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 Downwinders At Risk - Articles: September 2007

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Perry urged to take steps to bolster clean-air plan

Star-Telegram Staff Writer
September 5th, 2007

One of the region's top elected leaders has asked Gov. Rick Perry to reject a state-approved ozone cleanup plan for Dallas-Fort Worth. The plan has been widely criticized for not doing enough to clean the air.

Dallas County Judge Jim Foster, in a three-page letter sent Friday, asked Perry to set up a North Texas air-quality summit at which local, state and federal leaders could work together to devise a stronger plan. He also asked Perry to instruct the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to add strong clean-air initiatives developed last year by local elected and business leaders but left out of the state-approved plan.

"If the much-considered suggestions from those on the ground here in D/FW are not adopted, and weaker measures substituted by the state, there is little motive for anyone in North Texas to keep cooperating with the state in trying to reach the goal of clean and legal air," Foster wrote. "The TCEQ will simply do what it wants to do anyway, regardless of the input of local authorities and experts. This is not the path to cleaner air."

The federal Environmental Protection Agency, which has the ultimate say on whether the plan is approved, has been working with the state to revise it.

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, who in July asked Richard Greene, the EPA's regional administrator, to strengthen the state plan, praised Foster for the letter.

"We need all the help we can get," he said. "We need to do whatever we can in North Texas to get people focused on addressing our air-quality problem."


Letter to Perry

Dallas County Judge Jim Foster is asking Gov. Rick Perry to:

Appoint a North Texas resident to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's three-member board. "Having someone who is already familiar with the particulars of our air problem and the personalities of the local officials would help expedite this task," Foster wrote.

Convene a clean-air summit at which local, state and federal officials would try to devise a stronger ozone-reduction plan. "This kind of direct communication is long overdue," Foster wrote.

Instruct the environmental commission to include the local ozone-fighting measures in the state cleanup plan. The local initiatives target pollution from cement kilns and East Texas power plants. "These measures may not be a silver bullet, but they are certainly part of the solution to the chronic D/FW air pollution problem," Foster wrote.

Letter to EPA

Foster also sent a letter Friday asking Richard Greene, the Environmental Protection Agency's regional administrator in Dallas, to reject the state plan. "You should demand a new one that actually has a chance of success," Foster wrote.

The state plan

The state cleanup plan calls for:

Reducing ozone-forming emissions from cement kilns by 40 percent, which is less than local leaders had hoped.

Replacing off-road construction equipment or retrofitting it with pollution controls.

Replacing the oldest, dirtiest vehicles.

Helping low-income motorists repair vehicles that fail the annual emissions inspection.

Even with all those steps, as many as four regions in the area, including Fort Worth, might still be in violation after the 2010 deadline.

Perry's response

Perry's office said the governor had not received the letter Tuesday. Andy Saenz, an environmental commission spokesman, said state regulators have met with the EPA twice and are working on amendments that "will make the plan even better. Everybody's on the same page to make this plan even stronger."

Scott Streater, 817-390-7657


Dallas Ordinance:

ADOPTED MAY 23rd, 2007

WHEREAS, air pollution is a significant environmental issue that can threaten the health of human beings and impacts the ecological systems of the planet; and

WHEREAS, the primary air pollutants of concern to the Dallas-Fort Worth region (DFW Region) area are nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter (PM), carbon dioxide (CO2), and carbon monoxide (CO) (hereinafter, “Air Pollutants”). These emissions of Air Pollutants are released from a variety of sources including, but not limited to, vehicles, construction equipment, power plants, cement kilns and other stationary sources; and

WHEREAS, emissions of green house gases such as CO2 can contribute to climate change. Climate change may cause the Earth's temperature to rise, leading to a variety of environmental concerns such as changing weather patterns, rising sea levels and extinction of a variety of species; and

WHEREAS, emissions of NOx and VOC, when combined in the presence of sunlight, form ground level ozone, which ozone can cause respiratory problems particularly for the young and elderly; and

