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Kevin Diaz’s article “A Sewer Runs to It” (5/5) touched on the many challenges the city faces in addressing the ecological disaster caused by the spewing of more than 1 billion gallons of sewage every year into our rivers. There’s no question that the federal government, which owns around 40 percent of the land in D.C.—and is a major contributor to the sewage problem—must pay its fair share of the cleanup costs. Local rivers, especially the Anacostia, have been degraded for over a century, long before the District of Columbia even had a mayor.

But fairness is not limited to the basic principle of cleaning up what you mess up—the federal government has provided significant funding for cities such as Chicago (over $800 million), Providence, R.I. ($450 million), San Francisco ($425 million), and Minneapolis-St. Paul ($320 million). Surely Washington, D.C., host to the federal government, deserves the same or greater consideration.

Director of Health and Environment Programs

Friends of the Earth