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June 11, 2014

Sierra Club Rallies to Support Carbon Protections


Sierra Club members from coast to coast joined with their fellow citizens, allied organizations, and elected officials last week in celebrating the Obama EPA's first-ever national protections against carbon pollution from existing power plants. We'll let the following accounts serve as a representative sample.

In the president's hometown of Chicago, the Sierra Club took the lead in organizing a rally and press conference, above, that brought more than 200 people together in support of the new pollution standards. A coalition of more than 25 partner organizations helped out in some capacity for the event.


Speakers included Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Congressmen Mike Quigley, Bobby Rush, and Robin Kelly, Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, Citizen's Utility Board executive director Dave Kolata, business community sustainability director Dan Probst, and 2013 Goldman Prize winner & community activist Kimberly Wasserman. That's Wasserman below, speaking.


"All the speakers outlined the impacts of climate change already facing Illinois, applauded the Obama administration for leading on this critical issue, and pledged a strong and just implementation plan for our state," said Chicago-based Sierra Club organizer Christine Nannicelli. "We also secured supportive press statements from key elected officials, including Governor Quinn.

Below, Attorney General Madigan addresses the crowd.


"Team Illinois has been building for this roll-out since the beginning of the year," Nannicelli said. "We led Illinois Climate Coordination Table discussions for several months that brought together over two dozen diverse organizations to build support for the new standards and ensure their strong implementation in Illinois."


The Sierra Club also put together "satellite" press conferences in Peoria, above and below, and Champaign. "We focused on voices from the agriculture and faith communities," said Club organizer Kady McFadden. That's Reverand Carole Hoke of the Interfaith Alliance, above.

"The idea that you have to pollute to preserve jobs is blatantly false," said farmer Keith Bolin at the Peoria press conference. "As farmers, we need healthy air, water, and soil. Climate change puts all those things at risk."

Below, biology professor Kristin Jacobson-Flex addresses the Peoria gathering.


The Club also held a workshop in Chicago to help more than 50 people prepare public comments in support of the new standards.

A thousand miles to the west, Colorado Beyond Coal campaign organizer Bryce Carter reports that the Sierra Club helped the Climate Action Coalition turn out about 100 people to a press conference and rally, below, in the newly renovated Alliance Center Building in downtown Denver across the street from the regional EPA headquarters.


A model for green building, the Alliance Center Building has cut its water use by 84 percent and electric lighting consumption by half.


Speakers included Latina activist Kendra Sandoval, below at right, who spoke about the disproportionate impacts of climate disruption on communities of color; Gregg Thomas of the Denver Department of Environmental Health, who spoke about the positive health impacts of the new carbon standards; and Jeff Hohenese of the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, who outlined the efficiency gains the Alliance Center Building has made to achieve LEED platinum status.


Meanwhile in Minneapolis, the Club's Minnesota Beyond Coal campaign released this video in response to the announcement of the new carbon standards. The footage was taken at a Climate Justice forum sponsored by the Sierra Club and Green for All on May 15. Minneapolis-based environmental justice organizer was the Club's point person for the event, and colleague Alexis Boxer helped capture the personal stories highlighted in the video. (Click on the image below to watch the two-minute video.)


Sierra Club spokespeople were quoted in some 300 media clips covering the EPA's announcement of the new carbon pollution protections.

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