WHEREAS, the DFW region is classified as a moderate non-attainment area withrespect to the Environmental Protection Agency's eight hour ozone standard of 85 ppb; and

WHEREAS, a State Implementation Plan (SIP) will be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in June of 2007 for the purpose of reducing ozone levels in the DFW region to 85 ppb; and

WHEREAS, the Environmental Protection Agency allows the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to take credit as part of the weight of evidence for those measures that can't be easily quantified or regulated and could assist in lowering the levels to below 85 ppb; and

WHEREAS, cement kilns make up 43% of all point sources in the DFW region; and

WHEREAS, wet kilns use more energy and have higher emissions rates, including emissions of NOx, than dry kilns; and

WHEREAS, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has proposed a new rule setting the source cap limit for emissions at 1.7 pounds per ton of clinker produced for dry kilns with a compliance date of March 2009; and

WHEREAS, the City of Dallas has become a leader in environmental stewardship for
promoting better air quality and is recognized for its efforts on a national level; and

WHEREAS, the City of Dallas has made significant progress in addressing air quality issues through purchasing of clean vehicles, construction of green buildings, and reductions in energy consumption; and

WHEREAS, the City of Dallas City Council reviewed numerous short and long term measures for consideration at its May 16, 2007 meeting that will encourage reductions in Air Pollutants in the DFW region;

Now, Therefore,

SECTION 1. That the City Manager is hereby authorized to specify the purchase of dry kiln cement as the base bid in City of Dallas bid packages, with an alternative bid for the purchase of cement from a unspecified source and preferential purchasing for bids from a cement kiln with emission rates of 1.7 pounds of NOx per ton of clinker or less.

SECTION 2. That the City Manager will report to the Dallas City Council in nine months on the results of specifying purchase of dry kiln cement and preferential purchasing of cement from cement kilns with emissions rates less than 1.7 pounds of NOx per ton of clinker or less.

SECTION 3. That this resolution shall take effect immediately from and after its
passage in accordance with the provisions of the Charter of the City of Dallas and it is accordingly so resolved.

Dallas City Council Passes Nation’s First “Green Cement” Ordinance

From the Plume News in June:

Dallas became a national environmental leader May 23rd when its city council voted in favor of an ordinance that gives official preference to the purchase of cement for city projects from newer and cleaner “dry process” kilns over product from more polluting “wet process” ones. It is the first such policy in the U.S. and could have a profound impact on local air quality. (A copy of the "green cement" resolution that Dallas adopted is attached to this e-mail). Downwinders at Risk was a major force behind the ordinance's passage.

Defying a threat from the president of Kansas City-based Ash Grove Cement to sue the city if it went forward with the policy, the council voted 7 to 3 to adopt language that authorizes the City Manager “to specify the purchase of dry kin cement as the base bid in City of Dallas bid packages.” Ash Grove operates three wet kilns. TXI operates four wet kilns and one larger dry kiln. Holcim operates two large dry kilns.

"Wet kilns" are based on a design abandoned by the cement industry over 25 years ago. They use large amounts of water as slurry to mix ingredients for cement. That water then must be evaporated in furnaces, or kilns, to produce the final product, called clinker. They are notoriously energy inefficient and usually lack even the most basic pollution controls such as “scrubbers” for Sulfur Dioxide. In contrast, dry process kilns mix their ingredients without water, usually have modern controls, and produce much less pollution.

Dallas Mayor Laura Miller said she plans to press for adoption of the dry kiln preference among all the cities already aligned against the construction of TXU’s coal plants. “This is a model for the future of environmentalism. Instead of fighting permits, we can change the behavior of these companies in the marketplace directly. We can vote for cleaner air with our pocketbooks.”

