Concerned Citizens Speak Out for Clean Air

Guest Blog | June 14, 2012 | Climate Change, Coal, Energy Policy

This blog was written by Anne Kingsbury, SACE Intern.

On June 11, 2012 concerned citizens gathered in Charlotte, NC to offer their support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule to limit carbon pollution from new power plants. This event, hosted by Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church, St. Paul Baptist Church, Clean Air Carolina, National Council of Churches, US Climate Action Network and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, was held to collect citizen comments to deliver to EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson.

Many of those who spoke at the citizens hearing shared their own experiences with asthma and other health-related concerns caused by air pollution.  Jonathan Pullin, on the board of the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, provided information on documented studies showing a correlation between respiratory diseases and CO2 pollution. Autumn Picarsic, age 13, declared that she liked what EPA is doing and asked EPA to please finalize the carbon rule because, “I want a healthy life and future.”

In their Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), EPA noted that by reducing carbon pollution from power plants, they would begin to address the disproportionate health impacts to communities of color and low-income communities from these power plant emissions. Air pollution also significantly impacts children and the elderly.

“Across America we see low-income and minority children and families at a disproportionately higher risk for asthma and respiratory illnesses. Air pollution and other challenges are having serious health effects, which compound economic challenges through medical bills and missed school and work days,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson in a press release about the Obama Administration’s efforts to close the racial gap on asthma. “As the mother of a child with asthma, I know what it means for our children to have clean and healthy air to breathe.”

When fully implemented, these new rules will hold large polluters accountable, as there is currently no limit on how much carbon can be emitted from power plants. At two billion tons of CO2 emission annually, coal-fired power plants are the largest carbon polluters in the U.S.  One concerned citizen said he applauded EPA for their efforts to “bring our power generating technology into the 21st century.”

EPA is accepting comments on this proposed rule until June 25th. Like the children at the hearing on Monday (pictured left), you too can craft and submit your own comments to EPA and have your voice heard. You still have two weeks to say why clean air is important to you and let EPA know you support the Carbon Pollution Rule.

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