Americans Make Their Voices Heard at Hearings: Time to Protect Health and Cut Carbon

As America braces for another hot summer, I am reminded of how alarming last year’s heat waves were. Temperatures soared over one hundred degrees here in New York and city streets seemed to melt under my feet. I struggled to stay cool, but I worried my father might be in real danger. Medical experts say high temperatures take the greatest toll on senior citizens, young children, and people with heart and lung illnesses. Diabetics, the obese, and people using common medications including antihistamines also face a greater risk when the heat rises.

In other words, tens of millions of Americans are vulnerable to extreme heat. Their risk is only growing now that climate change is generating hotter temperatures. NRDC released a report on Wednesday concluding that an additional 33,000 heat-related deaths will occur by 2050 as a result of climate change.

With so many of our loved ones threatened by extreme heat, it’s no surprise Americans welcome recent efforts to limit global warming pollution.

Over the last few weeks, people have sent more than one million comments to the Environmental Protection Agency in favor of its proposed standards to limit carbon pollution from new power plants. That is the most public comments the EPA has ever received on any issue before.

Image removed.

Delivering comments in favor of proposed carbon standards to the EPA.

Today the EPA is holding public hearings in Chicago and Washington on the new carbon standards, and so many people wanted to testify the agency had to add extra hearing rooms and arrange for simultaneous sessions to allow all speakers a chance to be heard.

Meanwhile, those who couldn’t attend the Washington and Chicago hearings are creating their own events. In Maine, people held a citizen hearing with local government officials in support of the new carbon standards. In Virginia and Pennsylvania, residents celebrated when they delivered tens of thousands of comments backing the standards to regional EPA offices. In Philadelphia, people also delivered a box of “unneeded inhalers” to the EPA as a sign of the cleaner air we will all be able to breathe as a result of the new carbon standards.

Across the country, Americans are letting leaders know it’s time to hold carbon polluters accountable for destabilizing our climate and endangering our health.

A quick look at some of the speakers at today’s EPA hearings shows the breadth of support the carbon standards have garnered. Latino community leaders, small business owners, public health experts, and mothers whose children suffer from asthma will describe how the new safeguards will make their lives better.

I am proud to say several NRDC staffers will also testify, talking about everything from the health hazards of climate change to the Supreme Court decisions that ordered the EPA to release carbon limits.

You too can make your voices heard, even if you can’t go to the EPA hearings or related events. Click here to let the EPA know you support standards to limit carbon pollution from new power plants. The agency has already received one million comments; we want to send them another million, for a record-breaking, attention-getting two million. You can help by taking action now.