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Top Stories: Denton Approves Renewable Energy Plan; Texas Maternal Mortality

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The top local stories this morning from KERA News:

The Denton City Council last night voted 6-1 to update the city’s energy plan to become 100 percent renewable by 2020 - the second Texas city to do so.

Council member Sara Bagheri was the only "no" vote. She questioned why a natural gas plant — Denton Energy Center or DEC — was included with the plan.

“This is a renewable resource plan, but it has to mention the DEC because it’s one of our resources,” said George Morrow with Denton Municipal Electric. “It doesn't really impact this acquisition of renewables. There needed to be discussion of the DEC in a power resource plan.”

Denton Municipal Electric currently buys about 44 percent of the city’s electricity from renewable resources such as wind farms. A consulting group recommended the city solicit more contracts for about 200 megawatts of solar power and 100 megawatts of wind power to reach the 2020 goal.

About one percent of Denton's energy load comes from a small power plant that burns excess methane at a local landfill. Denton's also trying to sell a coal power plant that stopped operating last summer.

Other stories this morning:

  • The firefighters union in Arlington is suing the city over civil service rules that went into effect last fall. The union alleges new rules for promotions deprived firefighters of deserved increases in rank and pay.
  • A recent study shows the number of Texas women dying soon after or during child birth has increased dramatically in recent years. The risk is greater for black mothers.

You can listen to North Texas stories weekdays at 8:22 a.m. and 6:20 p.m. on KERA 90.1 FM.

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.