Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Council Moves Toward More Equitable Environmental Rules

The City Council has passed Council Member Kathie Tovo’s sweeping resolution to increase protections against water pollution and localized flooding.
 
The Council’s unanimous vote means increased safeguards for creeks in East and Central Austin, where environmental rules are more relaxed and roughly a third of the creeks are not safe for swimming or cooling off during hot weather.
 
By contrast, stronger development standards in the Drinking Water Protection Zone in West Austin have led to healthier environmental outcomes for creeks.
 
Tovo sponsored the resolution on last week’s agenda with Council Members Vanessa Fuentes, Pio Renteria, Ann Kitchen, and Leslie Pool.
 
The resolution also calls for:
  • Regular testing of creeks located downstream from industrial sites, including fuel storage tanks
  • Required communication among city staff when high levels of E.coli are detected in creeks to ensure timely repair of wastewater lines
  • Prioritize green stormwater methods
  • Provide wetland protections and buffers equally along Lady Bird Lake to prevent shoreline erosion
  • Changes to encourage large projects to capture and use stormwater for irrigation
“This resolution will ensure we have equitable environmental protections throughout the city, which will benefit the health and safety of everyone in our community,” Tovo said.
 
Environment Texas, Clean Water Action, and the Save Barton Creek Association have advocated for more equitable environmental regulations across the city and supported the resolution.
 
“From industrial discharges of toxic chemicals in our creeks to algae blooms killing dogs in our lakes, Austin continues to have serious water pollution problems,” said Luke Metzger, executive director of Environment Texas. “Council Member Tovo’s resolution takes critical steps towards reducing the pollution and making all our waterways safe for people and animals alike.”


July 4th, 2022: Independence Day Holiday Closures

  Several City of Austin offices and facilities will be closed today, Monday, July 4 in observance of Independence Day Parks and Recreation ...