Candidates George Ferrie
1. Local Climate Impacts
What are your greatest concerns about the impacts of climate change on Denton and its residents, and what must the city do to mitigate those impacts? What barriers exist to getting these solutions enacted?
I am very concerned about climate change and its effects on the environment. Increased severity of storms and droughts, hotter heat waves, worsening air quality (which is already very poor in Denton), increased flooding and costs of damages. The list goes on but those are a few very real concerns citizens should be aware of right here in Denton. It also important to note how climate change disproportionately affects poorer communities. I think a barrier is how we educate our public about the importance of knowing our individual contributions, both beneficial and harmful, to the environment. Also, educating folks on the many ways to change, curb, or increase daily habits to reduce our footprint as a community and city.
Deforestation; policy must be implemented to protect the climate.
2. Gas Drilling and Development Setbacks
The city recently voted to expand reverse setbacks on development near gas wells to 500 ft. Do you believe the 500 ft reverse setback is sufficient to protect public health? What measures would you like to see implemented to mitigate health concerns from potential air, water, soil, and fire concerns related to gas wells?
I think this was a step in the right direction, but by no means is this the end of the conversation. We are seeing nationwide conversations surrounding the issue of gas wells and their effects on the health and safety of those that live near them. I would like to see an increase of reverse setbacks to 1,000 feet. I think it is very telling how much money is spent by Oil and Gas lobbyists to try and bury these needed discussions. We do not have a federal mandate on setbacks, and with the tens of millions of dollars spent by lobbyists, it is easy to assume we won’t anytime soon. This leaves you local leaders in charge of advocating for the community. Almost every City Council candidate will say public safety is of the utmost importance to their campaign. If this is true, then each one must take this issue seriously before we have another explosion in our city which puts lives in danger.
Birdia JohnsonThis requires updated don’t know
3. Renewable Commitments
Denton has committed to using only 100% renewable energy and reducing air pollution. Recently there was a possibility City Council would have to decide whether or not to sell its share in the Gibbons Creek Coal Plant, which would restart the plant and create non-renewable energy and air pollution. The Gibbons Creek site still may be sold to be used for industrial processes that could create harmful emissions. How would you ensure Denton upholds its commitment to renewable energy and reducing air pollution?
This story is still developing, however, from a report I read published on 09/24/20 it would appear the plan is to decommission the plant. This would not reopen the plant. “GCERG will shut down and decommission the coal power plant and complete all necessary environmental remediation work for the site landfills and ash ponds.” I stand with the City’s commitment to using only 100% renewable energy and reducing our impact on air pollution.
From my Understanding the Gibson creek decisions have already taken place. We must continue to push for clean air policy’s
4. Landfill Expansion & Zero Waste
Denton is in the final stages of permitting to expand its landfill to over 200 ft high. Right now, over 50% of annual trash disposal is coming from outside cities and businesses at wholesale rates. What kinds of programs and policies would you consider to reduce trash volumes at the Denton Landfill from within the city and from outside cities and businesses? Would you consider any recycling mandates for businesses or apartments, or food waste diversion mandates (composting, food donations) for food businesses?
George FerrieThis is a very concerning issue. We shouldn’t be giving outside businesses and cities wholesale pricing, when the environmental impacts caused affect our citizens directly and daily. The city has already spent over $11 million dollars and 15 years on acquiring the land for the expansion and plans for the expansion. We need a better commitment from the city to increase participation in recycling, composting, and waste reduction throughout our city. The city should require all multi-family developments to provide adequate recycling bins and knowledge for their residents. We need to encourage more partnerships between local businesses and food banks to reduce food waste. We need more money allocated to education and access to waste reduction, recycling, and composting.
I must understand the process : and evaluation of options can’t not make informed decision without this Birdia Johnson
5. Land Development and Green Spaces
City Council and the Planning-and-Zoning commission have recently seen some high-profile development projects approved that would severely impact or even destroy large swathes of important green corridors, further exacerbating species loss and the financial impacts thereof. Where do you stand on such developments and what steps could the city take to sustain and protect regional environmental assets?
As a member of the Parks, Recreation, and Beautification Board for over 2 years, I’m thrilled with how hard the staff works to address needs and concerns with developers, citizens, other city departments, and city council officials. I’d love to know the input P&Z received from the Parks and Rec Department, and what can be done to improve communication between these entities. We have established protections over ESA’s, created the Tree Mitigation Fund, and recently implemented the Urban Forestry Master Plan. We must continue to assess as we grow, how to do so sustainably and responsibly.
: Birdia Johnson
Assess all available options That allow for protection of the environment as well as allows growth for the community. Preservation plan are needed
How would you engage and support community members to make positive environmental changes in Denton?
George FerrieMeeting regularly with local community organizations and experts to develop a climate action plan would be a beginning step when elected to office. Ensuring we create equitable opportunities in city hiring, organizations the city collaborates with, and in how we build trust in communities where the climate change effects are exacerbated. We have so many wonderful experts in our City, and it is my responsibility to ensure they are given a chance to educate and speak to their concerns.
Join with All council members together we can figure out the best strategy to work on environmental change. Birdia Johnson