To the Editor:
As reported in the Alexandria Gazette Packet ( May 9) Mayor Euille and city officials expressed major concerns about Norfolk Southern's proposed plan to increase their ethanol transloading and had not been notified about this proposed plan, our local elected officials quickly decided to vote on an resolution opposing Norfolk Southern's plan. Is this resolution really that important and necessary? There is no question from most Alexandria residents that Norfolk Southern's proposed plan to double their ethanol transloading might impact the environment for those residents who live nearby at Cameron Station and other residential properties. However, Norfolk Southern has been at this location for more then 20-plus years long before Cameron Station and other condos/schools were built in that neighborhood. Further, the Surface Transportation Act supercedes local law movement by rail and the city of Alexandria lost its lawsuit against Norfolk Southern about six years over the same issue.
The real question here is the principle that our elected officials have so quickly decided that they must vote on a resolution for one neighborhood in Alexandria, i.e. Cameron Station and overlook the other neighborhoods in the West End that now have to live with the BRAC-133 at the Mark Center. Where was the outrage from our elected officials when BRAC moved into the Mark Center? Why didn't our Democratic mayor and all Democratic members of the council 5-plus years ago who all supported the BRAC site selection not stand up for us? It is no secret that Alexandria is a Democratic town run by the Democratic machine, but politics should not become part of this issue. Granted City Manager Rashad Young lives at Cameron Station along with the chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee and even though BRAC-133 is a federal government issue, our local elected officials should be concerned about those of us who have been impacted by BRAC.
What about the health, welfare and safety of our community should any type of attack happen at BRAC, which faces I-395 N/S. Thanks to Don Buch, chair of the Cameron Station Civic Association who was a member of the BRAC-133 Advisory Committee who often raised the question about a possible terrorist attack and the impact it might have on our residential community.
I know many residents in the West End who live in and around the BRAC site are concerned that not one member of the council spoke out when BRAC-133 moved into the Mark Center. And yes, there were many citizens who live in the West End, myself included, who supported Cameron Station residents when Norfolk Southern had problems several years ago. But for Mayor Euille and council to vote on a resolution opposing Norfolk Southern's recent proposed plan to increase ethanol at their location sends the message to the rest of the citizens in the West End and perhaps other neighborhoods in Alexandria that they don't care about us, are not concerned about our environmental issues along with our health, welfare and safety and that we don't count.