A Week of Activism (part one)
Activism can take many forms. We can canvass, write postcards, visit our elected officials, make phone calls, attend rallies and most importantly, we can vote.
This week's activism roundup included all of that and more.
I started the week testifying at the only planned US EPA hearing of the proposed Affordable Energy Plan. During the Obama administration, the EPA would hold two-day hearings on proposed rules at many locations throughout the US. This time, the EPA only scheduled one hearing lasting only one day here at the Federal Building in Chicago. Environmentalists from not only the Chicago area but also the midwest and other parts of the country signed up to testify. This proposed rule would replace the very effective Clean Power Plan of the Obama era with a rule that would gut environmental protections on coal plants and allow dirty energy industries to harm the environment and public health.
Naturally, I opposed this proposed rule.
At my testimony, I talked about the impact of air pollution on the health of so many of my patients, and the importance of doing what we can to limit air pollution and restrict greenhouse gases overall.
The press did a nice job covering the hearing. Here's what WTTW said before the hearing (including a quote from me!): https://news.wttw.com/2018/09/28/epa-host-chicago-hearing-repeal-obama-era-clean-power-plan
My friend and colleague Brian Urbaszewski of the Respiratory Health Association was also quoted in the press, this time in the Chicago Tribune: “The EPA is taking an existing rule that doesn’t do enough and making it worse,” said Brian Urbaszewski, director of environmental health at the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago. “You are actively encouraging filthy coal plants to pollute years or even decades more into the future. You have proposed a system that would allow them to avoid cleanup requirements, run more often and massively increase the pollution they can put out every year. You are choosing to let more people get sick and die.
“This is not a rule to protect human health,” he added. “This is something an enemy of this country would call a successful attack.”
Environmental activists far outnumbered shills for industry at this week's hearing. Now if the EPA would only listen to the voices of science and public health, the EPA's Clean Power Plan will stand.