Dallas City Council Approves Environmental, Climate Action Plan

Critics complain the plan is weaker than promised last year.

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The Dallas City Council approved the Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan Wednesday.

Critics complained the plan does not meet goals the city council set last year when it approved creation of the plan.

The plan attempts to reduce emissions and the impact of climate change to improve environmental quality. It prescribes efforts for the city government and future development.

Dallas City Council member Omar Narvaez, who led a committee that worked on the plan, said it was a compromise.

“I would have loved to have gone further, but in the spirit of compromise, in the spirit of making sure that we could get a plan, that we could get started, we were able to create this road map,” Narvaez said.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson praised the new plan and the compromise.

“That’s just the nature of policy making, but I think it’s a good start for sure,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he grew up in West Dallas, surrounded by environmental problems like a lead smelter plant that caused harmful air pollution when he was a child.

“Once I had the opportunity to make some of these things right by that community and by our city, once I became the mayor, that was something I was not going to pass on the opportunity to do. So, forming the committee Chairman Narvaez was in charge of was something that I had to do,” Johnson said.

Leaders of several environmental groups complained the plan does not include enforcement until 2030. They requested a ban on future use of natural gas in future development in favor of all electric power that could use sources like wind and solar, but that restriction was not included. 

City council members said future changes in the plan are still possible, as they approved the plan unanimously Wednesday.

Council member Paula Blackmon said she is the mother of an asthmatic child.

“I know how close we watch the pollen report every season, so environmental health is important to me,” Blackmon said.

Council member Adam Bazaldua said passage of the plan was a progressive moment for the city, the region and the state of Texas.

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