Downwinders is looking for any and all North Texas city councils, school boards, hospitals, and educational institutions to follow Dallas' example. We need to keep momentum going. Please contact us about opportunities you may personally know about or with which you have a connection.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Council: Cement purchase changes will reduce emissions

Thursday, May 24, 2007
By DAVE LEVINTHAL / The Dallas Morning News

It may not instantly scrub Dallas' notoriously smoggy skies of
pollutants, but a change is the city's cement purchasing procedures is
a key step in reducing industrial emissions both locally, and perhaps
nationwide, city leaders say.

The City Council late Wednesday voted to direct construction
contractors to include the price of "dry kiln"-processed cement in
their bid packages to the city. Cement produced in dry kilns generally
produces less total pollution compared to traditional "wet kilns."

"This is a giant step forward for us to tackle our [nitrous oxide]
problem. It's going to be the beginning of a national trend," Dallas
Mayor Laura Miller said. "We can start buying from clean plants and
make it an incentive for businesses to operate and build clean plants
that we'll buy from."

City staff will spend the next several weeks crafting rules for cement
purchasing, said Mark Duebner, Dallas' director of business
development and procurement.

Mr. Duebner expects that the city puts between 150 and 200
construction bids per year that would be affected by the change. It
may take a year or more for longer-term purchasing contracts to come
up for re-bidding under the new rules, he added.

The city will review the new rules in nine months to determine if any
need adjusting, such as a provision to allow contractors to submit
presumably cheaper, secondary bids to the city that may include the
price of wet kiln cement built into them.

Eventually, Dallas should begin supporting aggregate purchasing of
cement, or even energy that rewards plants that produce relatively low
emissions, Ms. Miller said.

The mayor added that she'll urge cities involved in the Texas Cities
for Clean Air Coalition, which have fought for the past year to
prevent TXU Corp. from building new, traditional-style coal-fired
power plants, to adopt similar cement-purchasing practices.

"We'll start to reach out to other cities soon to see if they're
interested in joining us," Mr. Deubner said.

Cement companies in nearby Midlothian could most be affected by the
rule change, particularly the Texas Industries, which uses one dry
kiln among its five. The Ash Gove Cement Company does not use dry
kilns at all, although company officials say their wet kilns feature
emission-reducing technology.

The council should give cement companies more say in the process,
which could significantly affect the Ash Grove Cement Company in
particular, company President Charles Wiedenhoft told the council.


by Austin Kilgore Wed, May 23, 2007, 05:46 PM

New buildings built by the city of Dallas will now be built of green

The Dallas City Council passed a first of its kind resolution changing
its bidding process to require construction bids to include the cost
of "dry processed" cement.

Cement produced in so-called dry kilns uses less energy and pollute less.

Base bids will now include dry cement, and a bidder can include an
alternate bid using cement produced from any source.

In addition, preference will be given to bids that include cement
produced in the cleanest process available.

State law allows preference when a standard is established giving the
council five percent leeway to grant bids that meet the standard.

Three cement companies in Midlothian are affected by the resolution.
One company, Wholecim, has two dry kilns. Texas Industries, the
largest company, has five kilns, one of which is dry.

The smallest plant, Ash Grove Cement Company, is the only Midlothian
facility that does not have a dry kiln. One of its three wet kilns
does have pollution reducing equipment installed.

Ash Grove President Charles Wiedenhoft objected to the resolution,
claiming it put his company at an unfair disadvantage, and the cement
industry did not have enough input on the regulations.

"Ash Grove is a good neighbor and a good operator," he said. "The
cement plants want to help, but must be included in the process."

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Elba Garcia made several unsuccessful attempts to
encourage the council to send the issue to the Environmental and
Transportation Committee for further revenue.

The resolution includes a review of its impact after 9 months.

Mayor Laura Miller said she hoped the Clean Air Cities Coalition she
helped form would consider adopting similar resolutions. The coalition
consists of various public entities including cities and school districts.

Miller, along with Councilmembers Pauline Medrano, Linda Koop, Leo
Chaney and Ron Natinsky and Mitchell Rasansky and Steve Salizar all
voted in favor of the measure.