Kids-with-Thinking-Caps 2

AN OPEN MEETING 

Help Us Start to Organize the 2017 Root and Branch Revue

Activist Conference 

Saturday, September 10th

3-5pm 

Common Desk Co-Working Space 

633 West Davis in North Oak Cliff

If you could plan a conference for you and your peers to help train and motivate you as environmental activists in Texas, what speakers, events, forums, exhibits, panels, music, and/or art would you choose? 

Last year Downwinders brought Love Canal's own Lois Gibbs to DFW to be our featured guest at the very first Root and Branch Revue – a conference aimed specifically at training and educating DFW and Texas environmental activists. We also teamed up with the Young Turks at Bar Politcs to present the first evening of "environmental comedy" in DFW history, and hosted a panel on what fracking activists can do in the wake of new state restrictions on municipalities. 

Because of the elections, Downwinders has scheduled the next the next Root and Branch Revue for January 25-28, 2017. This time we're specifically focusing on "Citizen Science," through the lens of Environmental Justice. 

We're looking for DFW activists who want to help shape the content and format of this one-of-a-kind event, so we're opening up the planning process to everyone who's interested. This is our first public planning meeting. 

Bring your thinking caps and dreams. We need ideas for workshops, speakers, etc. for this "SXSW for activists." If you ever attendded a conference and wondered how you'd run things differently, now's your chance to put theory into practice. 

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Dakota pipeline protest 2

11 AM 

THIS FRIDAY, SEPT 2nd 

ENERGY TRANSFER HQ

8111 WESTCHESTER in DALLAS – by the N. Dallas Tollroad (map)

The American Indian Movement of Central Texas is sponsoring a protest in support of the increasingly high profile anti- pipeline protest in the Dakota Indian Country in Dallas this Friday. The event is co-sponsored by a host of local and state environmental groups, including Downwinders at Risk. 

If built, the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL), would pass under the Missouri River…twice. The pipeline threatens to contaminate the drinking water, crops and burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. 

Federal regulatory agencies quietly approved DAPL, which will transport Bakkan Shale crude oil from North Dakota through South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.

The Dallas connection? Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners is the pipeline's developer. 

You may already know Energy Transfer's CEO, Kelcy Warren. He bought the naming rights to the Dallas Deck park over Woodall Rogers that bears his son's name and is a big Jackson Browne fan. Show up and protest Before The Deluge. 

 

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Chris Turner 2State Representative Chris Turner, whose District 101 spans west Grand Prairie and east Arlington between Dallas and Fort Worth became the first state elected official to urge EPA to reject the current state anti-smog plan for DFW and substitute one of its own. 

In a letter to EPA Chief Gina McCarthy, Turner used language echoing the sentiments of US Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and Congressman Marc Veasey. 

"While I hope that the TCEQ will take the public comments it received by EPA, the Texas Medical Association, and others into consideration and require additional emissions controls in the final SIP revision it submits to EPA, I ask you to consider rejecting the state's plan use of a Federal Implementation Plan if your agency decides that the final SIP revision is insufficient and the state will not negotiate in good faith."

The entire letter can be read here.

Besides Johnson and Veasey's letters, Dallas County and the City of Dallas have voted in favor of resolutions condemning the currently proposed plan has being inadequate. More cities and counties are expected to pass similar resolutions as elected bodies come back from summer breaks. 

Members of the DFW Clean Air Network (DFW CAN) – Downwinders at Risk, the Sierra Club, Beyond Coal, the Texas Campaign for the Environment, Mansfield Gas Well Awareness and Livable Arlington – are also out and about obtaining letters like Turner's from other state and federal elected officials. 

Turner's district is directly downwind of the Midlothian cement plants and includes numerous natural gas wells and facilities. Gas sources are now the fourth largest contributor to DFW smog. 

According to EPA, the state plan arrived at the EPA's doorstep August 8th, but it's already DOA.

Although ozone season is far from over and it's been a relatively mild "season" so far, we know in its second full year out of the three years allotted for success, the state air plan will, at best, have brought down ozone levels by 1 ppb from 2015 levels, to 80 ppb. We're supposed to be at 75. 

The parrot is dead. We're just waiting for the state to admit it – or the EPA to shut the farce down. 

Meanwhile, the more political support on the ground in DFW for an EPA alternative that might actually reduce emissions from major sources in North Texas like gas, cement kilns, and coal plants, the more likely it is for the Agency to accept the challenge, and endure all the pushback from Austin it'll get if it decides to take over the job.

If you're interested in trying to get your city, county, or state or federal elected officials to join the band wagon and reject the state plan, write or call us and we'll work with you in getting something accomplished that can add to the momentum. 

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light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-train 2There's no better symbol of the anachronism that is Texas state government than the ineptly named Railroad Commission, or RRC. It has nothing to do with choo-choos, and everything to do with the State's oil and gas legacy. 

Or is it misnamed? Its innocuous title keeps it off a lot of citizens' radar screens while going about its business of shoving anyone or anything not in the oil and gas business around to make it more comfortable. Our drilling contaminating your water? You can to get the bottled stuff delivered. Our waste disposal causing earthquakes? You'll get used to it. Our air pollution causing your child's nosebleed? What's a couple of ER visits compared to our nation's energy security? Railroad? Yes – it's right there in our name. 

Instead of being appointed by the Governor, the three RRC commissioners are elected statewide…with the help of contributions from the oil and gas industry. This isn't the fox guarding the hen house. There are no hens left. 

This is why any review of the Commission, even one by the equally inept State Legislature, is a chance to get the word out about how god-awful the RRC is and what needs to be done to overhaul it. Beginning this month, that's what's happening, because 2017 is the year the Railroad Commission is getting "sunsetted" by the state.

Sunset laws demand that every state agency must come before the legislature and justify itself anew about every 12 years. Usually pro forma exercises, occasionally a terrible agency is allowed to die. Most have their missions amended or rules tweaked, or their names changed. this is how the "Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission," or, "TNRCC/"TRAINWRECK," became the "Texas Commission on Environmental Quality/"TCEK." After being postponed last session, it's the Railroad Commission's turn now. 

Tomorrow night's faux-official Town Hall meeting on the Railroad Commission being sponsored by Earthworks, Public Citizen and the Sierra Club is a kind of milk run for the more important job of testifying in front of state legislators in Austin later in the month, on the 22nd. Attend to find out how you can use this process to gain more publicity for its terrible record, and perhaps be able to actaully tweak the system to be more citizen-friendly.

