By Ashley Osteraas, Sierra Club Climate Outreach Intern
On October 21, citizens gathered at Hamline University School of Law to discuss the EPA’s recent proposal to limit greenhouse gases from power plants – a first step of President Obama’s climate action plan. Members of the community, environmental advocates, local health and energy experts, and Congresswoman Betty McCollum addressed the EPA’s recent proposal of carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants. The panel of speakers strongly advised support from the state and community for these first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants.
Congresswoman McCollum shared her concern regarding climate change and her mission to make energy conservation a higher priority, and emphasized the wide array of benefits that would result in enforcing stronger coal and carbon regulations. “Global climate change is having an escalating impact on public health, weather patterns and our economy, making it one of our most serious challenges. Leaders and advocates at all levels must work together towards a responsible and lasting solution. As a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior and Environment, I will continue to support funding needed to advance critical research and projects in clean energy, climate change, and environmental health.”
Other panelists included James Kelly from the Environmental Health Division of the Minnesota Department of Health, Ralph Jacobson, Board President of Minnesota Solar Energy Industries and CEO of Innovative Power Systems, David Thornton of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency,and Matthew Reid, a recent U of M graduate and youth climate activist. Despite the wide variety of backgrounds, all panelist highlighted the need for local and federal action to address global warming and climate change.
Members of the community were also given time to ask questions to the panelists. Questions regarding water quality, dependence on fossil fuels, improving energy efficiency, and the struggle in transitioning natural gas to renewable energy were just a few topics covered.
The audience was also asked to submit a comment to the EPA to support its proposed carbon rule during an important public comment period. Submit your comment today.
Special thanks to Environment Minnesota, Fresh Energy, BlueGreen Alliance, Hamline University School of Law’s Environmental Law Society, Congresswoman Betty McCollum, and Minnesota Conservation Federation for making the climate town hall meeting a success! I urge everyone to support the “I Will #ActOnClimate” campaign and join in on the efforts in calling for strong climate action.