This post was written by guest blogger Julia Collins, EDF Communications Intern, US Climate and Energy Program.
Last Thursday, over a hundred people, including moms, grandfathers, businessmen, coal miners and environmentalists, descended upon the Dallas Public Library to speak to the EPA regarding new regulations for carbon emissions on existing coal power plants – a topic charged with political tension. The auditorium was packed with engaged citizens eager to participate in just one of 11 “Listening Sessions” held around the country to solicit input on the proposed regulations. I stood alongside other groups, such as Sierra Club, the NAACP, Public Citizen and several others.
As an intern, I don’t always have the opportunity to create the formative changes this country needs. Instead, I, like many other Americans, put my faith and trust in the EPA to do the right thing – for the planet’s future, for the country’s future, for my future.
During the listening session, I heard speeches that were heartfelt and honest, and that touched upon many subjects we can all relate to – family, history and country. I heard several children with asthma lament that they can’t play on the playground with their friends and have to keep an inhaler close at hand all day.
I understand the important role coal power has played building this nation, but fossil fuel power plants are the single largest source of climate pollution in the United States and there are currently no national carbon limits for power plants. Many states have already adopted protections against dirty coal plants, and it’s time for Texas to step up to the plate and implement common sense limits
Right now, the health, societal and economic impacts of carbon and other pollution that American families are coping with are invisible to us. Those costs burden the people with increased health risks and illnesses. This is not the environment I wish to leave for future generations.
America has grown accustomed to leading the world in innovation, but we are now lagging behind other countries, including Australia and many European nations. This is our chance to create a future with clean, efficient energy and significantly improve the health of the environment and fellow Americans.
It was encouraging to see so many Texans seizing the opportunity to participate in this hallmark event and stand together on a crucial issue. Industry can shout all they want, but the science is undisputable; pollution from power plants is negatively impacting our health. We can start protecting the future today by reducing emissions and holding power companies responsible. It’s time to enact carbon pollution standards for existing power plants and ensure that America protects its communities while creating much needed clean energy jobs.