Texas Railroad Commission Town Hall

Tuesday, August 2

Grapevine Convention Center

1209 Main St.

(located off 114 and Main St. exit)

Registration:  6:30 pm 

Program: 7:00 pm

 

Texas Railroad Commission Public Testimony at the Capitol

Monday, August 22

For more information on the whole process, talk to Rita Beving with Public Citizen and the Sierra Club,   214.557.2271

 

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Bob  2It's only July, but midway through its second year, we already know the state's air "plan" for DFW has once again failed to obtain compliance with the current 75 parts per billion ozone standard.

Last year the regional peak went from 80 to 81 ppb based on a rolling three-year average of readings from the Denton monitor. Even though we've only had one or two awful ozone weeks this year so far, those were enough to establish a 2016 Denton monitor average of 80 ppb going into what are tradtionally the smoggier months of August and September. So two years in, the state's plan can do no better than get us back to where we started in 2014 – and might do considerably worse. 

Officially, the state's only hope for last-minute success is a drastic drop in smog at the Denton monitor next year in order to swing the three-year running average. Those hopes are hanging by a tailpipe with the scheduled introduction by the federal governement next summer of a new, lower-sulfur gasoline mixture for all U.S. cars and trucks. Austin's "plan," such as it is, is to ride the coattails of that change in gasoline formula in hopes its widespread use will significantly lower smog numbers thoughout DFW. 

EPA agrees with Texas that they'll be a decline in vehicle-generated smog due to the new gas mix. However, it disagrees that it alone will be able to bring DFW into compliance with the Clean Air Act by the end of ozone season in 2017. At this point, the Denton monitor would have to have a 2017 fourth-highest reading of 64 ppb or lower to come in at a running average of 75 ppb. Not impossible, but it requires an unprecedented 10-11 ppb annual drop from the current average, much less the higher one that August or September might deliver.

The state can keep saying the clock is still ticking on their plan, but the numbers are already in, and they aren't cooperating. 

This kind of math is the reason why Downwinders, the Sierra Club and other groups are requesting EPA to reject the state plan that now has arrived at its doorstep. It's the reason both Dallas County and the City of Dallas passed resolutions requesting the same, and the reason why both Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and Congressman Marc Veasey wrote a letter directly to EPA asking that the agency step in and do the job the state will not do. 

Rejection of the bad state plan is the necessary first step in setting the stage for a more comprehensive EPA plan – one that would include all the large sources of smog pollution affecting DFW that have been untouched by state air plans over the last decade: like the oil and gas industry, the Midlothian cement kilns, and the East Texas coal plants. 

We're tired of failure. We've experienced 25 years of it. We're experiencing it again this year. If you're tired of dirty air too, please contact us about how your city and county can pass a resolution asking the EPA to reject the state's plan and start writing one that will actually work. 

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Group Picture CSC meeting 2

(Half of these people represent industry. Half are environmentalists. Can't tell which ones? That's a good thing.)

Should a bag of concrete be like an organic banana or a new chair made out of recycled wood and get "certified" as being responsibly-sourced, or "sustainable?" And if so, what's the criteria for making such a judgment, and who's making it?

Those are the complicated questions at the heart of a new worldwide initiative by the concrete/cement industry to come up with a way to sell its products in a more environmentally-friendly way.  

After a couple of years of working on a scoring scheme, the mostly European-based intra-company group (LaFarge/Holcim, Heidelburg, CEMEX) charged with designing the system was ready to unveil it to the international environmental community for the first time in mid-July at a small meeting in Gland, Switzerland, headquarters of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, whose staff facilitated the review process. IUCN had performed the same function for the aluminum industry when it went through a similar "green" self-examination. 

Nine different environmental groups from at least seven different countries (Britain, Bulgaria, China, India, Lebanon, Switzerland) spent three days assessing and critiquing the industry's proposal – including the lone representative from the U.S., Downwinders at Risk's Jim Schermbeck. Participants not only met during the day, but ate together, and stayed in the same lone hotel in the small, outlying suburb of Geneva.  Inside the meeting room, discussions were often frank, funny, and awkward. Outside, conversations ran the gamut, from architecture, to vacation trips, to Texas BBQ. 

It's not a surprise that the concrete/cement business wants its relatively messy business to be seen through green-tinted glasses. Old timers will recall the burning of hazardous waste in Midlothian cement plants was relabeled "recycling" in the 1980's and 90's.  

But this time around, the pressure is not necessarily to greenwash the transformation of a cement kiln into a waste incinerator, but to give an environmental patina to the final product, concrete, so that it can compete in the marketplace with building materials that already have their own green certification schemes up and running. 

In other words, there appears to be new market pressure on the industry to "go green." Wood and Aluminum all now have their own systems for doing so. Concrete/Cement is lagging behind because it can't point to such a system. They want everyone from a construction site manager to a do-it-yourselfer to ask for "certified concrete" in the same way customers want wood that wasn't cut from a rainforest habitat, and aluminum made with Bauxite that wasn't mined at the expense of indigenous peoples.

Congratulations. Consumer demand for green products is so great that even the conservative cement/concrete industry feels the need to respond. 

But that's also not news to North Texans. Certainly one reason Downwinders had a seat at the table in Switzerland was our pioneering Green Cement campaign of 2006-2011 which used government procurement policies to reward less polluting Midlothian cement kilns and punish the dirtier plants. That was the first time the marketplace for cement had been used toward greener ends in the US.

While that local effort looked exclusively at the differences in air pollution impacts from the Midlothian cement kilns, this new initiative starts at the limestone quarry, includes the aggregate industry (sand and gravel) goes through the cement kiln, and then continues all the way to the concrete batch plant and the bag of Sakrete at the store. It looks at impacts to water supply and quality, air quality, energy use, climate change, and local populations at each of these stops along the product cycle. 

Much of the energy behind the initiative seems to come from a new generation of European industry representatives who've grown up with a different sensibility that takes green values for granted. More than one environmentalist noted a more open and questioning tone to the back and forth conversations. Whether this new attitude can be sustained and allowed to flow into real policy changes, is of course, the acid test of this first round, which must be finished for a pitch to the CEOs of the major industry players in December. Apparently the bosses are not entirely sold on the idea of needing such a certification at all, and, at times the whole idea had the air of being a kind of end-run around the Establishment by some Young Turks, albeit, corporately-backed. 

