Ready to Fight Back and Win? Downwinders is about to launch its most ambitious campaign in years

by jim on May 11, 2015

lacing up boxing gloves copy

Mercifully, the 2015 Texas Legislative Session is almost over. Since January we've seen cities stripped of their traditional zoning power over oil and gas facilities, citizens' ability to challenge new pollution permits further suppressed, and renewable energy sources singled-out for financial punishment.

But the circus leaves town on June 1, and shortly after that Downwinders at Risk will be gearing up for the largest clean air campaign we've taken on since our fight against hazardous waste burning in the Midlothian cement kilns.

It'll begin with the mid-summer release of the results of a years-in-the-making project that turns the tables on the recent trend to transfer all pollution decisions from local governments  to Austin. For the first time, city and county officials in North Texas will have the power to do what, up until now, only state agencies could do.

We don't want to give away too much too soon, but this is by far the single most costly project we've ever sought funding for, and it will have an impact on every major industrial source of pollution affecting Dallas-Fort Worth air quality – the cement kilns, the oil and gas industry and the obsolete East and Central Texas coal plants. And It's being done in a way that makes its results unimpeachable by a hostile state government and industry.

As a kind of sneak peak, below is a small sample of what we're talking about. It's a map of our half of Texas with the DFW metropolitan area outlined in black near the top. It shows the reach and intensity of smog pollution from the five coal plants closest to us. Even though they're 90 to over 100 miles away, they're still able to raise smog levels in central DFW by 4 to 8 parts per billion or more – a huge amount that could make or break our compliance with the Clean Air Act.

Coal Fallout StatewideThis is a map the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has the ability to produce, but refuses to. Now, we have the same ability. And we can aim it at any large industrial source of pollution in the region. And we have.

Moreover, the results of our study are being released in tandem with an associated project by Dr. Robert Haley and the University of Texas – Southwestern Medial Center. Together, they'll represent the opening salvos to a sustained, multi-organizational campaign to address DFW's chronic bad air problems.

Armed with this new evidence and having identified some chinks in the armor of the Status Quo, we see a chance to strike a powerful blow for cleaner air and citizen power. We see a chance to win a significant victory. We don't know about you, but after the last five months, we could sure use some victories.

That's not to say winning will come easy. It's still Texas. But we hope you'll agree that one of they keys to our long track record of success is picking the battles and the battlefields that give us better odds.

This new fight is big and ambitious. While we can start to rack up wins on the ground soon enough, it will probably take years for this campaign to declare final victory. And so we need your help.
 
Our new effort is an unprecedented challenge to the state's authority and expertise in air quality. But even as we're preparing to present the results, we're falling short in our 2015 budget.  We need your help to maximize the impact of this study and keep Downwinders at the fore of regional air quality activism throughout 2015.
 
Help us organize a much needed victory for clean air in Texas that can reverberate throughout the nation. Help us launch this new campaign knowing we have the resources to fight on all fronts for the rest of 2015.
 
The legislature and industry has had its way with us for the last five months. Now it's our turn. Thanks.
 
TO DONATE TO THE NEW CAMPAIGN CLICK HERE

 

Every dollar you give goes to fight
for cleaner air right here in N. Texas 

 

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