Every day, we see more heartbreaking evidence of the damage being done to our planet: climate change, plastic pollution, wildlife disappearing forever. But we also see the solutions all around us, practically begging us to adopt them: solar and wind power, electric cars and buses, a more walkable and “bikeable” city, reusing and repairing stuff instead of throwing it away, and on and on. We’ve prepared the following recommendations for the City of Dallas to take to protect our environment in 2021.
In 2018, Dallas experienced 108 days of degraded air quality and Dallas County remains in nonattainment with the Clean Air Act. Breathing polluted air increases the risk of premature death and can also trigger asthma attacks and other adverse health impacts. Climate change will worsen air pollution as rising temperatures speed up the formation of ozone. We urge the City to expand the use of electric vehicles, including in the city fleet, buses for DART and local school districts, and for the general public.
2015 press conference with Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins opposing efforts in the Legislature to preempt local control on fracking
Texas is home to an abundance of clean energy options — the sun’s power, the mighty winds of west and coastal Texas, the earth’s heat, and even the energy leaking from drafty windows in our homes and businesses. By using energy more efficiently and tapping our vast renewable resources, we can move to energy that doesn’t pollute, doesn’t contribute to climate change, and never runs out. Environment Texas urges the City to:
Implement solar and EV ready requirements for residential and commercial properties as part a broader shift toward net-zero energy buildings
Create a pilot program to bulk purchase renewable energy for Dallas residents
Adopt the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s SolarAPP to streamline the permitting process for residential solar
Sign a power purchase agreement to generate 100% of the City’s electricity from renewable energy like Houston has done. A PPA would better incentivize renewable energy development than the use of Renewable Energy Credits currently purchased by the City.
2012 anti-fracking event outside City Hall
It’s unsafe to swim in the Trinity River, White Rock Lake and other Dallas-area waterways due to high levels of pollution. Our 2020 report Texas Stormwater Scorecard gave the city a grade of just 56% for its efforts to fight stormwater pollution. In addition, carcinogenic PFAS “forever chemicals” and lead in school drinking water pose risks to public health. Environment Texas recommends the City:
Add nature-based infrastructure to the Dallas drainage manual
Ban the use of toxic AFFF firefighting foam
Work to get lead out of school and daycare drinking water
Ban the toxic pesticides chlorpyrifos, neonicotinoids, and glyphosate
With then-EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Region 6 Administrator Ron Curry at a water conservation event at Nancy Cochran Elementary School in west Dallas in 2015.
Wildlife Over Waste
Every day, people throw away tons of single-use cups, containers and other plastic “stuff.” Among the worst forms of plastic pollution is polystyrene foam (the stuff most of us call Styrofoam), which never fully degrades. Nothing we use for a few minutes should be allowed to pollute our oceans and rivers and threaten wildlife for centuries. While the Legislature preempts cities from bans on private property, cities can still stop the use of single use plastics on their own property. Environment Texas recommends the City:
- Ban single use plastics on city property, including at DFW Airport and Love Field
- Adopt an ordinance requiring businesses only offer single use plastic straws upon request
Executive Director, Environment Texas
As the executive director of Environment Texas, Luke is a leading voice in the state for clean air, clean water, clean energy and open space. Luke has led successful campaigns to win permanent protection for the Christmas Mountains of Big Bend; to compel Exxon, Shell and Chevron Phillips to cut air pollution at three Texas refineries and chemical plants; and to boost funding for water conservation, renewable energy and state parks. The San Antonio Current has called Luke "long one of the most energetic and dedicated defenders of environmental issues in the state." He has been named one of the "Top Lobbyists for Causes" by Capitol Inside, received the President's Award from the Texas Recreation and Parks Society for his work to protect Texas parks, and was chosen for the inaugural class of "Next Generation Fellows" by the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at UT Austin. Luke, his wife, son and daughters are working to visit every state park in Texas.