And there are some very large challenges that could sabotage any good intentions, primarily, the continued reliance on burning wastes for the substantial fuel needs of a cement kiln. As much as kilns have modernized, making cement still involves cooking rock at very high temperatures provided by a very hot, continuous flame. Something has to fuel that flame day after day, year after year. Just buying the fuel for that flame represents as much as 60% of the operating costs of a cement plant.

This is why companies are always looking for ways to cut those energy costs: by turning themselves into incinerators and charging generators to burn their toxic wastes, by getting subsidies from government to burn wastes like tires, by getting refuse from other industries which would otherwise have to pay to have them hauled away. In terms of large PR problems, none loom larger than the inherent one that goes with the introduction of burning wastes in the local kiln. That's how Downwinders got our start. 

But because of the volume of fuel needed as well as the required high temperatures, there are only so many kinds of things a kiln can practically burn. Midlothian kilns began by burning natural gas. If you're only looking at the end result of the flame, and not how the gas got here, it's still probably the cleanest source of fuel. Then there's coal, which is a no-go fuel in 2016 for all kinds of reasons. After that you get to wastes. Even if it doesn't have a permit to burn "hazardous" wastes, a kiln still can burn things like carpet pieces, plastics, shingles, and car "fluff." These are all materials that can release toxic air pollution when burned. Finally there's biomass – wood refuse, agricultural waste, or fuel crops themselves like sawgrass. Originally supported universally by environmentalists, these choices now have climate consequences that make them less desirable. 

These are not easy choices for industry….or environmentalists. Schermbeck made the offer to industry to sit down and work on an agreed "hierarchy" of wastes that would establish minimum high BTU value and low toxicity levels, as the group had done over a decade ago with TXI in a private mediation process that never panned out, but showed vast differences in fuel characteristics. At last word, the offer was being mulled over by industry along with all the other suggestions made by environmentalists. By October we should know how first round of assessment has changed the scheme – or not. Then another round of feedback from the environmental community, and a final decision by the end of the year. 

At stake is the potential to connect environmental progress and profit-making within one of the most environmentally-disruptive industries around. To establish performance floors, raise best practices, set new precedents. There are large risks and opportunities for both sides. 

Besides being close to the corporate headquarters of most of the major companies invovled, and home of the IUCN, Switizerland seemed the appropriate place for this first-time gathering for another reason. At the end, everyone arrived at as if on the edge of a metaphorical mountain precipice with a sizable, but not insurmountable gap separating where the industry is now, from where it needed to be. Whether that gap can be bridged any time soon remains to be seen. But the meeting in Gland was a good keystone to put in place for any future span designed for the job.

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Greetings From Switzerland - FistIn recognition of its two-decade leadership on the issue, Downwinders at Risk is being asked to send a representative to an international conference on cement industry sustainability issues in Switzerland scheduled for mid-July.

Around 30 participants are gathering July 12-14 on the shores of Lake Geneva in Gland, Switzerland at the headquarters of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), including environmentalists from Lebanon, India, Britain, the Philippines, and Germany. Their job is to evaluate a kind of sustainable Good Housekeeping Seal the cement industry would like to use to implement uniform "best practices." Downwinders at Risk Director Jim Schermbeck will be the only US participant. 

It's another giant step for a group with no DC or Austin office. A group founded, and still run, by volunteer DFW residents. A group with the ambitious aim of using its local campaigns to leverage national, or even international progress on the way to making DFW air cleaner. 

"I'm going to do my best to represent our supporters, as well as all US cement community activists in this process, and I'm deeply honored to have the chance to do so on such a large, important stage," said Schermbeck, who admitted he blew-off the first invitation he received from conference organizers because he didn't think it was a serious proposal, and of course, he and the group could never afford to pay for such a thing anyway. When a persistent IUCN staffer sent a follow-up email and said it was the intent of the group to cover the travel and hotel costs, Schermbeck says "They had my attention." 

Cement plants annually produce approximately 5-7% of humankind's CO2 pollution – more than the aviation industry – and have become platforms for a variety of carbon-capture, carbon removal, or lower carbon production technologies. But cement plants also affect land use, energy use, water quality, and as DFW residents know first hand, local air quality. 

A consortium of European-based cement corporations are trying to figure out what a more sustainable cement industry looks like on all these fronts. They've invited the IUCN to facilitate the "Concrete Sustainability Council Stakeholder Consultation Meeting," an in-person review of their self-generated assessment by NGO groups from around the world who've been coping with environmental and public health issues caused by the operations of cement kilns. It's the first conference of its kind. And Downwinders at Risk will be there. 

Begun in 1994 as a group fighting to end the burning of hazardous waste in 1960's cement kilns in Midlothian, just across the Dallas and Tarrant County lines, Downwinders has researched, debated, and agitated every kind of impact coming from the machines that produce the glue that holds our buildings and streets together. From "alternative fuels" operators love to burn for the money it saves and/or makes them on the front end, to the toxic characteristics of Cement Kiln Dust left at the back end, Downwinders has been there. We created the nation's largest, most comprehensive "good neighbor agreement" with a local cement plant. We got the nation's first "green cement" procurement ordinances passed. We're on the brink of bringing a whole new generation of more modern pollution controls for cement kilns to the US.  That's the track record we're bringing to the proceedings in Switzerland. 

That history has given us a reputation as a national, and now international, leader in the struggle to bring an entire industrial sector into the 21st-century kicking and screaming. Can you think of a better environmental success story coming out of DFW in the last 20 years than the rise to prominence and influence of Downwinders at Risk? 

Our costs for this trip are covered, so we will not be asking you to donate to Downwinders for that purpose. But please think about what this international invitation adds to the list of our 2016 accomplishments so far, capped-off most recently with an astonishing 15-0 vote by the Dallas City Council to tell the State of Texas to get a better clean air plan for DFW. It's victories like that that get us invitations like this. 

Don't contribute to us today because we need it for this trip to Switzerland. Contribute to us today because we've earned it.

Thanks for your continued support. We couldn't have made it this long, or to Switzerland, without you. 

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IMG_0852Was it something in the air? Or maybe your emails in their mailboxes?

Sandy Greyson, supported by a citizens army, pulled off the unthinkable and delivered a rousing 15-0 endorsement from the Dallas City Council for her resolution calling for a better smog clean-up plan for DFW than the one the state is currently pursuing. 

