Clean Air Advocates Pack EPA Session in Atlanta
Sierra Club members and many other clean air advocates attended en masse the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Listening Session with Environmental and Environmental Justice Organization Representatives on the agency's proposed carbon pollution protections this past Tuesday in Atlanta.
This is the second session - the first one took place in Washington, DC - out of five that the EPA is holding in order to collect information about its proposed safeguards to protect Americans from the carbon pollution emitted by power plants and refineries.
The session in Atlanta was overwhelmed by more than 100 activists concerned about clean air and calling on EPA to create stronger standards to protect people from the dangerous carbon pollution.
EPA has committed to issuing carbon pollution standards for the biggest polluters, power plants and refineries - which account for 40 percent of all U.S. global warming emissions - in the next two years. To do so, the EPA is holding sessions throughout the country to obtain input on the design of New Source Performance Standards for greenhouse gases.
Tuesday's listening session attendees included religious leaders, civil rights activists, concerned citizens, dozens of people from Sierra Club and plenty of kids - all of whom packed the listening session conference room in the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center.
A coalition of environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, organized a news conference and rally ahead of the hearing to demonstrate support for the proposal. The speakers and the attendees included the Rev. Michael McClain from the National Council of Churches and Dr. Michael Stinson (MD) of Not One More Life, an asthma prevention and screening organization, who asked why EPA was not hosting a health professionals listening session.
A member from Sierra Club said. "EPA must do more than bring the laggards up to the level of mediocrity." All participants at the listening session echoed this sentiment. People wrote valentines and comments to EPA that were later presented at the hearing.
It is important that the public remains engaged in this process. There are yet three more Listening Sessions to go, in Chicago (today!) and in Washington, DC. It is critical that people come and support the EPA in its effort to protect Americans from carbon pollution emitted by power plants and oil refineries.
Sierra Club commends the EPA for their open process and invitation to various stakeholders, and encourages the public to keep the pressure on the decision-makers.
(Photos by Sean Suddes, except the last one, which is by Al Viola)
-- Elizabeth Lopez, Sierra Club Global Warming and Energy Team