Sierra Club
Sierra Club Press Release

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For Immediate Release – May 24, 2012


DC – Eitan Bencuya, 415-255-5521,
Chicago – Claire Orphan, 708-837-4529,

Sierra Club and Allies Mobilize Hundreds of Thousands in Support of First-ever Proposed Limits to Dangerous Carbon Pollution from New Coal Plants 

Hundreds Attend U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Public Hearings in Support of Proposed Carbon Pollution Safeguards 

CHICAGO and WASHINGTON DC. – Hundreds of Sierra Club activists and community members packed two U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) public hearings today in Washington, D.C. and Chicago to demonstrate their strong support of the agency's proposed protections from dangerous carbon pollution produced by new coal-fired power plants. Sierra Club activists joined health professionals, labor union leaders, parents, faith leaders, and public officials in testifying in favor of EPA action to adopt carbon pollution standards, which will help clean up and modernize the way we power the country and prevent life-threatening air pollution like toxic mercury, dirty soot and the smog that triggers asthma attacks. Until now there have been no national limits on the amount of carbon pollution being spewed into the air by the nation’s largest sources, dirty coal-fired power plants.

“We are here today to thank the Obama administration, and to show our ironclad support for limiting dangerous carbon pollution being dumped into our air,” said Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign, who testified at the Washington, DC hearing with her 2-year-old daughter, Hazel. “These standards will allow EPA to focus on the industry that creates the lion’s share of the nation’s carbon pollution – Big Coal. For the sake of our kids and families who need clean air to breathe, workers who need good jobs, and all of us who need a stable climate, we urge the EPA to quickly finalize strong carbon pollution standards.”

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At today's hearings, hundreds of Sierra Club members and other concerned Americans asked the EPA to protect them from dangerous carbon pollution and to ensure that new power plants will meet public health standards. Hundreds of people packed the rooms in Chicago's Metcalfe Federal Building and EPA Headquarters in Washington, including moms with small children, sportsmen in camouflage and activists with signs and banners.

There is also a virtual rally where people across the country can send messages to the EPA and to Administrator Lisa Jackson showing support for the carbon pollution standards:

In Chicago, leaders scheduled to testify in favor of the carbon pollution standards include:

  • Alderman Daniel Solis of Chicago’s 25th Ward
  • Jennifer Hirsch, Ph.D.
  • Reverend Clare Butterfield, Executive Director of Faith in Place and the Illinois Interfaith Power & Light
  • Brian Urbaszewski, American Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago
  • Bryan Grochowski, member of Service Employees International Union Local 517
  • Steve Frenkel, director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Midwest office.

In Washington, D.C., testifiers included:

  • Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign
  • Molly Rauch, an activist with the Mom’s Clean Air Force,
  • Laura Anderko, RN, PHD, Endowed Chair at Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies

In the weeks leading up to the public hearings, more than 1.3 million Americans submitted public comments supporting EPA action to adopt carbon pollution standards. Since the EPA public comment period began April 13, the carbon pollution standard has already generated more supportive comments than any other EPA standard in history.


Carbon pollution is the main contributor to global climate disruption and is linked to life-threatening air pollution like smog – making it a serious hazard to Americans’ health and future. Doctors, nurses, scientists, and leading public health groups like the American Lung Association have linked carbon pollution to smog pollution that triggers asthma attacks, damages and reduces the function of the lungs, and can cause heart attacks and even premature deaths. Children and seniors are particularly susceptible to the health consequences of air pollution and climate disruption.

The comment period for the proposed EPA carbon pollution standards concludes June 25.