Dallas Takes Step to Combat Climate Change

The money for the study will come from the city's grocery bag fee that was repealed three years ago

A climate change action plan will be developed with money from the city of Dallas that was part of a new budget approved Tuesday.

Money left over from the Dallas grocery bag fee that was repealed three years ago will pay for a $500,000 climate change study. Even more money left over from the fee could pay for action on the plan.

Environmental activists cheered the approval Tuesday and City Council Member Sandy Greyson, who championed the measure.

"The federal government pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement. And so the mayors across the United States said, 'We're going to support this effort. We're going to work on it with our local government,'" Greyson said. "And it's not just going to sit on a shelf. It's going to have action items that follow it, and we already have funding for those action items."

North Central Texas Council of Governments

Motor vehicles are the largest source of North Texas air pollution. Past efforts to remove the oldest vehicles have produced improvement. But hot weather still produces high ozone days, where people with breathing difficulty have a greater problem.

New action could include removing more old vehicles from the road, more electric vehicles in the city's fleet, more solar panels on buildings to reduce burning fossil fuels for electricity and help for people with asthma.

Shammara Norris, with a nonprofit called Positive Breathing, provides education on asthma to children and their caregivers. She said she could add actual care on the group's mobile health units, offering more than just education.

"Our goal in our next level is to get a nurse practitioner to offer and provide free care," Norris said. "We don't want to charge a child to get on a mobile unit."

Norris was one of the environmental advocates praising the city's program Tuesday.

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James McGuire, director of the Dallas office of environmental quality will oversee it.

"Twelve months ago I would not have foreseen that we would be having this conversation right now or we would be speaking at this press conference," McGuire said.

More than $1 million was left over from the plastic bag fee. The money was earmarked for other steps to improve the environment. Future additions to the program will require more cash.

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