River Terrace is across the street from the 77-acre Pepco plant that has been sitting on the north side of Benning Road NE for over a century. The peaking plant only operated a few weeks every year, but in 2007, Pepco Holdings announced that it would shut down the turbines and smokestacks entirely. Gurley had fought for closure of the generators since the 1970s. Gurley organized his own health assessment that found elevated levels of asthma, bronchitis, and cancer in the surrounding neighborhoods.
That prompted the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to do its own health assessment of the River Terrace neighborhood. The study found enough air pollution to aggravate existing health conditions, but concluded that it didn’t have enough data to blame the plant for the health conditions Gurley had found in the community. As federal bureaucracies are wont to do, it recommended further study. That never happened. And the District’s own arrangements with Pepco don’t require more investigation. After Gurley's death, there hasn’t been much discussion of the plant since then.