This was sent by Jim Schermbeck for Downwinders At Risk, but it goes for me too.
We want to thank all of you who answered the call and turned out for last night’s TCEQ public meeting on DFW’s new clean air plan.
Both dailies had stories, although the Morning News did a much better job of capturing the mood of the evening, while the S-T concentrated on TCEQ promises to “look at” Barnett Shale emissions, but had a great photo of gas activist Sharon Wilson modeling our Mark III BS Protection Masks, pictured above.
But really, these accounts could not do the evening justice.
We asked for you to come and make sure that this would be a memorable initiation of TCEQ into a new air planning process. You succeeded beyond anything we had a right to expect for a summer meeting with two weeks notice.
Were your ears burning this morning? They were talking about you in TCEQ hallways and cubicles in Austin. They were talking about you at EPA regional offices in Dallas. They were talking about you at Ash Grove Cement headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas. They were talking about you at Chesapeake headquarters in Ft. Worth.
200 citizens. 42 speakers. 41 of them demanding cleaner air, and all more eloquent than Shakespeare. (Only 50 people total showed up in Houston). A meeting that was supposed to end at 9 went past 9:30.
Citizens revolted. They staged spontaneous “cough-ins” that drowned out TCEQ excuses and spin. They talked back when TCEQ got the science wrong. They got righteous. They demanded the time to speak their piece. They had had enough and said so.
This is what democracy looks like in the trenches.
While one meeting doesn’t make a plan, the tectonic political plates underlying this convoluted, complicated, bureaucratic process shifted last night. Citizens asserted themselves in a process that was designed to ignore them. You became a force to be reckoned with.
And you inspired the hell out of us.