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May 24, 2012

Hundreds Pack EPA Hearings to Support Limits on Carbon Pollution

DC-carbon-pollution-hearing

On May 24, hundreds of environmental activists, health professionals, labor and faith leaders, and other concerned citizens packed two EPA public hearings in Washington, D.C., above, and Chicago, below, to demonstrate their support of the agency's proposed protections from carbon pollution produced by new coal-fired power plants.

Chicago-EPA-hearing

"We are here today to thank the Obama administration, and to show our ironclad support for limiting dangerous carbon pollution being dumped into our air," said Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign, at the D.C. hearing. That's Hitt, below, holding her two-year-old daughter Hazel; newly elected Sierra Club president Allison Chin is at far right.

Mary-Anne-Hitt-at-hearing

"These standards will allow EPA to focus on the industry that creates the lion's share of the nation's carbon pollution—Big Coal," Hitt said. "For the sake of our kids and families who need clean air to breathe, workers who need good jobs, and all of us who need a stable climate, we urge the EPA to quickly finalize strong carbon pollution standards."

Read Hitt's full testimony here.

Washington-DC-hearing

The proposed standards will help clean up and modernize the way we power the country and combat air pollution like toxic mercury, soot, and the smog that triggers asthma attacks. Until now there have been no national limits on the amount of carbon pollution being spewed into the air by the nation's largest sources: dirty coal-fired power plants.

Chicago-rally

While activists rallied outside, hundreds of people packed the rooms in Chicago's Metcalfe Federal Building and EPA Headquarters in Washington, including moms with small children, sportsmen in camouflage, and activists with signs and banners. Above, demonstrators in Chicago; below, Sierra Club activists rally with the Lorax in D.C.

Activists-with-the-Lorax

In the weeks leading up to the hearings, more than 1.3 million Americans submitted public comments supporting the EPA's proposed carbon pollution limits. Since the public comment period began April 13, the carbon pollution standard has already generated more supportive comments than any other EPA standard in history.

A virtual rally was also held the day of the hearings so people could send a message to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson showing their support for the proposed standards.

Meanwhile, a pro-coal group placed an ad on Craigslist offering to pay $50 (plus lunch) to anyone who would wear an "America Counts on Coal" t-shirt to the Chicago hearing. Below, a volunteer for clean air talks with one of the people who responded to the ad. Click on the photo below to learn more.

Chicago-hearing
Photo by Lauren Kastner

Carbon pollution is the main contributor to global climate disruption, and leading public health groups like the American Lung Association warn that emissions from coal-burning power plants pose a serious hazard to Americans' health. Children and seniors are especially susceptible to the health consequences of air pollution.

The comment period for the proposed EPA standards has been extended to June 25. Find out how to submit your written comments here.

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