City officials play favorites with Norfolk Southern resolution

City officials play favorites with Norfolk Southern resolution

To the editor:

Regarding your story, “Ethanol anxiety” (May 9), wherein Mayor Bill Euille and city officials expressed major concerns about Norfolk Southern’s proposed plan to increase ethanol transloading and not being notified, our local elected officials quickly voted on a resolution opposing the company’s plan.

Is this resolution really that important and necessary? There is no question that Norfolk Southern’s proposed plan to double its ethanol transloading might impact neighbors at Cameron Station and other residential properties. However, Norfolk Southern had been at this location for more than 20 years before Cameron Station and other condos and schools were built around it. Further, the Surface Transportation Assistance Act supersedes local law, and the city lost a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern about six years ago over the same issue.

The real question is why our elected officials so quickly decided that they must vote on a resolution for one neighborhood in Alexandria — Cameron Station — and overlook other neighborhoods in the West End that have to live with Washington Headquarters Services. Where was the outrage from our officials when it moved into the Mark Center? Why didn’t our Democratic mayor and all-Democratic city council — which supported the BRAC site selection — stand up for us?

Though Washington Headquarters Services is a federal government issue, our local elected officials should be concerned about those of us who have been impacted by the buildings. What about the health, welfare and safety of our community should any type of attack happen at the site, which faces Interstate-395?

Thanks must go to Don Buch, chair of the Cameron Station Civic Association and a member of the BRAC-133 advisory committee, who often raised the question about a possible terrorist attack and the impact it might have on our residential community.

I know many residents in the West End are concerned that not one member of the city council spoke out when Washington Headquarters Services moved into Mark Center. And yes, there were many West Enders, myself included, who supported Cameron Station residents when Norfolk Southern had problems several years ago.

But for Mayor Euille and city council to vote on a resolution opposing Norfolk Southern’s recent proposed plan to increase operations sends the message to the rest of us West End residents — and perhaps other city neighborhoods — that they don’t care about us; they are not concerned about our environmental issues along with our health, welfare and safety; and that we don’t count.
– Annabelle Fisher