Dallas City Hall: 17 Tons of Air Pollution Too Much for Kids, 75 Tons Just Right

hypocrisy meterIt just keeps getting more ridiculous and indefensible.

Just four short months ago, the City of Dallas staff stood up to the big bad Weir Brothers asphalt and concrete crushing plant across the street from the City's new Elm Fork soccer complex with its 15 playing fields, tracks and concession stands. They told the City Council that the crusher was an "incompatible use" next to such a new jewel in the city's park system. Industrialization in that part of town was not consistent with the goals of the City's Comprehensive Plan. The Parks and Recreation Department weighed in, saying that the facility was "will have a negative impact on the soccer complex and possibly hinder future redevelopment in the area." The Office of Environmental Quality was concerned about the particulate matter pollution and the health of children playing at the complex, and also urged denial of a new operating permit.

After that presentation, Councilmember Sheffie Kadane exclaimed that, by Gosh, "We're gonna have kids from all over the world coming to that complex, and we don't want that next door."

Examination of the permit for the Weir Brothers facility shows that total emissions were estimated to be 16.5 tons per year, including the 3 tons a year of Particulate Matter that the Office of Environmental Quality was so concerned about. There was no testimony by staff that the crusher exceeded its permitted emisisons, or could not meet TCEQ emissions limits, or that meeting those limits was safe or not safe. The city was just doing its duty to protect its kids form pollution. ANY pollution that close to such a huge playground for children was just wrong.

Which is why it's so interesting now to see City of Dallas staff say that 75 tons of air pollution a year from approximately the same site near the soccer complex by way of the proposed Elm Fork Refinery is NO PROBLEM AT ALL.

And that's Trinity East own guesstimate about annual emissions. The permit they get from the state allows them to go up to 600 tons per year.

That's right, the City of Dallas rejected the permit of a concrete crusher next to the soccer fields, but is endorsing the permit for a gas refinery that sits next door to the crusher.

Nothing shows the hypocrisy of City Hall over the Trinity East gas leases like this abuse of power by staff to arbitrarily declare one source of minor pollution a nuisance that must be stopped in 2012, while declaring that a source that will emit more than four times the amount of pollution is fine and dandy. 

Where is staff's claim of the "incompatible use" of a refinery adjacent to a children's soccer field?

Where is staff's opposition based on the City Comprehensive Plan, which calls for office building not refineries, near the soccer fields.

Where is the Parks and Rec department's indignation over imperiling the success of the soccer field?

Where is the Office of Environmental Quality's concern for the health of children over 75 tons of air pollution and much more than 3 tons a year of Particulate Matter?

Where's the concern over not just PM pollution, but carcinoigens like Benzene and Formaldehyde, wafting into the games acrosss the street? What about dangerous Hydrogen Sulfide emissions?

How can it be that Dallas City Hall can get so worked up about 16. 5 tons of air pollution a year, but be so quiet when it comes to 75 tons of air pollution from the same place? That's a really, really good question that nobody at City Hall seems able to want to answer out loud in public.

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