Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Will Amazon Save the Wetlands?

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Will Amazon Save the Wetlands?

There appears to be nothing that local and state elected officials won’t do to please Jeff Bezos and his billions.

Now that Amazon is really coming to town, Alexandria officials are rushing to get their new Potomac Yard Metro station approved by the Planning Commission and City Council, permitted by state and federal agencies, and built. Even the Commonwealth of Virginia has joined the cheerleading by promising to spend a few hundred million dollars on transportation improvements that might include the southern entrance to the Potomac Yard Metro station that was cut because of a lack of funding.

But these facts overlook another important fact: Alexandria has chosen a Metro site that will destroy valuable wetlands along the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Nobody seems care all that much about the environmental damage, not the National Park Service, and certainly not the City of Alexandria.

According to the so-called compensation agreement, the city’s “preferred alternative is designed to minimize impacts to wetlands and other waters of the U.S. and to compensate for impacts to wetlands in accordance with the Clean Water Act….” But the facts indicate the opposite conclusion.

The recently formed Environmental Council of Alexandria (ECA) has voiced its strong disapproval by asking the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny Alexandria its request for permits to fill in these wetlands. The ECA believes that the damage will be permanent, and that it also involves tidal wetlands. The solution is to build the Metro station elsewhere in Potomac Yard.

The Potomac Yard wetlands are a valuable ecological and environmental resource. The wetlands which the city has chosen to destroy both filter contaminants and absorb great quantities of water and runoff.

There is nothing smart or innovative about building a Metro station in a wetland when viable less environmentally damaging alternatives exist. Hear ye, hear ye, economic development, without a sound environmental foundation, is not acceptable.

ECA Board

Vineeta Anand

Katy Cannady

Jeremy Flachs

Hal Hardaway

Andrew Macdonald