Tag Archives: Dallas

We Won’t Get Fooled Again: How Unfair Trade Threatens Texas’ Environment

Why should any Texas enviro care about trade? Let me tell you a bit about what the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is, and why you should be concerned as a boot-wearing Southern green activist.

Today through May 18th in Dallas, as negotiators representing nations and corporations from across the world meet behind closed doors for the 12th round of talks on the TPP, a coalition of union members, environmentalists, occupiers, and consumer advocates will be there to shine a light on the backroom deal.

The TPP is a massive, new international trade and investment pact between the United States and countries throughout the Pacific Rim like Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Peru, Australia, and eventually Japan.  Instead of being debated out in the open, the TPP has thus far been negotiated in the shadows. Approximately 600 corporate lobbyists have been given special “cleared advisor” status to review negotiating documents and advise negotiators.  Meanwhile, the general public has been barred from even reviewing what U.S. negotiators have proposed in our names.

So how does this tie into the Texas environmental community? Texas is home to the Barnett and Eagle Ford shales – some of the world’s largest reserves of natural gas. Countries participating in TPP negotiations rely heavily on imported liquefied natural gas (LNG), and stand to benefit from provisions in TPP that would open the floodgates for expanded US production and exports of LNG.  In a recent  letter to US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the Sierra Club’s natural gas and labor & trade departments urged Kirk to ensure that the TPP does not allow for export of substantially increased quantities of domestic liquefied natural gas (LNG) without proper analysis and adequate protections for the American public.

Furthermore, we are concerned about language in previous FTAs that lets foreign corporations sue governments directly — in private and non-transparent tribunals — for unlimited cash compensation over almost any domestic law (environmental or otherwise) that the corporation argues might hurt its profitability.

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune discussed this issue in a recent blog post citing:

“By the end of 2011, corporations (including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, and Cargill) had brought 450 disputes worth hundreds of millions of dollars against the governments of 89 countries. Many of those cases directly targeted environmental and other public interest laws.”

If you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, come rally and march with us in order to let negotiators know that Texans want fair trade that protects both our environment and workers, and that we won’t get fooled again by bad trade deals.

TPP Out of the Shadows!

Rally and March for Good Jobs, Affordable Medicine & a Healthy Environment

Saturday, May 12 * 1:00pm

Addison Circle Park * 15650 Addison Rd * Addison, TX


Click here to reserve your free seat on a bus from San Antonio or Austin

Dave Cortez
Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter
512-477-6195 (office)

David (dot) Cortez (at) SierraClub (dot) org

Dallas Doesn’t Need Another Highway: City Council Member Speaks Up

Scott Griggs, Dallas City Council Member, doesn’t think the Trinity Tollway in Dallas will fix the congestion problems in the city. With seven major highways already in the downtown area, it’s clear that more roads won’t fix the problem.

As quoted in the Dallas Morning News,

We are so addicted to the automobile. Adding lane capacity is like an obese person buying a bigger belt and saying he doesn’t have a weight problem.

Dallas Evening Rush Hour Traffic (Photo: Justin Cozart)

Dallas Evening Rush Hour Traffic (Photo: Justin Cozart)

Though he’s in the minority on this issue, Griggs understands that the solution to congestion is to get some of the traffic onto other modes. Moving people by transit and goods by freight rail costs far less, has a lower environmental impact, and would create more long term jobs than a new tollway.

If you’re in the Dallas area and would like to attend the Public Hearing for the Trinity Tollway, it’s on May 8th  in the arena of the Dallas Convention Center, located at 650 S. Griffin Street in Dallas, Texas, 75202. An open house will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. A formal presentation will begin at 7 p.m., followed by a public comment period.

-Kari Banta, Transportation Associate.

DART’s Green Line gets kudos from USDOT

You know you’ve got a good thing when US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood comes to check it out in person–and then blog about it. Along with Federal Transit Administration Director Peter Rogoff, LaHood toured the economic development in Dallas that is coming as a result of the light rail line.

Dallas is expecting an estimated 48,000 long term jobs created by development along the light rail line. That’s beyond the jobs directly created by the rail from engineering, construction, maintenance, operations, etc. Since these jobs are right by the rail line, chances are the workers will choose to ride. Just the thought of that makes me breathe easier!

While we’re talking about jobs, investment in rail and federal requirements to use American made products means the potential for jobs in the manufacturing sector. Though DART doesn’t currently use American made trains, other cities do. New street car lines also contribute to demand. Secretary LaHood blogged about this, too.

