Delaware Chapter Contingent Attend EPA Clean Power Plan Hearing in Washington D.C.
Pursuant to President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a mandate to the EPA to establish rules under the Clean Air Act to regulate CO2 emissions, now that CO2 is considered an “air pollutant” after the landmark case of Massachusetts v. EPA, 2007, the EPA issued a proposed rule. It has taken a long time for this pivotal moment in the history of Environmental Law to arrive, in which finally, CO2 can be addressed and regulated. For photos from the day, click here.
Under the provisions and procedures of administrative law for administrative rule making, a public comment period takes place during which members of the public can register to offer testimony for or against the proposed rule.
Stephanie Herron, organized the registration and advance preparations for Sierra Club Delaware Chapter representatives to attend and speak at the hearings. We carpooled to the New Carrollton, MD Metro Station, and took the metro into D.C.
As we emerged into the Federal Triangle area at around 11 AM, a rally was taking place with speakers, free ice cream, lots of organizations holding up signs, the biggest of which was a large banner belonging to the Sierra Club of Virginia. Singers with guitars led attendees in the singing of “This Land is Your Land” Fortunately the weather was beautiful and it was very exciting to be together with like minded people in the nation’s capitol.
Meanwhile, inside the Clinton Building, in two rooms, testimony was given by several senators and dozens of officials from various government, private and non-profit organizations, including Governor Jack Markell, and former DNREC Secretary Colin O’Mara, now CEO of the National Wildlife Foundation. It was fascinating to hear people describing the devastating effects of CO2 pollution in the areas from which they came, including coal mining areas in Virginia and many other areas along the east coast.
When we returned after lunch, I was busy rewording my speech, thinking I had another hour when suddenly I heard my name being called along with Coralie Pryde, and it was our turn to take our seats facing three EPA administrators and give our testimony! We both spoke well albeit exceeded the time limit with the red light on for I have no idea how many minutes, but no one stopped either one of us!
There were television cameras surrounding the entire room, and later CSPAN 2 aired some parts of the hearings. Although I watched the televised coverage I did not see anyone in our group on television. The coverage was mainly from the morning session when many of the Senators and Representatives spoke. I only heard one person, testify against the rule and several dozen in favor!
It was a very exciting and satisfying experience to be able to attend and speak at the hearings, and to feel a part of a larger group of people taking part in trying to address the enormous and overwhelming challenges which we face, in an effort to address the ever intensifying effects of climate change, a situation which is unique and unprecedented.
By Laura Kaplan, an environmental attorney and Delaware Chapter Executive Committee member
Tuesday, July 29, 2014