By Norris McDonald
Below is my statement in support of the National Harbor regarding its water permit.
Good evening. My name is Norris McDonald and I am the founder and president of the African American Environmentalist Association. The African American Environmentalist Association, founded in 1985, is an environmental organization dedicated to protecting the environment, enhancing the human ecology, and promoting the efficient use of natural resources.
I have lived in Prince George’s County for 18 years. I have worked in the environmental field for 21 years. I was chairman of the Prince Georges County American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for two years. I taught a NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) course for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Graduate School in 1997. I am the author of comprehensive report on pollution in Washington, D.C. I also served on two governor-appointed environmental councils: 1) Maryland Advisory Council on Environmental and 2) the Potomac Middle Tributary Strategy Implementation Team.
AAEA supports the development of the National Harbor project. We support the project because it will provide maximal socioeconomic benefits with minimal environmental impacts. We believe that, like Washington, D.C. east of the Anacostia River, Prince George’s County lacks certain amenities that are clearly included in the National Harbor project. AAEA will continue to support relatively low-impact retail/commercial projects developed in a Brownfields context that serve to prevent sprawl. We also believe that this is the type of project Governor Parris N. Glendening had in mind in his Smart Growth and Brownfields initiatives.