Despite last-minute objections from coal plant operator Luminant and the Oil and Gas industry lobbying groups, Greyson wrangled the entire city council into agreeing the region can do better than a hands-off approach to major industrial polluters. Dallas County voted in support of a similar resolution in May. 

It wasn't quite lions laying down with lambs, but it was close. She secured the votes of stalwart green council members Scott Griggs, Philip Kingston, and Adam Medrono, as well as council conservatives Jenifer Staubach-Gates, Lee Kleinman, Rickey Callahan, and Adam McGough. Southern Dallas members found common ground with their North Dallas peers. Trinity toll road opponents and supporters who don't even speak to each other all spoke in praise of Greyson and the resolution. 

It wasn't just the final tally, as impressive an accomplishment as that is, that was shocking. It was all the different succinct points of view used to justify the resolution's passage. Philip Kingston berated the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for having morphed into an Orwellian institution, where "Freedom is Slavery, and Smog is Clean AIr." Lee Kleinman cited conservative economic principles to conclude "when a business takes clean air and makes it dirty, it should pay." Carolyn Arnold spoke to her disillusionment with the state over the Columbia meat-packing facility. Jenifer Staubach-Gates' decision was informed by her background as a school nurse. 

As the last speaker before the historic vote, Mayor Mike Rawlings gave as good a summary of the tough position the current state strategy is putting local governments as you will hear.  Dallas is stuck in the middle of "a game of chicken" between an inadequate plan from Austin and the requirements of the Clean Air Act. And the intent of the resolution is to put an end to that game and get serious about developing a practical cost-effective way to get clean air. It was the discussion's drop-the-mic moment.

There was also a marked diversity among citizens showing-up at City Hall to speak in favor of the resolution. Latino, black and white citizens joined ranks. Usual suspects Sierra Club, Texas Campaign for the Environment, and Downwinders at Risk, were joined by Mansfield Gas Well Awareness, as well new neighborhood group, West Dallas 1. Despite pre-vote visits and letters, no opponents of the resolution signed-up to speak. 

If you ever doubted your emails to city council have an impact, this vote is proof-positive they do. Mayor Rawlings described the campaign leading up to the resolution's passage as a  "textbook example" of how citizens and policymakers can craft progress on important issues, specifically calling out the hundreds of emails he and the rest of the council received, and the methodical process supporters pursued.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to send an email or make or call. You helped make this good thing happen. Everyone gets an "A" in Citizenship this month.

A win in the non-attainment area's largest city would have given the proponents of a new air plan confidence going into other North Texas communities in search of similar resolutions. A 15-0 vote from Dallas turbocharges that effort. This is a strong signal that local governments need to act, regardless of ideology, to protect their own self interests. It will be heard throughout the region by other Mayors and elected officials. 

Where do we go next? Good question. Local officials are talking amongst themselves to decide where similar resolutions should be introduced next, but let us know if you're interested in helping us pass one in your city or county. 

And, look, if you think this was a worthwhile thing, that we made some kind of progress today, then won't you please consider dropping $25 or more in the tip jar?

We win these victories with scant resources, that are, frankly, scantier these days. We want to keep rolling. Help us keep the wheels greased.  DONATE HERE. 

Thanks. Onward thru the smog. 

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scales of air

Rally in Support of Clean Air 

Tomorrow- Wednesday, June 15

9:30 AM   City Hall flag Room 

5th floor at Dallas City Hall, 1500 Marilla 

Speakers Include: 

Lon Burnam, Former Texas State Representative

Ronnie Mestas, President of West Dallas One

Sonja Cooper and Adenike Higgins, asthma patients

Cherelle Blazer, Sierra Club Beyond Coal  

If DFW is to have any chance of meeting federal smog standards before the end of this decade, it must have a better plan to clean the air than the one being currently proposed by the State of Texas. 

To get that better plan, local governments must tell the state and EPA to go back to the drawing board and cut pollution from all major industrial sources, including the Midlothian cement kilns, huge natural gas compressors, and the East Texas coal plants. According to the state's own data and modeling, cutting pollution from these major source is a cost-effective strategy which can significantly lower smog levels in DFW. 

On Wednesday the Dallas city council is voting on a resolution that tells the State of Texas and EPA we must do better than another 25 years of failure. It urges the state and federal government to get serious about cutting pollution from major sources. Reportedly, Luminant, (the old TXU), assisted by the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, is attempting to persuade the City Council to reject the clean air resolution based on its call for modern controls on the aging East Texas coal plants Luminant operates. 

As of today, we don't have a reliable vote count. We must not take support for granted. Please join us tomorrow morning at City Hall to rally for clean air to breathe 365 days a year.

Sign up to speak to the council in favor of the clean air resolution by calling the City Secretary's office (214-670-3738) and telling them you want to speak for "Item 12" on the consent agenda. If you don't sign up before tomnorrow, you won't get to speak. Talking points are in this post. 

This may be the most important clean air vote the City Council makes all year. It can create momentum for other cities to pass similar resolutions. It can send Austin and Washington a powerful message. But we need your help to make it happen. 

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lacing up boxing gloves copyOnly 48 hours after the single worst day for DFW smog since 2013, coal plant operator Luminant reportedly began a lobbying campaign to scuttle Sandy Greyson's Dallas city council clean air resolution requesting a better anti-smog plan. 

As a result, Item #12 “A resolution authorizing the City of Dallas to communicate its positions and requests regarding the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's (TCEQ's) proposed State Implementation Plan for the Dallas-Fort Worth Region ozone pollution to the State of Texas, the TCEQ, and other agencies” is expected to be pulled from Wednesday’s unanimous voice-vote “consent agenda” and placed in line with other items generating discussion and dissent. It may be a long day – and that's exactly what the resolution opponents want in order to wear us down. 

Luminant was said to be contacting city council members over the weekend, reportedly with the assistance of representatives of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce. In the past the company has stated it objects to the costs of installing the kind of modern anti-smog controls, referenced by the city’s resolution, at its three aging East Texas coal plants, despite their large smog-causing emissions. We don't know how successful the company's lobbying has been, or how much trouble the resolution is in. 

If you're mad about this news, good. Here's what we need you to do: 

1. If you haven't already, please follow this link and send a "click and send" ready-to-go email to all 15 Dallas city council members urging them to vote for the clean air resolution. You can add your own language at the bottom if you want. 

