This is the text of my testimony presented to the EPA this week on its proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants:
I’ve traveled from New York to speak as a mom, a teacher, and a representative of Moms Clean Air Force.
I was inspired to testify today because a special family friend passed away last week, Pete Seeger. As I joined his family and friends at memorials to celebrate his life and legacy, I heard over and over again about Pete’s unwavering love of protecting the air, water and land.
Pete was known for his passionate concern for ordinary people. From fighting for social justice to cleaning up the river that’s just a stone’s throw away from my Hudson Valley home, Pete believed change would come when ordinary people sang out and spoke out. So I’m here to do that. But I promise not to sing.
When asked recently about the most important issue of our time, Pete said,
“The oceans rising may be the wake-up call to the whole human race.” He hoped in the future, “…the people from the oil industry were still living so that they can see what a mistake they made.”
We have the opportunity to avoid this mistake right now.
We know human activities are causing the climate crisis.
We know carbon pollution is warming our planet, contributing to extreme weather events.
We know dirty energy, the pollution from fossil fuels, is the single biggest contributing factor to climate change.
And we know the biggest, dirtiest energy source is coal. Not only does carbon-intensive coal fuel the climate crisis, but pollution from dirty coal-fired power plants gets into the air our families breathe. Our youngest children are most vulnerable because their respiratory systems are so tiny, and they are still developing.
Coal is no longer the answer to power our children’s future. To further its use is a big mistake. This is why we need to assure that no new coal-fired power plants are built, and support the EPA’s strong carbon pollution standards.
I remember Pete singing to the children of my son’s kindergarten class 20 years ago. When he was packing up his banjo, my son asked how he could learn to play and sing like him. Pete told him to “help others, take care of the planet, and when you sing for what is right, others will join.” It’s time for us to sing out against anything that pollutes our family’s health and contributes to climate change. Our children and grandchildren cannot afford this mistake. Thank you.
View photos from the public hearing at the EPA on proposed carbon pollution standards HERE.
Main image: Russell Cusick