Agency, D.C. to Collaborate on Watersheds, Green Programs

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) have signed a Performance Partnership Agreement that will guide their collaboration in five key areas for improving quality of life in the District of Columbia over the next two years.

"With this agreement, the bond on environmental protection between our federal and local governments has never been stronger," said DDOE Director George S. Hawkins. "As today [Oct. 2] is my last day in office as director, I'm thrilled to leave with a joint commitment that advances priorities first expressed to me more than two years ago by Mayor Adrian Fenty, and that puts in place a dynamic action plan for our future management team."

The agreement targets the following areas:

  • Restoring the District's watersheds including the Anacostia, Potomac, and Rock Creek by developing an approach that considers all sources of pollution.
  • Implementing the Green DC Agenda and showcasing the District for its green programs.
  • Addressing health risks to sensitive populations such as children and the elderly and assessing Environmental Justice issues impacting low income citizens.
  • Updating obscure and outdated environmental regulations and developing new ones.
  • Enhancing public education and outreach to foster more environmentally informed citizens.
In August, the District of Columbia reported that it is expecting $8.8 million in federal funds to improve energy efficiency in District government buildings and support public education about energy. The funding is part of a DOE grant under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The District is also on track to receive an additional $11 million, for a total of $22 million, under the State Energy Program grant.

Examples of the projects to be funded include:

  • Replace heating, cooling and lighting equipment at One Judiciary Square, the former P.R. Harris Educational Center, and two public shelters.
  • Begin a pilot program to provide a $3,000 matching grant to encourage prospective homebuyers and renters to live within walking or transit distance of their workplaces.
  • Install high-efficiency lighting at five park athletic facilities.
  • Expand funding for DDOE's renewable energy incentive program.
  • Retrofit six DCPS elementary schools with high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, and new windows.
  • Train youth at the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services in green construction.
In addition, the funding will facilitate multiple education efforts designed to reach different populations within the District. For example, DDOE will hold quarterly teacher trainings to incorporate renewable energy content into the science and math lesson plans for schoolchildren. The District Government will also work to adopt green building codes by developing resource materials, training sessions and testing materials.

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