Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Better Alternatives

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Better Alternatives

Alexandria's Potomac Yard Metro Station Alternative B is yet another example of the widespread gentrification and tax-base aggrandizement that is erasing existing communities and the natural environment throughout Alexandria and the D.C. region. Moreover, Alexandria's Alternative B is the worst choice of Practicable Alternatives for the proposed Metro station, easily shown to be the most environmentally damaging of any to be considered.

Many letters were recently sent to federal and state regulatory agencies providing ample reasons to deny on sound legal standing Alexandria's 404 permit application for Alternative B. Not to worry, though, there are several quality, viable alternatives that do not destroy irreplaceable wetlands, thriving wildlife, established communities, and scenic landscape — yet allow for the construction of a Metro station at Potomac Yard.

Alternative B, however, is absolutely not an acceptable option because the environmental costs are far too high and the legal risks to regulatory agencies too great. For example, approving Alternative B would run afoul of NEPA and other regulations and safeguards, exposing federal and state regulatory agencies to a rash of lawsuits they would easily lose, i.e., recent federal court victories involving the very similar Virginia Pipeline impacts to the Blue Ridge Parkway, water resources, and endangered wildlife.

The challenge here, it seems, is not convincing regulators and the public of the folly of Alternative B (they know), but convincing the quixotic City of Alexandria and WMATA to abandon Alternative B, choose one of the two legally compliant alternatives, and get to building a new Metro station that is free of controversy.

C. Dara