Moms Clean Air Force joined hundreds at a public hearing in Charleston, West Virginia, this week about the fate of America’s Clean Power Plan, which places first-ever limits on climate-warming pollution from power plants.
Scott Pruitt, head of EPA, wants to reverse the landmark Plan, which could prevent as many as 4,500 deaths from air pollution each year. But the majority of Americans disagree. Scores of supporters of the Plan spoke at the Charleston hearing, including Moms Clean Air Force representatives from West Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, Illinois, Florida, North Carolina, and New Jersey.
Among them was Danielle Walker, of Morgantown, WV, who said,
“As a mom, I must stand up in support of the Clean Power Plan. Climate change is real, it’s happening now, and we need to take action as a nation to address it. The Clean Power Plan will deliver clear health benefits to our children. It will help protect them from heat-related illness, asthma exacerbations, and extreme weather events like storms, floods, and drought. Moms support America’s Clean Power Plan because it will benefit our children’s health and future.”
Lindsay Pace, Moms Clean Air Force’s Chattanooga-based Tennessee Field Consultant, attended the hearing with her infant son Theo. While she delivered her testimony to a panel of EPA staff members, she sat next to retired coal miner and mine inspector Stanley Sturgill, who offered to hold Theo.
Lindsay touched on the very real health impacts of climate change that she is experiencing in her family.
“Last summer, Chattanoogans suffered through more than 100 days above 95 degrees. I had to daily monitor my young daughter for signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.”
Sturgill, too, spoke in favor of keeping the Clean Power Plan and strengthening protections against carbon pollution. He suffers from black lung disease and COPD, and understands firsthand the grave health impacts of pollution. He was among several coal miners who pleaded with the EPA to retain America’s Clean Power Plan and protect their children and grandchildren from coal pollution and climate change. “We’re still dying ― we’re still literally dying ― for you to help us,” he said.
Trisha Sheehan, Moms Clean Air Force’s national field manager, shared how climate change is having an impact on her family’s New Jersey farm.
“We live in Southern New Jersey, where my parents farm over 5000 acres of land,” she said. “I grew up on this farm and have personally watched the impacts of climate change affect my parent’s success of their farming business. Increased heavy downpours and higher temperatures mean a decrease in crop yield and an increase in pesticide use and anti-fungicides.”
Power plants are a leading source of carbon pollution, which fuels hurricanes, wildfires, heat waves, and sea level rise. America’s Clean Power Plan ratchets down this pollution in our nation’s first-ever plan to address climate change.
This week’s hearing was the one and only hearing scheduled by EPA to consider rolling back the nation’s most significant action against climate change. EPA staff claimed the agency was considering scheduling more hearings, but no additional hearings have yet been announced. The single public hearing is grossly deficient for a decision that would harm Americans in every state for generations to come.