It's 2012 and Dallas City Hall Just Wrote its First Sustainability Plan

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The city of Dallas is awfully proud of its efforts to be green, what with the cuts to its greenhouse gas emissions and the garbage plan that promises zero waste by 2040. Add another item to that list: the city's first comprehensive sustainability plan.

The plan, which will be mulled by city council members this week, outlines actions that the city should take in the next year or two in each of five areas: air quality, water quality, land use, materials management (basically garbage, recycling, and water conservation), and energy.

The plan focuses on pragmatic, near-term goals rather than a broad vision. The city hopes, for example, to reduce single-rider vehicle miles driven by at least 10 percent per year, inspection of 300 industrial pollution sources by October, a 700-acre increase in natural and wildflower areas, development of a plan to reduce bacteria concentration in streams and lakes, and so on.

All of that is great, but isn't this something that should have happened a decade or two ago? Probably. Until now, environmental initiatives have been dispersed throughout the city bureaucracy, with some goals outlined in the city's strategic plan, others on a department-by-department basis. Now, they'll all be in one place.

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