Remember Dallas' Plastic Bag Fees? They'll Buy the City a $500k Climate Plan

The Dallas City Council on voted Wednesday to advance the city’s first-ever climate action plan, as well as a three-step resolution aimed at reducing the negative effects of climate change. The first resolution, which passed unanimously, grants a contract to AECOM Technical services to develop a "Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan." The city will pay for that plan using leftover money from the ill-fated 5-cent fee on plastic bags.The second resolution has three parts. It commits support to the development of the climate plan; ensures that city takes the necessary steps to participate in C40 Cities, an invitation-only international network that pledges to support the Paris Agreement; and seeks for the city to urge Congress to enact a national carbon fee and dividend.The second resolution passed 12 to 2. Council members Adam McGough of northeastern Dallas and Rickey Callahan of Pleasant Grove voted against it. The two were uncertain about the resolution's initiative for a carbon fee, according to Green Source DFW. A carbon fee and dividend, aimed at significantly reducing emissions, would charge a fee to businesses that produce carbon dioxide from coal, oil and natural gas, Ann Drumm of the environmental group Citizens Climate Lobby told KXAS-TV (NBC5). At Wednesday's council meeting, McGough said he was concerned with how the fee could "potentially impact all of us across the city and how it could impact some expense in our electric bills." Susan Alvarez, assistant director of Dallas' Office of Environmental Quality, said that AECOM was one of three finalists that the city interviewed and vetted during its selection process. Among many of its projects across the world, AECOM provides planning services for 100 Resilient Cities, a program that supports efforts to mitigate climate change and other environmental challenges.The climate plan, Alvarez said, is "really important, and it's really necessary."The city has up to $499,969 budgeted for the plan, according to the council agenda, which comes out of the remaining bag-fee revenue the city collected before the council repealed the ordinance in 2015.At public meetings last year, Alvarez said many residents asked what the city had planned to mitigate the negative effects of climate change. When city leaders began looking for funds to pay for a climate plan, they remembered they still had plastic bag money, and that those funds were earmarked for environmental related efforts.   Continue reading...

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