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Dallas – The City of Dallas has taken several recent steps to reaffirm its commitment to environmental protection and addressing the impacts of climate change. One way this is demonstrated is with the realignment of the Office of Environmental Quality to add a focus on sustainability as a critical initiative and officially renaming the department to the Office of Environmental Quality and Sustainability (OEQS) as part of Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax’s City-wide reorganization.
“Now, we have the framework to move forward with a comprehensive approach,” said Broadnax, “and I am confident this department can better serve Dallas as we work to balance the environmental, economic, and social needs of this vibrant City.”
In addition to renaming the department, the Dallas City Council approved funding in Fiscal Year 2019 to launch a Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan. With OEQS established and a comprehensive plan on the way, the City will be a model leader in environmental and sustainability advancements engaging citizens every step of the way. These changes could not come at a more appropriate time. At the federal and state levels, policies designed to curtail climate change, environmental pollution, and depletion of natural resources are being rolled back and funding has been reduced. OEQS will serve an essential role by helping the City step up to fill this void.
The City’s role as a climate leader is several years in the making. In 2017, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings joined 200 mayors in a pledge to adopt, honor and uphold the principles of the Paris Climate Agreement, including a continued focus on the reduction of emissions. In his statement upon taking the pledge, Mayor Rawlings remarked, “With no current state or federal action on climate change, it is apparent that local government must shoulder the burden. The City of Dallas accepts this responsibility and is actively working towards building a greener, more resilient City. Addressing climate change should not be a controversial or partisan issue, and local leaders and the marketplace should work together in pursuing climate action.”
City of Dallas staff has been leading the region by actively pursuing bold emissions reduction strategies and implementing initiatives such as this year’s inaugural North Texas Climate Change Symposium held on March 9, 2018. This annual symposium provides a platform for scientists, advocates, community leaders, and policymakers to share current research and to discuss the impacts of climate change on North Texas. OEQS will host the next symposium in February 2019.
As Dallas continues to experience growth and be looked upon to provide innovation and leadership, we will chart a path of environmental and climate action consistent with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.