Georgetown University Alumni Will Demand Protection for the “Lungs Of DC” at Town Hall
At Georgetown reunion, students, alumni, Charles County residents, Piscataway tribal members, the Audubon Naturalist Society, City Wildlife, Clean Water Action, and others to host a Climate Injustice town hall protesting forest destruction
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Friday, May 30, 2019
CHEVY CHASE, MD - Georgetown University has signed a contract with Origis Energy to build a solar energy farm on 240 acres of high-value forest habitat in Charles County, MD. The land is home to several endangered species of birds and aquatic life and covers part of the ancestral homeland of the Piscataway Tribe. Neither the University nor the developer has consulted with the Tribe. The University has not released promised environmental review documents to the community despite repeated requests.
“As a Georgetown alum and current graduate student, I’m disappointed in the University’s irresponsible treatment of the environment and local communities in their pursuit of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Victoria Ma, Georgetown alum, School of Nursing and Health Studies 2017. “Though solar is commendable, there has been a lack of transparency from the University in terms of their elusive environmental assessment, lack of respect to the Piscataway people and residents of Charles County, MD, and lack of initiative from the University in public coverage of the solar project.”
“It has been really difficult for me to watch Georgetown’s proposal unfold,” said Valarie Proctor, Piscataway Conoy Tribe member of the Cedarville Band. “Piscataway people have a very painful history so to see continued threats to our ancestral homelands and culture has me feeling heartbroken and in absolute rage. There was no tribal consultation in the scouting process for this project, so not only is the project an environmental threat, but an anti-Indigenous one as well. While it is necessary to make the shift to renewable energy amid the climate crisis, Indigenous lands should not be harmed and destroyed for renewable energy installations.”
“The Georgetown Solar Farm would destroy 240 acres of pristine forest habitat, home to rare and threatened species of plants and animals, some of Maryland’s most valuable streams, and part of the Nanjemoy Forest that cleans the air for our entire region,” said Ari Eisenstadt, Audubon Naturalist Society’s DC Conservation Advocate. “It’s a false choice to pit solar panels against important forest habitats. As a national and international leader, Georgetown has an obligation to find better places for renewable energy, such as rooftops, landfills, parking lots, and degraded farm fields. We need all the renewable energy we can get, so let’s make sure our early decisions set the right precedent to save our atmosphere and our land, air, and water as well.”
“We love solar and enthusiastically want to see Georgetown University and the state of Maryland lead the way to renewable energy in a responsible, sustainable and strategic way,” said Rosa Hance, Chair, Southern Maryland Sierra Club.
“Georgetown University and its Office of Sustainability are partnered with 13 of the most prominent academic institutions in the country with a collective commitment to developing ‘cutting edge model operations’ and sharing solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Bonnie Bick, Maryland Forest Activist. “It would be shocking if the Ivy Plus Consortium decides to be complicit in GU's proposal to fragment and degrade the largest remaining forest in southern Maryland. What is their motivation? It would not seem to be a commitment to sustainability, which would be served by reinforcing the principle that solar facilities must be installed over surfaces that are already impervious.”
What: The GU Climate Injustice Town Hall is a collaborative effort between Georgetown University students and alumni, Charles County, MD residents, Indigenous Piscataway, and environmental organizations during the Georgetown Reunion 2019. Attend to learn more about the University’s solar project and why it should be relocated to an appropriate, non-forested site in consultation with the Piscataway people.
Date: Friday, May 31, 2019
Location: Old North Student Lounge, Georgetown University Main Campus (3700 O St. NW, Washington, DC 20037)
Speakers: Victoria Ma (NHS’17), Amy Richards (MPP’18), Neil Gormley (SFS’04), Bonnie Bick (Maryland forest activist), Valarie Proctor (Piscataway Conoy member), Anne Lewis (City Wildlife President), Emily Ranson (Clean Water Action Maryland Program Coordinator), Ari Eisenstadt (Audubon Naturalist Society DC Conservation Advocate), and more.
More details, including accessibility and remote viewing information, can be found here:https://www.facebook.com/events/2833777336846657/
About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.