The agency has proposed a standard for limiting carbon pollution from power plants -- the source of 40 percent of such pollution in this country.
|PennFuture's CEO Cindy Dunn speaks at Clean|
Power Plan press conference and rally
PennFuture was honored to be asked to take the lead in organizing support for the hearing in Pittsburgh. Along with our environmental partners, including Sierra Club, we helped mobilize hundreds of citizens from several states who came to town to express their own reasons for supporting the EPA's action to cut carbon pollution from the filthiest old coal-burning plants across the country -- especially here in Pennsylvania.
PennFuture -- with the support of our members and friends -- turned out in a big way to weigh in with the EPA. Since we've blogged before about why the science compels us to act, this time around I'll share some of the personal observations of our staff.
- Our own CEO and president (and avid outdoorsperson) Cindy Dunn spoke at the press conference on July 31 about the need to act. Upon her return to Harrisburg, she shared this reflection: "It was gratifying to see so many partners come together for an urgent and necessary cause. It renews my faith that people of good will can give of their time and pull together for the critical issue of climate change."
- Jennifer Quinn, our central Pennsylvania outreach coordinator, organized a bus of activists who made the round-trip to Pittsburgh. Jen says, "I was amazed and heartened to see the large number of people who woke up very early, traveled great distances and, in many cases, gave up a vacation day to go to Pittsburgh and tell the EPA why the proposed carbon pollution limits are important to them and their families."
- Rob Altenburg, PennFuture's senior energy analyst, was on Jen's bus that day. Rob delivered our rather technical testimony to the EPA, and listened to other testifiers while he was in town. Rob writes, "While there were many good technical points raised in the testimony I heard, I was most impressed by the personal stories of how air pollution impacts people. One speaker I heard was a mother (and grandmother) was so concerned with her family's health that she skipped the Aretha Franklin concert at the Ohio State Fair so she could drive in from Ohio to testify."
- Valessa Souter-Kline, our southwest Pennsylvania outreach coordinator, was heavily involved in the hearings. Valessa observed that "one of the most striking aspects of the hearing was the breadth of testimony. Listening to so many people speak in support of this proposal brought new depth to the issues at stake and made it clear that there is public demand for action on climate change -- for human health, the economy and to protect the environment."
What if the country had taken climate change seriously 35 years ago? We likely would have already transitioned to a clean energy economy, with fossil fuels and all their attendant woes in our distant past. Of course it's not too late to act, but if we done so even a decade ago, we would have avoided unnecessary illnesses and premature deaths. Furthermore, extensive loss of property due to extreme weather events and damage to wildlife and the oceans could have been prevented. Let's not keep hurting ourselves.
I'm tired of waiting, which is why we applaud EPA and President Obama's Clean Power Plan. That's why I devoted myself to getting so many people show up in Pittsburgh to tell the EPA it's time to #ActOnClimate. And they're listening!
P.S. If you haven't had the chance to tell the EPA that you support the rule, you can do so right now by clicking here. (EPA is accepting comments till October 16. But why wait?
Joy Bergey is PennFuture's federal policy director and is based in Philadelphia.