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Welcome to our News Corner, a place where we can all post news and opinion articles. Good and bad situations and developments in the environmental sector. Innovations and remarkable accomplishments within our companies, customers and clients. We would specifically like to highlight the amazing women doing amazing work in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

If you would like for articles and/or news tidbits to be published on the Women in the Environment website, please email your information to Terry Shultz. Don’t forget to cite the date and location of your article.

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September 1, 2023

WE partners with North Texas Healthy Communities for a culled produce event.

Image of person adding produce to a compost pile

From North Texas Healthy Communities: the Culled Produce Recovery Project, emphasizing food insecurity in Dallas-Fort Worth and beyond

Food waste, overtaxed landfills, and food insecurity are complex issues. Solutions come with vision, partnership, and passion. The Produce Recovery Project is one solution, designed to keep viable produce out of the landfills and into the hands of urban farmers and local families.
Piloted in 2020 by North Texas Healthy Community, the project brings together G.E. Foodland Inc., a locally owned grocery chain; Compost Carpool, a company dedicated to transporting compostable materials; and small urban farms, such as Opal’s Farm and Mind Your Garden. Unsold produce is first culled at two Foodland Markets and one Elrod’s Cost Plus Supermarket location. Compost Carpool conducts weekly pickups, transporting produce that is beyond its prime to area urban farms. These farms serve an important role in providing fresh, local produce to the community. The donated organic matter helps creates rich compost while reducing the need to purchase soil from outside sources.
Viable produce is distributed to a fresh produce pantry at a nearby school or city community center. The result is a sustainable, full-circle food ecosystem that reduces waste, supports urban agriculture, and increases access to fresh produce in under-resourced communities.

Why We Do It

Every day, fruits and vegetables are pulled from the shelves of grocery stores and thrown into the trash. Some are rotated out for fresher stock, while other items might be overripe or damaged. As a result, thousands of pounds of food waste fill local landfills, many of which are nearing critical capacity. Meanwhile, thousands of residents across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex continue to lack access to fresh, healthy, affordable fruits and vegetables. The Culled Produce Recovery Project turns produce waste into something fruitful.

How You Can Make a Difference

An investment of $15,000 can support the existing Culled Produce Recovery Project for a full year, diverting hundreds of pounds of viable produce every week from three grocery stores to two urban farms and two community food pantries. The cost to expand the program is greatly dependent upon the location, capacity, and willingness of a future grocery partner.

Headshot of Cyndi Bishop, an environmental lawyer in Dallas
Aug 2, 2023

Cyndi Bishop Top Environmental Lawyer in Dallas-Fort Worth Region

Cynthia (Cyndi) Bishop is listed first in D Magazine’s 2023 recent roll-out of the Best Environmental Lawyers in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. She is a longtime member of Women in the Environment, having held numerous leadership positions through the years. For 30 years, she has been assisting clients nationwide, resolving environmental problems through her experience as an attorney and chemical engineer. Before deciding to join the legal world 20 years ago, she worked as an environmental consulting engineer, completing air permits, removing underground storage tanks, and conducting asbestos inspections, among other projects.

“I decided I could help my clients understand their environmental rights and obligations by becoming an attorney. Because of my engineering background, I understand both the technical and legal components of my projects and can provide efficient, cost-effective solutions to environmental problems,” Cyndi said.

Aug 2, 2023

Linda Pavlik Named to Fort Worth’s Most Influential People List

logo for Fort Worth Inc.

For the fifth consecutive year, Fort Worth INC. Magazine named Linda Pavlik one of the 400 Most Influential People in Fort Worth, those years being 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020 and 2019.  She is the owner and president of Pavlik and Associates, an award-winning strategic communications firm whose client base includes private companies, governmental entities and nonprofit advocacy organizations. Also, Pavlik is the board president of Women in the Environment.

Aug 2, 2023

City Recognized for its Encouragement of Citizen Action

Logo for City of Irving, Texas
Logo for Air North Texas

Air North Texas recognizes the City of Irving for its “Outstanding Educational Advertising Materials” informing residents about air quality through regular email blasts, including on high ozone days. Clean Air Action Day and ozone messages were distributed on different social media platforms. The City of Irving also issued a Clean Air Action Day proclamation.

Air North Texas is a regional public awareness program that seeks to improve air quality. The City of Irving is a corporate member of Women in the Environment.

