

They meet every month. The next meeting is Tuesday, June 28 at 6:30 at 50 F Street NW.

Jeremiah Lowery is one of the leaders. He is on the Food Council – promoting urban farms, better nutrition, etc. Kerry Fulton, one of the leaders of EJ community in US, is also part of the committee. She is working for Empower DC now about Buzzard Point soccer stadium.

Lead issue –Hearing led by Grosso this Wednesday 6/22 at 10:00 at the Wilson Building. Half of DC kids under 6 who are eligible for Medicaid were supposed to be tested for lead and they were not. General Pediatrics published a report about kids who have more than acceptable levels.

DC Water said they’ll take out lead pipes but it costs $10,000. One source is lead paint; people paint over it but it eventually flakes off and gets in the air. Some kids in PA have higher lead levels than in Flint.

Good Sense Farm in Park View

New storefront at 3400 Georgia Ave. Also want to use it for community events. Could be good to have them give a talk.

Keep the Hives Alive Tour

Event here in Washington Wednesday, July 22nd at 1:30 at the EPA, 12th and Pennsylvania

United Mineworkers Rally

United Mineworkers to have a rally for 22,000 miners who are having their health benefits cut off – having a march on Washington (date not announced yet). This is a just transition issue and it would be good to show them solidarity as an environmental group.

Climate Change Education

Possible ways to share the information for people who don’t know that much. Nick has some ideas and resources about this. One is “The Crash Course” about climate and other stuff. Would be good to discuss at a future meeting. Nick could pass along some links.

Clean Energy March in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention

They’re looking for endorsements. GN could endorse this. David will send the information out to the listserve.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.