Sep 30, 2012

University Students Barred from Advisory Board Membership

The Spring Valley Restoration Advisory Board recently announced that students cannot participate in board discussions on the basis that they are not permanent D.C. residents ... The Eagle would like to point out a few factors: 
First, although each individual student at AU only lives in D.C. for about four years, AU is not moving and the Spring Valley community will always have a student presence in the area.  The AU student body is a permanent resident and therefore deserves a say.
Second, D.C. is a transient city.  Every four years (or more often than that), new rotations of politicians move into the D.C. metropolitan area.  Members of the House of Representatives are potentially only here for two years.  As populations other than students come and go, it seems that the board’s members are targeting students specifically.  
Third, AU students do their research.  When students become involved with something, they study it ... Board members may be concerned that students won’t understand the jargon or complexity of neighborhood issues.  This may be a legitimate concern at a different university, but at AU, if students are given the opportunity to represent themselves, they take it.

[1.1.] The purpose of the Board is to provide a forum and mechanism to ensure: a) independent community awareness, b) review and assessment of proposed actions by the Corps and c) the Corps’ consideration of community concerns as they proceed with environmental testing, analysis, remediation and restoration of the Spring Valley neighborhood, pursuant to the contamination and potentially dangerous material remaining in ground as a result of activities of the American University Experimental Station, a Formerly Used Defense Site ...
[3.1.3.] The community members are individual residents and/or workers in the area who may be affected by environmental restoration activities in the Spring Valley FUDS, and who provide their advice, opinions and judgments as individuals ...
[4.2.2.] Community members selected for the Spring Valley RAB must live and/or work in the affected community, or be affected by the installation’s environmental restoration program.

Sep 18, 2012

Mother of Two Appeals to Spring Valley RAB Over Denied Relocation

DIETERICH (Resident, 4830 Glenbrook Road)There is a really immediate direct risk to our property — much more than anyone else in the neighborhood ... The Army Corps in the mean time has twice rejected our request — we are getting only "no's," so we ask for your support to be relocated. I don't want our children to be in that house when the Army is digging for chemical weapons just yards from our property ... There are enormous risks, there are enormous uncertainties about what they're going to find ... Things go wrong. It's a marginal risk. Not a high one, but a marginal risk when it comes to highly poisonous substances is too big a risk for my children.
WHISNANT (Principal, Horace Mann Elementary School): We certainly have been promoting walking to school ... and they're walking access is along Glenbrook Road. We have been in touch with AU about the possibility of using their back gate as an alternate route or that is something that can be disbanded  The presence of those two children across the street cannot be easily rerouted and disbanded unless, I think, this Restoration Advisory Board has a voice that says (I don't know how you talk about "acceptable risk" when there is no acceptable risk) remove them and support their removal. 

Spring Valley RAB Meeting 

Christine Dieterich, who lives directly across the street from the site at 4825 Glenbrook Road with two children, said she is worried about adverse effects from chemicals will harm her family during the construction.  The Army Corps denied her two requests for the Corps to pay for her temporary relocation because the construction would be monitored and precautions were in place.
“Systems fail, things go wrong and engineers are human, not God,” Dieterich said during the Spring Valley meeting on Sept. 11.  Dieterich appealed to the board, but members said they could not make a decision until they had more evidence of the site’s risks.  However, only Corps Headquarters would be able to overturn the current decision.  Dr. Peter deFur, an environmental scientist who served on the National Research Council Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, will release a study on the construction site’s chemical risks. 

The Eagle 
September 20, 2012 (pg. 6)

The house to be demolished at 4825 Glenbrook Rd is approximately 45 feet from the near edge of Glenbrook Road, the road is about 30 feet wide, for a total distance of about 75 feet from the house to the property boundary across the street ... The Corps makes assumptions about the worst that might happen, termed the Maximum Credible Event -- what might occur if the containment failed with a chemical release, in this case a liter of arsenic trichloride.  The Corps estimates that a person needs to be more than 161 feet from such a release in order to experience only minor discomfort from the release.  For distance less than 161 feet from a release, a person needs to take precautions to remain safe in the event of a release.  
September 18, 2012
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