Sean Kennedy’s Nov. 5 Local Opinions essay denouncing D.C. Water’s stormwater fee, “End D.C.’s ‘rain tax’ on the poor and the dead,” deftly threw the baby out with the bathwater. His solution would set back cleanup efforts for Rock Creek, the Potomac River and the Anacostia River by decades. As a stakeholder in the process to respond to the court’s mandate, I and other members of the Long-Term Control Plan group over the years deliberated on a variety of approaches to stem the flow of pollution into our rivers and streams. The problem was massive. Several approaches were rejected because of their economic impact on D.C. ratepayers. The solution of a set of tunnels coupled with low-impact development seemed to us to curtail the most pollution without overly burdening ratepayers.
At the end of Mr. Kennedy’s piece was actually one good suggestion: to call on the federal government to increase its support of the project, as its paltry appropriations over the years forced the District to forgo any but the direst sewer improvements. Of course, D.C. Water should reconsider its stormwater rates to make them more equitable, but to eliminate them would shove the cleanup effort back to the 1950s, when great mats of stinking algae cloaked the Georgetown waterfront and few fish survived in the Anacostia.
Marchant Wentworth, Washington
The writer is principal of
Wentworth Green Strategies.