Aug 2, 2023

Sarah Wells is a Leader in Environmental Law in Dallas-Fort Worth area

360 West Magazine has listed Sarah Walls as a leader in environmental law in North Texas. The partner in the law firm of Cantey Hangar LLP has an exceptional track record in defending clients in EPA and TCEQ enforcement proceedings. She is a founder and former Chairman of the Environmental Law Section of the Tarrant County Bar Association. Furthermore, she has served multiple times as Chair of the Environmental and Safety Committee of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and on its Board of Directors.

Sarah represents a wide variety of clients in the manufacturing, chemical, food and beverage, and aerospace industries, along with businesses in the real estate, oil and gas, agriculture, electric transmission, and transportation sectors.  She is also a member of Women in the Environment and an exceptional leader in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Photo of Sarah Wells, an environmental lawyer in North Texas
Photo of Teresa Moss in Doctoral regalia, green gown, block cap with gold tassel
Feb. 28, 2023

WE Member Teresa Moss Earns Doctorate

Teresa Moss obtained her doctorate degree in philosophy, with a specialization in environmental philosophy, from the University of North Texas in December 2022. She currently teaches philosophy at Tarrant County College’s Southeast campus.

Her dissertation, entitled Thinking Outside the Pipe: The Role of Participatory Water Ethics and Watershed Education Community Action Networks (WECANs) in the Creation of a New Urban Water Narrative, focuses on a pragmatic and interdisciplinary approach to discovering a sustainable relationship to water.

She has a Master of Education degree and a Master of Science degree in environmental science from Texas Christian University. Additionally, Teresa’s research interests are water conservation and management, urban river renewal projects, water and regionally appropriate landscape ethics, community based ecological restoration, and urban ecosystem education.

“Congratulations from all your Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex friends in the environmental sector,” WE Board Chair Linda Pavlik.

Jan. 31, 2023

Texas Public Information Act’s 50th Anniversary an Excellent Time to Strengthen the Landmark Law

By Kelley Shannon, Executive Director
Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas

Fifty years ago, responding to public demand in an era of reform, Texas enacted a sweeping law ensuring the people’s right to know about their government.

The Texas Public Information Act – originally known as the Open Records Act when it passed in 1973 – was one of the strongest transparency laws in the nation. It allowed Texans to hold their state and local governments accountable by obtaining all sorts of public records.

“The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know,” states the act, born after the Sharpstown stock fraud scandal that gripped state government.

Despite those bold words, the act has been eroded by subsequent legislation, court rulings and maneuvers by some government officials to sidestep the law. In the current Texas legislative session, we, the people, must protect and strengthen the Public Information Act and maintain our state’s open government legacy.

The Sunshine Coalition

The Texas Sunshine Coalition is doing exactly that. Sixteen diverse organizations are working together to push for bipartisan transparency legislation. The nonprofit Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas is part of the coalition and was founded on the belief that access to public records allows everyone to scrutinize and speak up about government.

The Sunshine Coalition aims to shore up the Public Information Act so taxpayers can view “super public” information and other key provisions in government contracts; create a uniform “business days” definition requiring governments to respond to public records requests, even on days of remote work; require that governments provide certain data to requestors in searchable-sortable spreadsheets; and restore public access to dates of birth in criminal justice and political candidate records.

Another coalition pillar is to allow recovery of attorneys’ fees if a requestor must sue to get public information. A series of court decisions have made this extremely difficult by allowing governments to hand over documents at the last minute – after months of litigation – and avoid paying any of the requestor’s legal fees. Consequently, sometimes ignore or delay records requests.

FOI Foundation of Texas

Meanwhile, the FOI Foundation of Texas works every legislative session to defend the Texas Open Meetings Act, the state’s other major transparency law, expanded during the early 1970s reform movement. Its enforcement provisions must remain available to everyday citizens. That includes civil court action, when necessary, to prevent or compel an action by a government to ensure compliance with the open meetings law. The FOI Foundation weighed in on this provision with an amicus brief in court.

In another recent legal brief, the FOI Foundation supported the Odessa American in the newspaper’s ongoing lawsuit against the city of Odessa to enforce the release of basic public information “promptly,” as called for in the Public Information Act.

Government officials who stall by seeking unnecessary attorney general rulings or ignoring requestors are not honoring the intentions of the law. All state and local government information in Texas is presumed to be available to the public, unless specific legal exceptions apply.

Many Texans believe our state is exceptional; the historic Public Information Act is one of the reasons it is special. The 2023 legislative session is an excellent time to improve this landmark law governing the people’s right to know.

Today’s lawmakers have an opportunity to continue their predecessors’ commitment to open government so that it endures for generations to come.

Kelley Shannon is executive director of the nonprofit Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, which is dedicated to protecting First Amendment rights and enhancing the public’s right to know about government. For more information go to www.foift.org.

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