Why is a Sierra Club blog talking about jobs? We’re part of the Blue Green Alliance.

Kari Banta, Transportation Associate

Sometimes Good Transportation Means Not Moving

Here’s a little Friday fun: Imagine a bridge over a river. What comes to mind? Guard rails, lanes for cars. Maybe a walkway for pedestrians and a bike lane if you’re lucky. Anything else?

Did you imagine a bridge as a place to play chess or enjoy a cup of coffee or just watch traffic go by. No?

The bridge on Cedar Crest Boulevard over the Trinity River in Dallas has the potential to be this place. In fact, for one day, it actually was. On October 22, 2011, the bridge was converted to two lanes from four. Planters divided the car lanes from two bike lanes and a pedestrian esplanade complete with tables, chairs, and chess boards.

What difference does a day make? Plenty, as it turns out. This coordinated effort by Team Better Block and the City of Dallas was a proof of concept for Option D of the renovation plan under consideration by the city as part of the Trinity River Project. In plain English, they did it to see if it would work–and it did! Fingers crossed that they get the support to implement the plan.

$928.5 Million for Transit from US DOT: Green Jobs, Cleaner Fuels

Exciting news for transit improvements! The $928.5 million  is available through the Federal Transit Administration’s fiscal year 2011 Alternatives Analysis, Bus Livability, and State of Good Repair Programs. It will go toward replacing or refurbishing aging buses, building or improving bus terminals, garages, and other transit facilities, installing bus-related equipment, and conducting studies to help communities select the best transit options to meet future transportation needs.

Transit investment creates 31% more jobs per dollar than investments in  new construction of roads and bridges. Replacement vehicles will use cleaner fuels than the the standard diesel.

Texas will get $57,078,664 for sixteen projects, distributed across the state in major metropolitan regions and outlying areas.

Southeast Texas:

  • Houston and Harris County get funding for a circulator study for Houston’s East Downtown, vehicle replacements, and facility improvements for Kashmere and Hiram Clarke. They also get money for transit asset management, enabling better decision-making based upon quality information and well-defined objectives.
  • The alternatives analysis for the Galveston-Houston Mobility Corridor will receive the funding needed for completion.  Galveston will also get the Seawall Boulevard Transit Pedestrian Access and Beautification Plan and construction of bus stop amenities to support new
    transit services.
  • The Woodlands will get a transit terminal.
  • A plan for Conroe on Complete Street and Transit Access to Support Multi‐Modal Options will be funded as well.

East Texas:

  • Longview Transit Facility Rehab

North Texas:

  • Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART): Vehicle replacements.
  • Denton County Transportation Authority: Facility Replacement
  • Texoma: Paratransit Vehicle Replacements

Central Texas:

  • Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Cap Metro) will receive money for the Austin Bike & Rides for Livable Communities‐Last Mile Solution. This will allow Cap Metro to install MetroBike bike share facilities at seven major transit facilities, all of which connect to Metrobus service. Cap Metro will also have funds for vehicle replacements.
  • VIA Metropolitan Transit  in San Antonio will get funds for its VIA Primo: Bus Rapid Transit service Leon Valley Extension (Bandera
    Rd) and for facility improvements.

West Texas:

  • El Paso: Millennium Vehicle Replacements

Kari Banta, Transportation Associate

The Hotsheet (What you might have missed)

Hey y’all! We’ve rounded up some super flaming hot links for you. In no particular order, here we go:

Dallas domination at the EPA hearing on greenhouse gases. Guess who didn’t show? The TCEQ. Or Perry. Or Abbott. Or anybody, really.

Harvey Hayek shares his story: a heritage of pecan farming ruined by Fayette Coal. Be sure to sign the petition.

An op-ed piece on why Martin Luther King Jr. would have fought coal plants.

NatGeo goes…all…the…way. With renewable energy. Yes we can…

As always, respond and pass around! We are YOUR Club, and at YOUR service!

Enhanced by Zemanta

LIVE at the EPA hearing on Greenhouse Gases

Hey Folks,

There’s no wireless in the hearing room, so we can’t liveblog. However, you can follow the Texas Sierra Club Twitter feed for live updates:


See the photo album of the fabulous turnout of Texans from across the state at the EPA’s greenhouse gas hearing in Dallas today. and you can read the full press release here.

So far, so good. Industry goons got scared off, and it’s pretty much all public citizens who care about clean air. Plus, Al Armendariz is here, and we hear that several people from Corpus Christi cornered him to talk about the proposed petcoke Las Brisas plant…

Enhanced by Zemanta