Another Win for Your Lake of Air

by jim on December 21, 2012

Late Thursday night Downwinders at Risk, as part of the Dallas Residents at Risk alliance, won a victory that citizens weren't supposed to win.

Immediately after Thanksgiving, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and City Manger Mary Suhm had plotted to speed the approval of the first gas drilling permit in Dallas. One left over from 2008 that would be exempt from the new drilling ordinance now in the works. One that included a compressor station and allowed for the drilling in city parks and flood plains.

City Hall believed it had greased the tracks with threats of gas company lawsuits and given the City Plan Commission no choice but to approve the permit.

Just to be sure, they scheduled the Plan Commission vote for December 20th, a time guaranteed to result in smaller crowds of opposition at City Hall.

But something happened to make things go a little off-script.

Responding to calls for help, enough Dallas residents showed up to articulately speak against the permit for more than an hour.

They represented hundreds of neighborhood groups, the environmental community and public interest organizations like the League of Women Voters. If the raw numbers didn't match earlier attendance, the people that did show up represented real constituencies numbering in the thousands.

When the vote was finally called at 7:30 pm Thursday evening, we won 7 to 5. The "grandfathered" gas drilling permit would not be approved by the Plan commission. To overturn this decision, the City Council must find 12 votes – a super majority – in favor of the permit at its mid-January meeting.

This was not the result Dallas City Hall was counting on the  Thursday night before Christmas. But thanks to supporters like you, it was the result that happened.

Just as we mobilized opposition to Midlothian cement plant pollution, and helped organize Frisco residents to close down an obsolete and dangerous lead smelter, Downwinders is drawing a line in the Shale in Dallas and leading a push back against irresponsible urban drilling. And, against very long odds, we're winning….again.

We do this to protect your lake of air.

You ingest an average of 200 gallons of water every year, or about five bathtubs' worth. But you inhale approximately two million gallons of air every year – your own small lake of air. 

In DFW, chances are your lake of air is going to have smog in it, along with some soot, some Sulfur Dioxide, Volatile Organic Compounds, as well as an assortment of other manufactured

If your tap water was dirty brown and had lots of particles in it, you'd probably choose to drink bottled water. But when the air is dirty brown and has lots of particles in it, your lungs don't have a choice about the air they can use.

Downwinders at Risk is here for one reason and one reason only: to defend your lake of air

Whether your air is threatened by smelters, gas rigs, cement plants or too-common smog, we're working to clean it up. 

For our efforts, Downwinders was proud to receive the first-ever GreenSource DFW award for Outstanding Grassroots Group in 2012.

Looking ahead to 2013, your lake of air faces new threats, including worsening new permits by the Midlothian cement plants to burn large volumes of industrial garbage, and indiscriminate aerial spraying of pesticides by local governments.

Downwinders at Risk will fight these threats with the combination of good science and citizen activism that's made us the foremost clean air group in DFW.  But we need your help to do it. Our work depends on contributions from folks like you who appreciate what we do.

Our annual budget is usually only around $30-50,000. We do all the work we do with an amount of money larger groups spend annually on office furniture or travel.

We don't get money from a parent group in Washington or New York. Our board members are all from DFW. They're ordinary citizens like you, not rich patrons. Small donations make up a very large percentage of what we take in every year. We couldn't do what we do without you.

In the time it took you to read this message, you've inhaled a couple of more gallons of air. Don't you think it should be clean air?

You keep supporting us; we keep working for you – and surprising the opposition with victories that citizens in Texas just aren't supposed to be able to pull-off. 

That's our promise. Thanks for your consideration and

  Director, Downwinders at Risk

Please click here to safely and securely donate online, or send checks to Downwinders at Risk, PO Box 763844, Dallas, TX 75376.  Your donation is greatly appreciated and will be wisely spent.  Thanks.



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