Nader calls for Environmental Impact Statement at new stadium site in DC

June 14, 2006

The Honorable Anthony A. Williams
Mayor, District of Columbia

Dear Mayor Williams:

Your Administration can no longer ignore the significant environmental hazards that exist at the construction site for the proposed new baseball stadium. On June 8, 2006 the Washington Post reported a major discovery of 53 tanks of oil under the soil at the stadium site that has caused $2.9 million extra to be spent on environmental cleanup. This troubling level of contamination is only the beginning and I renew my request, with increased urgency, for you to call for a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) at the stadium site.

Given the site's proximity to the Anacostia waterfront, the varied uses of the land - including industrial uses - in its history, and the ballpark project's potential to wreak serious environmental harm, it's time for you to give taxpayers an accurate assessment of the costs for building a stadium at the current site.

From the beginning, you have sought to establish tight control of this important environmental matter. With the help of your appointed city planners, the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission leadership, and Chief Financial Officer, the Williams Administration has continually provided assurances that no significant environmental contamination or hazard exists at the stadium site.

However, as of June 8, 2006 -- after just two weeks of digging -- the cost of environmental cleanup has swelled 30 percent over the environmental cost estimate provided by a private firm that was hired by the city for $420,000. In the DC Council appropriations hearing on June 12, 2006, Councilmember David Catania called this environmental cost estimate "a sham." Indeed, all signs point to a "yes-men" firm hired to produce a favorable estimate in order to avoid cost caps and gain Council approval for the project.

Mr. Mayor, the proper testing must be done. Please do not undermine the well-being of the citizens and the environment to make up for past mistakes concerning this stadium. You can not allow the cost uncertainty of the project, your Administration's propensity to obscure the real costs, or the Lerner group's drive to an April, 2008 opening to mask the environmental hazards at the stadium site.

I look forward to your response, and a forthcoming Environmental Impact Statement.


Ralph Nader
Washington, DC

P.O. Box 19367
Washington, DC 20036