2. Please sign up to speak in favor of clean air and the resolution on Wednesday

You must call the City Secretary''s office at 214-670-3738 to reserve a 3 minute speaking slot. Make sure you sign up for Item #12 on the consent agenda. If you don't sign-up in advance, you won't get to speak up on Wednesday!

We need to be there beginning at 9am, but we don't know how soon the resolution will come up in the agenda now. We know this makes it inconvenient. Again – not by accident. We've outlasted them before. We need to do it again.

3. Emphasize these Talking Points in your emails and speaking on Wednesday

  • All the air pollution control measures referenced in the city's clean air resolution are currently available, off-the-shelf technology, already in use in the world, US, and even Texas. Nothing exotic. Nothing experimental. There are coal plants and cement kilns with catalytic converters. There are already electric compressors. The resolution says only that the state should consider applying these technologies uniformly  – to ALL major industrial sources affecting DFW air quality. 

  • All the air pollution measures referenced in the city's clean air resolution are among the most cost-effective that can be taken, costing a small fraction of other measures already adopted. Putting controls on the coal plans and kilns costs $2-3,000 per ton of smog-forming pollution removed vs state programs spending $10-13,000 per ton. It's cheaper to prevent pollution at a dozen or so smokestacks than millions of tailipipes. 

  • Most smaller Dallas businesses are already heavily-regulated for emissions because they're located within the DFW "non-attainment area," for smog, while the East Texas coal plants creating a huge chunk of that smog continue to be exempt from the same kind of regulations because they're located 90-100 miles outside the non-attainment area. They have more impact, but less regulation. That's not fair to Dallas-based businesses, or DFW''s seven million residents. We need small business owners to say the Chamber and Luminant doesn't speak for all of the Dallas business community.

  • The costs of installing new controls are small compared to the economic and public health costs of not installing them. Dr. Robert Haley's recent study for the Dallas County Medical Society concluded a drop of just 5 ppb in North Texas smog levels could save $650,000,000 in lost economic growth, and prevent hundreds of ER admissions, and 100 premature deaths – EVERY YEAR. 

  • Luminant is taking the position that their three old coal plants are more important than the health of 1.2 million Dallas residents, and the other 5.5 million DFW citizens who breathe dirty air. The company is asking the Dallas City Council to place its interests above everyone else's.

  • DFW has been in continual violation of the Clean Air Act for smog since 1991. Our childhood asthma rates are higher than the state OR national average. EPA has already said the current plan doesn't do enough to lower smog levels to meet the federal standard. But opponents of the resolution have no alternative. They want the City of Dallas to sit on its hands and do nothing about 25 years of chronic smog – no matter how many people are affected by bad air. Does the City of Dallas really want to send the message that it doesn't care about clean air only a week before it hosts its own "Clean AIr Action Day" event at City Hall Plaza next Friday? 

Some critics of these resolutions have argued they're only symbolic requests for cleaner air,  and don't mean that much, or carry that much weight. If Luminant's reported response is any indication, it thinks this resolution is a threat to plans to sell-off those aging coal plants as part of its parent company's bankruptcy.  We must be doing something right to engender this kind of alleged opposition from North Texas' King of Coal. 

CHAPPs study result copy 2

DON'T LET BIG COAL WIN THIS FIGHT

 

SEND YOUR EMAILS

SPEAK UP IN SUPPORT OF CLEAN AIR – Call the City Secretary and Register to speak on Wednesday

THIS WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15th  

9 AM DALLAS CITY HALL   1500 MARILLA

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Results of 6-7-16Yesterday was the single worst day for DFW smog in the last three years.

Seven monitoring sites stretching from central Dallas to Weatherford saw hourly averages of 90+ parts per billion. Three sites in Arlington, Northwest Fort Worth and Keller saw levels reach 100 + ppb. Two of those sites saw hourly levels climb to 113 ppb. To give you some idea of how bad that is, the original dreadful, obsolete standard during the 1980's and early 90's was 125 ppb in a single hour. We probably came within an hour or two of reaching a level of air pollution at not one, but two sites yesterday that would have exceeded a 40-year old smog standard. 

14 out of the 20 DFW monitors recorded average ozone "exceedences" that violated the current 75 ppb 8-hour standard (what you see above). Two sites saw 8-hour averages of 95 ppb, the worst showing since September 2013.

It became a hazard to breathe for hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of DFW residents, yesterday afternoon. South Arlington residents experienced unhealthy levels of air pollution from 12 noon to 7 pm. In Keller it was 2  to 7 pm. 

The good news? It could have been worse. The only thing preventing even higher numbers was the changing wind direction in mid-day. Monitors located in Dallas were recording high smog levels in the morning and lunchtime from northerly winds, but then they turned east and the pollution headed west, raising smog levels across broad swaths of Tarrant, Johnson, and Parker Counties. Had the wind been coming from the east all day, you would have seen the numbers those monitors reached at 2 -5 pm happen sooner, with more room to grow. 

Wednesday also looks to be a bad day, as does the rest of the week of full-bore summer sunshine. Bad as they were, none of yesterday's exceedences actually count as a Clean Air Act violation…yet. It takes four bad days where the 8-hour average exceeds the 75 ppb standard over the course of the ozone season to make a violation. Regulators only use the fourth highest smog level recorded at each site to determine the annual average and whether an area is meeting the Clean Air Act standard (you can keep track of those here). Yesterday, nine monitors recorded their first exeedence of the year. Only three more to go. 

However, the region's current reigning bad air champ, the Denton airport monitor, uncharacteristically remained out of harm's way and saw levels barely above the 75 ppb standard in mid-afternoon. It'll have it's chance. Summer is only beginning. 

Purple! 5-7-16Tuesday's smog attack put an exclamation point in front of next Wednesday's Dallas City Council scheduled vote on Councilwoman Sandy Greyson's air quality resolution rejecting the current state plan – ain't it working out swell!? – in favor of a plan to eliminate days like yesterday. 

Greyson's resolution requesting a new and better clean air plan, as well as the staff presentation that provided background information, can be reviewed here. It's similar in content to one passed earlier in May by Dallas County. 

Supporters can sign-up to speak for 3 minutes each when it comes up on the agenda and as always, we'll have plenty of lapel pins with the DFW Clean Air Network logo on them so you can non-verbally support the resolution as well. 

If you want to speak at the Council meeting in favor of clean air, please contact the City Secretary beginning at 8:15 am tomorrow, Thursday, June 9th at (214) 670-3738 to reserve a 3-minute speaking slot  or Item #12 on the "consent agenda." 

Consent agendas are tricky things. They require complete unanimity  among all 15 council members and are usually reserved for the most benign, non-controversial subjects. So at first glance, it's a good thing our resolution is on the list because it implies support from all 15 members.

But, and it's a big but….any member who doesn't agree it should be on the consent agenda can ask that it be taken off and placed in the "Items for Individual Consideration" bin – kind of like going to the back of the line and waiting for all the other business to get done before re-visiting the matter. 

If there's industry opposition, or any opposition for that matter, it would give a council member an excuse to take it off the consent agenda and send it to the back of the line in hopes us cooling our heels and losing speakers as the day wears on. And it only takes one council member disagreeing to do so. This is why we need you to send emails to ALL 15 council members.

Since it's on the consent agenda, at least for now, it'll be among the first orders of business next Wednesday. Supporters need to show up at 9 am sharp.

Dallas passing this resolution would mean that the most populous city in the DFW "non-attainment area" for smog is rejecting the anti-science "do-nothing" approach of the State and demanding a better strategy to actually clean up chronic air pollution. 

That's exactly the kind of statement local governments have to send EPA in order for the federal agency to screw-up enough courage and reject the current state proposal in favor of something better. 

And after yesterday, is there anyone outside of Austin who believes we don't need something better? 

Dallas City Council Clean Air Vote 

Wed. June 15th  9am

Dallas City Hall 1500 Marilla 

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1children.cheering

 

SEND A "CLICK N SEND" EMAIL TO ALL 15 DALLAS CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS URGING THEM TO VOTE FOR CLEANER AIR IN JUNE

By a vote of 5 to 1 the City of Dallas moved closer to joining Dallas County in repudiating the State's do-nothing DFW clean air plan and demanding something better.

It was the second vote in less than a month to condemn an anti-smog strategy the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality claims gets DFW "close enough" to the current federal standard, but is criticized by clean air advocates as inadequate to end the region's chronic bad air problem.

In April U.S. Congressional Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson and Marc Veasey asked the EPA to reject the State plan and write its own.

Council members Mark Clayton, Philip Kingston, Tiffini Young, and Rickey Callahan backed a wide-ranging air quality resolution sponsored by Quality of Life Committee Chair Sandy Greyson. Casting the lone no vote was Adam McGough

Greyson's resolution cites the EPA's conclusion "that the latest air quality State Implementation Plan (SIP) proposed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is not adequate to address the (the region's) ozone concentrations"

One reason given for the inadequacy is the plan doesn't touch major sources of air pollution affecting DFW including the East Texas coal plants, the Midlothian cement kilns and oil and gas facilities. The resolution specifically requests the state to follow the prescription laid out by UNT's landmark 2015 DFW ozone study, itself based on the State's own computer air model by adding off-the shelf control technology to those industrial sources.

Besides rejecting the state's plan, the resolution also takes issue with the State's assertion that lowering smog levels won't improve public health by specifically adding a provision stating "…studies have shown a direct correlation between health issues, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and higher levels of ozone…"

It also calls for more renewable energy, net metering and an endorsement of the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan – a  2016 Dallas Omnibus Air Quality resolution. 

Nobody had anything nice to say about the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and Councilman Philip Kingston was particularly pointed in his criticisms. During a discussion about Dallas taking  on some of TCEQ's enforcement duties, Kingston explained why the City preferred to to it themselves, rather than leave it up to the State: "Because they do the same thing with that responsibility as they do with all their responsibilities – they ignore them." Amen.

Texas Gov makes us sick

The resolution now goes to the full Dallas City Council for a final vote at one of two meetings before the summer break – either June 15th or June 22nd. Stay tuned for details. 

Meanwhile, RIGHT NOW  – you can send a quick e-mail toall 15 Dallas City Council members asking them to vote for the Greyson air quality resolution when it shows up on their doorstep. You can add a message of your own if you want. 

CLICK HERE TO TELL THE DALLAS CITY COUNCIL 

TO VOTE FOR CLEANER AIR 

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avalanche giphySmall stuff adds up.

Thousands of gas wells, pipelines, storage tanks, compressors, and other pieces of infrastructure in oil and gas patches, which individually don't emit the huge volumes of air pollution coming from a single cement kiln or a coal plant can, when combined, easily total tonnage larger than both. 

And that's what has happened in DFW over the last decade. As the Barnett Shale boom crept further into the region's "non-attainment" area" for smog, all the air pollution from all those thousands of individual sources begin adding up and having an impact on air quality.

While other large sources were actually decreasing their pollution, the oil and gas sector was going the opposite direction. It ballooned. To the point where it's now the fourth largest category of air pollution in that "non-attainment area."  The three sources that outrank it? 1. All vehicles on the road. 2. All vehicles off-the-road, and, 3."area sources" a catch-all term including everything from backyard BBQs to small paint shops, and probably some oil and gas sources itself.  Oil and Gas air pollution is, by volume, now the largest source of industrial air pollution in the North Texas area, exceeding the Midlothian cement kilns, local power plants (now all gas-fired), and large manufacturing plants like the GM truck and SUV factory in Arlington. Only the East Texas coal plants emit more and their 90-100 miles outside the nonattainment boundary (another problem that needs fixing). 

At the same time oil and gas air pollution rose from Barnett Shale development, DFW smog levels, which had been declining, began to plateau. For a decade now the annual smog average has hovered on either side of 85 parts per billion (ppb) – the obsolete 1997 standard that we were supposed to reach in the early Oughts. We were at 86 ppb of smog in 2008 and we're now at 83 ppb. 

Look at the chart below, generated by the North Texas Council of Governments. In 2007 DFW had 45 "exceedence days". In 2015, DFW had 44 "exceedence days." There's a very good case to be made that oil and gas air pollution has prevented DFW from making the kind of air quality progress it might have otherwise made without that burden. 

Ozone DVS COG 98-2015

For the last five years, the State of Texas has been on a mission to deny any link at all between the oil and gas industry in the Barnett Shale and DFW smog. It's gone out of its way to hide the real volumes of pollution emitted by these sources, as well as avoiding or downplaying the significance to regional air quality of decreases in that pollution. That's not hyperbole, it's the record. 

In looking ahead with its proposed DFW air plan now in the pipeline, the State has predicted that a drop in the number of new wells in the Shale will equal a drop in the amount of air pollution coming from O&G sources. Sounds logical doesn't it? Yet the industry's own text books say that it ain't necessarily so. 

A drop in new wells is the tip of the O&G iceberg in DFW. Just because there were no new wells drilled last month doesn't mean there's no new pollution being released this month. Some 20,000 wells, almost 1000 large compressors, untold thousands of smaller compressors, millions of gallons of storage capacity, miles of pipelines – these all continue to operate and emit huge amounts of air pollution 24/7.

And when production-per-well drops, and the densest parts of the patch begin to play out, as is occurring now in the Barnett, investors don't usually go with the flow. They want to increase the flow. And so they install more "lift compressors" to squeeze every last molecule of gas they can out of a well. These compressors, powered by gas or diesel, increase air pollution. Not by a lot by themselves, but when you start putting them together, by the thousands, then yeah, they have an impact. And so, even when O&G production is declining, you can have increases in O&G air pollution. 

Downwinders at Risk and the Sierra Club made this argument in our comments about the state's plan, providing sources from industry to show exactly how this has taken place plenty of times before. We told Austin it was underestimating the impact of O&G air pollution – again. The State dismissed our concerns and said no problem. 

3306TA_2

Which brings us to Mansfield in Tarrant County, scene of the last pre-HB40 gas ordinance fight in the state. 

Last week, there was a small headline in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram a lot of people probably ignored. It concerned a routine variance to zoning code being requested by (notorious) gas well operator EagleRidge. At issue was whether the company could keep using gas powered lift compressors instead of electric-powered ones as the city's year-old ordinance required. EagleRidge made an argument in favor of the variance which sounded very familiar to some of us….

EagleRidge first noticed a dramatic decline in natural gas production at 15 of its wells last year, as it went from 8 million to 2.5 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Low natural gas prices, trading about $2.10 per British thermal unit Monday, could make the wells economically unfeasible, according to Mark Grawe, executive vice president of EagleRidge.

That prompted EagleRidge to try a new strategy, using small gas lift compressors that increase production on the wells. Last year, Mansfield granted a six-month variance to allow the compressors on a trial basis.

Grawe said the compressors have already improved production on three of the wells, but addition tests are needed on EagleRidge’s other wells.

Eagle Ridge got its variance. And besides the three lift compressors it's operating on the site now, at least two to three more or expected, and all of those might one day be replaced by two giant-sized compressors. And, Eagle Ridge told the council, it's experience in Mansfield will be repeated at "hundreds of wells in Southeast Tarrant County" that have also seen declining production. 

Eagle Ridge's ratio was approximately one lift compressor for every two wells. There are 15 wells as part of this one variance, "hundreds" in SE. Tarrant County waiting their turn, and 20,000 more throughout the part of the Barnett Shale in the DFW non-attainment area for smog. That's thousands and thousands more lift compressors emitting lots more air pollution even as Barnett Shale production is declining  – and most will be located in cities or counties where there's not even a requirement for electric power to get a variance from. In other words, this is exactly the scenario Downwinders and the Sierra Club warned about in their comments, but which the state dismissed. 

That's in addtion to the thousands of lift compressors already located in DFW, the exact number and location of which are unknown to EPA and Texas because they don't require indivdual permits. Austin "estimates" the total amount by using, you guessed it, production numbers. Here'a map from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality guestimating where all those existing lift compressors are now: 

2_DFW_Wells_Oil_Gas copy

If you think there might be a correlation between O&G pollution and stagnating DFW smog levels, what's the answer? It's pretty straight-forward. Stricter emission standards for all equipment, leak detection, electrification of large and small compressors. These are all things the industry is either doing in fits and starts in North Texas and elsewhere, or being required by the new EPA methane rules, but they're not being applied across the board in the Barnett Shale, or they don't apply to existing facilities, or both.

Who's going to make that happen? Local governments were doing some of it – up until the passage of HB40. For example, Dallas, Mansfield,  and other cities required electric-powered compressors and state-of-the-art leak detection. But that's off the table, as is any action from Austin. That leaves the EPA as the one regulatory entity that could, if it wanted, impose uniform emission standards on all O&G facilities in the 10-county non-attainment area, including Denton, Johnson, Parker, Tarrant, and Wise counties. It could do so as part of it's own anti-smog plan for the region. 

But before it can start writing its own plan, the EPA must first reject the state's. And for it to do that we must give the EPA the political support it needs to stand up to the backlash from Austin you know will come. Thus the need for resolutions from DFW cities and counties asking the EPA to reject the State plan. Thus the need to show-up this coming Monday morning at City Hall and support an effort by Dallas City Councilwoman Sandy Greyson to have the City of Dallas join Dallas County in calling for EPA intervention in DFW air quality:  9am Room 6ES, Quality of Life Committee.

Don't let the Mansfield variance become the regional template. 

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Charge-of-the-Light Brigade

GET OUT OF YOUR RUT AND JOIN THE FIGHT!

MONDAY, MAY 23rd 

9am  Dallas City Hall 

1500 Marilla   Downtown Dallas

Room 6ES (6th Floor, South) 

Dallas City Council's Quality of Life Committee Considers/Votes

on the DFW AIR QUALITY RESOLUTION 

 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 25th

7:30 am – 10 am

Morton Meyerson Symphony Center

2301 Flora Downtown Dallas

EXXON – MOBIL SHAREHOLDERS MEETING

 

MONDAY, the 23rd 

Dallas could follow Dallas County and be the second North Texas local government to say they want the EPA to reject the state's air plan for DFW. 

Think about that. In "Red" Texas, local governments are asking the EPA to intervene and give them cleaner air because of their own State's failure to do so.

Just like our Green Cement Campaign, and our Dallas Drilling Ordinance, an EPA- written air plan for DFW would be setting an important national precedent from right here in the Belly of the Beast.

Tx govt makes us sickSandy Greyson is Chair of this Committee, which includes:

Tiffini Young

district7@dallascityhall.com

Mark Clayton

mark.clayton@dallascityhall.com

Philip Kingston

Philip.Kingston@dallascityhall.com

Adam McGough

adam.mcgough@dallascityhall.com

Rickey Callahan

rick.callahan@dallascityhall.com

Please email these council members and tell them you support Ms. Greyson's air quality resolution. 

This is a Committee hearing. There is no public comment allowed, but public shows of support are encouraged and the council members may ask questions from experts in the audience. 

We'll have plenty of DFW CAN BREATHE CLEAN AIR lapel pins. Feel free to wear one and/or show your support through other means. 

If this Committee votes in favor of the resolution, it'll probably go to the full council for a vote in June. 

Show up Monday and let the City Council know you care about clean air.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 25th

Exxxon HQ

The national spotlight will be on Dallas again on Wednesday as Exxon-Mobil, our own hometown corporate Poster Child for climate change denial, will be holding its annual shareholders meeting in downtown Dallas.

Because of new revelations the company secretly knew about the dangers of climate change in the late 1970's, but continued to publicly deny the phenomenon, this year's annual meeting in Dallas is especially important. More than 500,000 people across the United States have called on the Department of Justice and State Attorneys General to look into Exxon's cover-up. So far, Massachusetts, U.S. Virgin Islands, New York, and California have launched official investigations.

350.org, the Sierra Club and other national groups have been leading the call to show up at the Exxon-Mobil meeting and make sure the company is held accountable for its past and current behavior.

Most of us never get to go to international conferences and protests like Paris last year, or even ones in DC or New York. But next Wednesday the 25th, the epic global fight against self-destruction comes to your own doorstep.

What are you going to do?

Don't let your activism end  once you go off-line. Turn your "like" into an action.

Show up Wednesday morning bright and early and represent.

They'll be coffee and food. They'll be banners. They'll be media.

But we need you to be there too.

Help us show the rest of the world that we can do our part.

Help us keep the pressure on.

Help us win.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 25th     7:30 am – 10 am

Morton Meyerson Symphony Center       2301 Flora        Downtown Dallas

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Dominos fallingBy a vote of 3 to 2 this morning Dallas County became the first local government in DFW to take a stance rejecting the state-sponsored anti-smog plan for the area, and ask EPA for help in writing a new one that might actually produce cleaner air. 

At stake is the last comprehensive chance to address chronic smog in North Texas until the next decade.

Pct 1 Commissioner Dr. Theresa Daniel introduced the resolution. It garnered support from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and Pct 4 Commissioner Elba Garcia.

One-by-one Judge Jenkins cited, and then shot down, arguments he said he'd heard from industry about East Texas jobs, electric grid reliability, and the "premature" nature of the vote, given that the state's plan doesn't officially arrive at the EPA's doorstep until July. He said he found none of these persuasive in light of the impact to public health and lost productivity from dirty air days in Dallas County cited in Dr. Robert Haley's landmark 2015 study on the costs of smog in DFW. And he saw no indication the state was planning to change anything in the plan prior to July's official submission.

Garcia was hopeful that the measure, although without the weight of law, would still be effective in getting the EPA to provide a more effective clean air plan. 

Daniel cited the fact the area has continually been out of compliance with the Clean Air Act since 1991 despite five previous state air plans as evidence of something more being needed this time around. She also reminded the Court of the conclusions of the UNT's ozone study, based on the state's own computer air modeling, showing the East Texas coal plants to be the single biggest influence on DFW smog. 

Commissioner John Wiley Price, facing federal corruption charges, gave perhaps the most puzzling and incoherent defense of dirty air ever heard inside a local governmental chamber. He seemed to be adopting the TCEQ party line in arguing that the coal plants weren't impacting DFW air and the Court's actions were "premature" – he latched on to Jenkins phrase like a drowning man to a floating log. But honestly, there weren't a lot of complete sentences to his explanation. Which is a shame, because when you talk about who pays the price for dirty air in Dallas County, a disproportional number of those casualties are Commissioner Price's constituents – people of color who make less than the median income. They need a strong advocate for clean air, not a rambling echo chamber for the failed status quo. 

Commissioner Mike Cantrell, the lone Republican on the court, did not speak at all. Such is the state of the Texas Republican Party. 

Dallas County's resolution now goes to EPA, will it will join a letter sent two weeks ago by Dallas area congressional representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson and Marc Veasey, which also requested EPA reject the state's plan and write one of its own if it has to. 

Meanwhile, clean air advocates are fanning out and seeking appointments with representatives from other North Texas counties and cities to attempt to get as many similar resolutions as they can between now and the end of the year, when a final decision could be made by EPA to accept or reject the plan. They say the more local governments that pass them, the more likely it is EPA will feel it has the political support to intervene. 

Because Dallas District 12 Councilwoman Sandy Greyson served with Commissioner Daniel on the same committee overseeing the UNT and Haley studies, it's probable Dallas City Hall will be one of the next front lines in this fight. Stay tuned.

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P_IIIE4ballot_boxDallas County Commissioners' vote on sending state air plan back to Austin:

This Tuesday, May 3rd, 9 am   411 Elm Downtown Dallas   

First air quality vote of 2016

Come help us thank local officials for standing up to the state  

This next Tuesday, May 3rd, the Dallas County Commissioners Court will hold an historic vote.

Commissioners will be asked to go on record as the first local North Texas government urging the EPA to reject the currently proposed state air plan for DFW and replace it with a stronger one that actually cuts pollution. 

Pct. 1 Commissioner Theresa Daniel is sponsoring a resolution that requests EPA to do two things:

"…to reject the proposed State Implementation Plan for DFW ozone pollution, and require a new federal DFW clean air plan that can meet or exceed the current 75 ppb federal ozone standard at all North Texas monitoring sites, and implement all reasonably available pollution controls as defined by the federal Clean Air Act. 

and

"...regulate East Texas coal plants as if they were in the DFW non-attainment area, or include them in a larger non-attainment area for North Texas under rules governing the new federal 70 ppb ozone standard."

As the most populous county in the 10-County DFW "non-attainment area" for smog, Dallas carries a lot of political weight. Passing such a resolution would be an important signal to other local officials concerned about the two-decade plus chronic air pollution problem in the region. 

Downwinders and other citizens groups have formed a new ad-hoc alliance to campaign for similar resolutions in other North Texas cities and counties as part of a broader effort of convincing EPA to replace another state "do-nothing" air plan with one of its own. 

The DFW Clean Air Network, or DFW CAN, includes the Dallas Sierra Club, and the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign,Public Citizen TexasMansfield Gas Well AwarenessLiveable Arlington, and Texas Campaign for the Environment.  

It's important to recognize what a challenge Commissioner Daniel and others are facing in taking on Austin over this issue. They need to see your support for their brave stands. And all the Dallas County Commissioners need to be reminded how long we've had to breathe dirty air and why we're fed-up with the state's apathy. 

We CAN win this vote.

We CAN make a difference. 

We CAN breathe clean air. 

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