In response to a proposed rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would limit carbon emissions from power plants, a broad coalition of business, faith, public health, community development, and environmental groups have been working this spring and summer to rally public support for the new standards.**
The Clean Air Defense Campaign aims to raise awareness of the rule by communicating how power plants are one of the leading sources of air pollution and contributors to climate change. By employing a public health frame, the coalition is highlighting how emissions from power plants threaten the health and safety of our communities and the environment by increasing the rates of respiratory illness and the frequency of extreme weather events.
So far, more than one million* Americans have submitted public comments to the EPA calling for clean air safeguards (the comment period is open until June 25, 2012), more than the EPA has ever received on an issue. Across the country, groups are working to garner public support to enact the rule. On June 11th, a citizens hearing was held in North Carolina (hosted by the Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church, St. Paul Baptist Church, Clean Air Carolina, National Council of Churches, US Climate Action Network and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy) that gathered members of the public along with leaders from the public health and faith communities. Participants shared their personal stories of respiratory illness and described how communities of color and low-income individuals are disproportionately impacted by air pollution.
The organizations involved in the campaign to collect public comments include:
Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments
American Sustainable Business Council
Center for American Progress Action Fund
Clean Air Council
Clean Water Action
Climate Reality Project
Democracy for America
Energy Action Coalition
Environmental Defense Fund
Health Care Without Harm
Interfaith Power and Light
Leadership Center for the Common Good
League of Conservation Voters
League of Women Voters of the US
National Audubon Society
National Hispanic Medical Association
National Wildlife Federation
Natural Resources Defense Council
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Union of Concerned Scientists
US Climate Action Network
World Wildlife Fund
*UPDATE June 21, 2012: More than 2 million comments have been gathered in support of the new EPA carbon pollution standard. See the press release.
**UPDATE June 26, 2012: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously upheld the EPA's landmark greenhouse gas regulations and the agency's original conclusion that greenhouse gases pose a health risk and should be regulated under the Clean Air Act. See the press release.
Watch Daniel Weiss from the Center for American Progress explain the benefits and costs of the cabon pollution rule: