Renewable Denton Plan detractors protest outside City Hall

Renewable Denton Plan detractors protest outside City Hall

Renewable Denton Plan detractors protest outside City Hall
June 24
16:46 2016

Matthew Reyna | Staff Writer

@bucko_rodgers

Denton activists celebrated Clean Air Action Day on Friday, June 24 by gathering in front of Denton City Hall to protest the newly approved Renewable Denton Plan.

The ordinance was approved by City Council Tuesday, June 21 by a 4-3 vote.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., about 25 to 30 people stood in the front lawn of City Hall and held up signs to protest RDP, calling the plan “unfair” and “unethical.”

The goal of the ordinance is to increase renewable power in Denton from 40 to 70 percent by 2019, but protesters were skeptical of the claim and held up signs questioning the environmental and financial realities of RDP.

Event organizer Hale Baskin said the protest was a response to city officials not heeding public opinion.

“City Council has made it abundantly clear that there is nothing we can do,” Baskin said. “In absence of any real power, all we can do is protest and make sure the public knows that we are on their side.”

The protesters faced McKinney Street with their signs held up high. One sign took inspiration from “The Hunger Games” and read, “If we burn, you burn with us.”

Many drivers honked as they passed by, and a police SUV was stationed in the adjacent parking lot at the intersection of McKinney and Oakland Street for the entirety of the event. There were no supporters of RDP in attendance.

Some familiar local faces also showed up, including District 2 City Councilwoman Keely Briggs, who voted no to Tuesday’s ordinance. She showed up with her son, who held up an anti-ordinance sign.

Deb Armintor, who unsuccessfully ran for the at-large Place 5 council seat this year was also in attendance and voicing her concern for RDP.

“There’s no good reason for us to have these gas plants,” Armintor said. “It’s going to make our already F-rated air quality even worse and sink us into unprecedented debt burden.”

Some protesters suggested there could be nefarious reasons for City Council moving forward with the RDP.

“The people right now who are accepting money from corrupt entities think we don’t know and our eyes are shut,” said 24-year old Denton resident Joanna Ceja. “Money can blind people. It makes you overlook your empathy and the needs of the people,”

Baskin said over 600 people sent in handwritten letters, and only two council members, Briggs and Mayor Chris Watts, claimed to have read any of them.

She was not optimistic city officials would listen to the activists’ requests.

“I don’t know if there’s anything that could sway opinion on this council except for voting them out, which is absolutely what we plan to do,” Baskin said. “This will serve as notice to the next people who run for council, what the constituents want, and they have to include this in their platform.”

Featured Image: Protestors gather today to protest the Renewable Denton Plan outside City Hall. Matthew Reyna | Staff Writer

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