Today you can breathe easier.
As many know all too well, Ward 5 is home to a significant number of auto paint spray booths. These businesses, in numerous instances, operate without the proper buffers, and given their proximity to residences, negatively impact the quality of air, water and soil for many of our neighbors.
Yesterday, I moved emergency legislation that will place a moratorium on the issuance of construction, operation and renewal permits for auto paint spray booths. The measure will go into effect immediately and provide much needed relief while the permanent version of this bill makes its way through the legislative process.
Since taking office, air quality has been a major policy focus of my legislative agenda. In addition to submitting letters and testifying in opposition to the issuance of paint spray booth permits, I authored two bills to hold producers of air toxins accountable. The “Air Quality Amendment Act of 2014” improves the District’s response to air quality complaints, develops criteria for determining when emissions interfere with residents’ quality of life, and raises penalties for violations. The “Solid Waste Facility Permit Amendment Act of 2014,” requires the District Department of the Environment and Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs to conduct quarterly inspections of each solid waste facility and ensures that the facilities close at 7:00 PM (3 hours earlier than before).
I want to thank Councilmember Mary Cheh, Chairperson of the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, as well as Councilmembers Anita Bonds and David Grosso, for co-introducing the legislation with me. Above all, I want to thank you, the residents, for your collaboration and tireless efforts to raise awareness of this issue. Together, we will not only improve the quality of air in Ward 5, but transform the quality of life across the District of Columbia.