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SWU Statement on the SA Climate Ready Plan

On Thursday October 17, 2019, during the A session meeting of San Antonio City Council, the SA Climate Ready Plan was approved in a 10-1 vote by Mayor Ron Nirenberg and City Council after 2 years of intense organizing by climate justice organizers and allies.

This is a large victory for community organizers in frontline neighborhoods who have been fighting for environmental justice with Southwest Workers Union and our local grass roots allies. Through our work on this Climate Action & Adaptation plan, San Antonio has become the second major city in Texas to commit to carbon net neutrality by 2050. While Southwest Workers Union members and organizers acknowledge the plan is only a stepping stone for long term solutions rooted in justice will take continued support of both community and alliances to ensure an equitable future for South Texas.

Today, we acknowledge the thousands of community members who shared their voices and concerns in the face of indifference by leadership at the utility offices and business interests. We would also like to acknowledge the work of our dedicated Climate Justice Promotorxs, who collected signatures block walking, phone banking, hosting events, getting petitions signed and generally cultivating consciousness and support in the frontline neighborhoods across San Antonio. Our team was largely made of trans, gender non-binary and queer community members so we also want to celebrate their existence as well as the hard work they undertook being out in the community. Their work directly connected over 2,100 residents from the east, south and west sides of San Antonio who wanted the SA Climate Ready Plan passed and a transition away from coal to be taken seriously by their councilperson and the Mayor.

Make no mistake there is no victory, no future and no justice in burning coal. Coal has not only contributed locally to the loss of air quality attainment by the Environmental Protection Agency, but the impacts are felt daily by community members with asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory concerns. CPS Energy continued commitment in coal continues practices rooted in colonialism by extracting coal from the earth in other communities which damages water, land and quality of life to the communities it originates in. We have seen these impacts first hand on both sides of the Rio Grande and know that transition away from is much more than air quality. Southwest Workers Union will stay committed to a Just Transition away from coal for both workers and rate payers.

The next phase will be implementation, and a new committee will be formed by the City of San Antonio to oversee this process. Several city council members have now gone on record with concerns around accountability for CPS Energy, with Councilman Clayton Perry (District 9) calling for a complete closure to the Spruce 2 coal plant by 2025. Though CPS Energy has shown limited support for transitioning away from coal, Southwest Workers Union also would like to acknowledge TRADE OF COAL BURNING FOR NATURAL GAS IS FALSE SOLUTION THAT WILL CONTINUE POLLUTING OUR NEIGHBORHOODS AND BODIES.

We would also like to invite you to stay connected with Southwest Workers Union members for upcoming events and actions to continue building a larger framework of justice for our community culminating in our 2020 People’s Movement Assembly with a focus on the first year of implementation and solidarity with popular movements across the globe. La lucha sigue!

Additional Links:

SA Climate Ready Plan: >> HERE <<

Oct 17, 2019 City Council Meeting Minutes >> HERE <<


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