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Shell Station Next Elementary School

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Local Anacostia residents are fighting the opening of an experimental Shell hydrogen cell and gasoline station less than 100 yards from River Terrace Elementary School in Ward 7.

 

Mr. Gurley and Michele Tingling-Clemmons, Statehood Green candidate for Ward 7 member of D.C. Council, are demanding that Shell insure the life of each child at the school in the event of a catastrophe from an accident, explosion, terrorism, or equipment malfunction in the amount of $1.5 million,

 

"Let Shell Oil put its money where its mouth is," said Tingling-Clemmons. "If the risk is as low as Shell claims, $1.5 million per child in insurance shouldn't require that high a premium. Our children are not for sale, but if this station is forced down River Terrace residents' throats, they should know that their children will be taken care of in the event of an accident, without the normal legal fees, maneuvering, and delays. I'm certain neither Shell nor General Motors would hesitate if this plant were located in Ward 3."

 

"The station is an integral part of the Bush Administration's efforts to showcase its $1 million 'Freedom Cars' intended to shuttle VIPs all over Capitol Hill to distract people from the reality that the government's energy policy was formulated behind closed doors by Dick Cheney, Enron, and oil industry executives," added Tingling-Clemmons.

 

George Gurley, Director of Urban Protectors, Air Force veteran, and author who led the local movement to stop Pepco from expanding its polluting capacity in northeast D.C., received the endorsement of the D.C. Statehood Green Party in his protest of Shell Oil's decision to place the Shell station near the school.

 

A town hall meeting and rally against the Shell station organized and sponsored by Mr. Gurley, is scheduled for Thursday, June 10, 7 p.m. at River Terrace Elementary School, 34th and Dix Streets, NE. Tingling-Clemmons has been invited to speak along with Democratic candidates Vincent Gray and Kevin Chavous (incumbent).

 

Statehood Greens note that the Washington Metropolitican Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is required by environmental law to maintain a non-residential buffer zone around its natural gas refueling stations, and that public safety concerns and reason justify a similar buffer zone surrounding an experimental hydrogen cell and gasoline station.

 

River Terrace residents have already faced the effects of environmental contamination. The National Center for Environmental Health revealed on April 9 that River Terrace suffers disproportionately high rates of asthma and bronchitis, thanks to high levels of ozone, sulfate, and particulate matter allegedly from the Potomac Electric Power Company's Benning Road electric generating plant and a nearby D.C. government trash incinerator. And in 2002, the EPA released a preliminary report warning of PCB toxins in River Terrace's soil.

 

"River Terrace residents are right to suspect the assurances of Shell Oil," said George Gurley. "Shell is one of the worst polluters in the world. It has bought off governments around the world, including Nigeria, where writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and seven other activists were executed for protesting the devastation caused by Shell's drilling sites. In Durban, South Africa, Shell is refusing to clean up an urban underground oil spill, the largest in history."

 

"Rather than encouraging Shell Oil, we need to reduce traffic in city neighborhoods drastically," added Michele Tingling-Clemmons. "We need to make our neighborhoods convenient and safe for people to walk to their destinations, more public transportation running on clean energy, and conversion to safe and renewable solar, wind, and fuel cell energy. The health and safety of our children are at stake."

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