Atlantans Demand Action on Unchecked Carbon Pollution from Power Plants

Community Leaders Gather at EPA Listening Session Calling for Action to Protect

Atlanta, GA - Local leaders, faith leaders, public health officials and environmental advocates gathered today at an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listening session to call for action on the unchecked carbon pollution from power plants. Bold action on carbon pollution from power plants, which are responsible for 40 percent of the U.S. carbon pollution that causes climate change, is vital to protect public health.
The EPA’s listening sessions are the first public effort to get input from key stakeholders across the country, including here in Atlanta, as the agency prepares to propose a standard next June. The first two listening sessions were delayed due to the government shutdown, but have been rescheduled to ensure input will be received at all 11 of the agency’s regional offices around the country.
The carbon pollution standard for existing power plants follow the same standard for new power plants, proposed by the EPA in September.
Below are comment excerpts, contact info or estimated time of testimony from key voices in favor of a strong power plant rule.
Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley: “Climate change is a civil rights issue and the time has come for the EPA to address the worst offenders, power plants. We are seeing the impacts of climate change in our own communities in the form of record-breaking temperatures, floods, droughts, hurricanes, and the list goes on and on. When your children suffer from asthma and cannot go outside to play, as is the case for many in Atlanta, it is a civil rights issue. When unprecedented weather disasters devastate the poorest neighborhoods in places like New Orleans, New Jersey, and New York, it is a civil rights issue. When farmers in faraway lands cannot feed their families because the rains will no longer come, it is a civil rights issue. We have a moral obligation to stand up to protect our children, and the nation."
To contact Dr. Durley call (404)406-4063
Dr Anne Mellinger-Birdsong: "Children are more vulnerable to all of the anticipated health effects of climate change stemming from weather events, increased air pollution, and increased risk of infectious diseases. Anything we do to reduce carbon pollution will directly benefit the health of children. It makes sense to start addressing carbon pollution coming from power plants."
To contact Dr. Mellinger-Birdsong call (404)310-2889
Representative Scott Holcomb: “As a state Representative and an attorney, I'm sensitive to the limits of rulemaking. I support this rule because it is in our national interest and will promote innovations in energy, protect the public's health, and enhance our security. As a military veteran, I believe this rule is critical for our national security.  A consensus of military and security leaders identify climate change as a national security threat because climate change acts as a "threat multiplier" - with more frequent and severe weather events destabilizing regions with weak infrastructure, pushing them to near constant crisis. The time to act to mitigate this threat is now.
You can watch Rep. Holcomb deliver testimony at the Federal Center at 2:30.
Representative Pat Gardner: “If carbon pollution goes unchecked, it will make the job of reducing smog and soot in our air much harder risking lives and our kids’ health. Children, seniors and other vulnerable populations are at a higher risk of the health effects linked to climate change. This senseless endangerments makes no sense, we should be limiting carbon pollution from power plants and tapping into cleaner sources of power like solar and wind energy.
To contact Rep. Gardner call (404) 873-6208
June Deen, American Lung Association: “Scientists warn that the buildup of carbon pollution will create warmer temperatures, which may, in turn, increase the risk of unhealthful smog levels. There are standards for toxics, acid gases, heavy metals, smog-forming and soot-forming emissions from power plants and there should be standards for carbon pollution as well. Ozone is a lung irritant that can make breathing more difficult for people with lung disease, especially chronic lung diseases such as asthma and COPD. Ozone exposure at unhealthy levels can affect children, people who exercise and work outdoors, and senior citizens. There are currently no national limits on the amount of carbon pollution allowed from power plants. We urge EPA to require existing power plants to reduce carbon pollution to protect public health.”
To contact June call (404)550-4956
Ashten Bailey, Greenlaw:  “We urge EPA to apply strong and just standards to existing power plants. Fossil fuel fired electricity generating plants are large emitters of carbon pollution, and EPA should reduce emissions from such sources by 35-40 percent below 2005 levels to honor the President's earlier commitments.  At the same time, we urge the EPA to reach out to vulnerable communities and incorporate renewables into implementation plans."
To contact Ashten call (413)335-7181.

Environment Georgia State Advocate Jennette Gayer: “America's dirtiest power plants are the elephant in the room when it comes to global warming. If we want a cleaner, safer future for our kids, we can't afford to ignore power plants' overwhelming contribution to global warming. For Georgia, tackling the problem means cleaning up the dirtiest power plants.”
To contact Jennette call (703)475-3228
Seandra Rawls Pope, SACE: "We welcome and support EPA’s decision to move forward with designing strong standards for carbon pollution. New carbon regulations, for both new sources and existing sources, is an opportunity to protect our climate, health and to drive development of new cutting-edge energy generation technologies. They are also a key step towards increased protection of low-income communities and communities of color who currently suffer from the negative effects of older, inefficient, dirty coal-fired generation and who will be disproportionately affected by the negative impacts of climate change. In developing this rule, we urge EPA to fully investigate new carbon reduction technologies to ensure life-cycle carbon neutrality and a marked reduction in emissions."
To Contact Seandra call (404)512-3318