Often people say how would statehood improve our daily lives here in the District (aside from the minor point of finally including us completely in the democratic process in the United States). Look at the District’s environment as an example…we have rivers and waterways that are degraded and polluted air while at the same time we have a great tree canopy and some of the most progressive environmental policies in the country. It’s not that we as a people don’t know the right thing to do it’s the fact that right now we have no oversight over federal agencies operating within our borders and no real leverage to enact change region wide. When 40% of our land is controlled by the federal government wouldn’t it be nice to have 2 Senators that can craft legislation and vote on legislation that has a bearing over how the Park Service manages its land or how GSA develops its properties. Two US Senators could be a great check and balance for how these federal lands and properties are managed so that they don’t adversely affect the District land, air, and water.
Yes, two US Senators representing us would have an oversight function over the federal agencies that operate in the District (New Columbia) but they’d also have the power to craft legislation with our neighbors in Virginia and Maryland so that we use our regional bonds to enact national legislation. Do we need another report on how to clean-up the Anacostia or do we need resonable and meaningful Congressional appropriations to ensure that projects in these plans actually get implemented?
Two Senators and a member of the House would give New Columbians advocates not just for our environment but protectors of our environment as presently we have no check over federal agencies that operate in over 40% of our land. Statehood is a path toward a better environment (provided we elect the right people, but that’s what democracy is all about).