We Won a Small Victory – Now Come Take Advantage of It

by jim on April 10, 2014

SmallVictoriesThis is why citizen participation matters.

Last week, local officials were balking at reserving a slot at next Thursday's regional air planning meeting for a presentation by UNT researchers on how gas industry emissions from the Barnett Shale could be adding to DFW's chronic smog.

After reading about the UNT research in the Denton Record Chronicle, Downwinders at Risk and State Representative Lon Burnam specifically asked the local Council of Governments to include the UNT work on the agenda.

At first, we were told that there was already one technical presentation scheduled for the meeting and there wouldn't be any time for a second.

That struck us as strange, since in the past, every such meeting has always had more than one technical presentation.

When we pointed this out in an e-mail with links to past meeting agendas to prove the point, we quickly got a different response. Suddenly, there would be time for the UNT presentation.

That wasn't so hard was it? All it took was a little logical push back. But if we hadn't supplied it, Thursday would be looking a lot different.

Now, we're asking you to please come and help us push back a little more.

State environmental officials are on record as saying the air pollution from gas mining and production in the Barnett Shale is not adding to DFW's smog.

A lot of us think otherwise.

Come next Thursday, on the 17th, you can listen to the new UNT research on fracking air pollution and ask Texas Commission on Environmental Quality officials directly what makes them so sure that gas pollution isn't hurting local air quality.

Because the format of these regional clean air meetings are now so informal, anyone in the audience can ask questions of a presenter. That means you – if you show up.

It doesn't matter if you don't know the technical lingo. This is all about wind direction, weather, and things that pollute. There are no stupid questions.

The new anti-smog plan that the state is building needs all the public scrutiny it can get. It needs tough examination by people who care about clean air and the truth.

Next Thursday, you can help us put the state on the spot.

This is the first opportunity in 2014 to speak up and sound off about our decades-long smog problem. Don't let the TCEQ leave town without hearing from you.

We fought and won the right for you to listen to this research because we thought it was important. Won't you please come and take advantage of this victory?

We need a good showing to prove DFW residents are still mad about breathing dirty air.

NEXT THURSDAY, APRIL 17th
10 am to 12pm
North Central Texas Council of Government headquarters
616 Six Flags Drive

(After the meeting, State Representative Lon Burnam and Downwinders will be hosting a lunch time de-briefing, location to be decided, so stay tuned.)

Look, we know this is a small victory. But state officials don't want to talk about how gas industry pollution may be making our local smog worse, even though there's evidence that it is.

That's exactly why we think we need to keep bringing it up.

Winning the right to hear a new scientific presentation on the connection between gas pollution and smog may not seem like much of a win, but it is when the Powers-That-Be don't want you to hear it.

We know that small victories like this can lead to larger successes.

In the 1990's the same state agency that's now denying gas pollution has any impact on DFW smog was saying exactly the same thing about the Midlothian cement plants.

It took lots of push back from citizens who knew better before we got the state to admit it was wrong.

Now, Ellis County is in the DFW non-attainment area and the cement plants have controls on them they would otherwise never have.

We need the same effort in 2014 to show the state is as wrong about gas industry pollution as it was about the cement plants.

Right now, Downwinders is the only group committed to organizing citizens around clean air issues in DFW.

But we just lost a funding source that was critical to us and we need your help to keep the pressure on. This money paid for staff work in the field.It's very easy to give securely online here, or you can send checks to our P.O. Box at the bottom of the page.

We really need your help. Thank you.

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