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2000 Turn Out for EPA Rally!

Three weeks ago the EPA announced that it would hold two hearings on its endangerment finding, that global warming pollution is a threat to public health and welfare. The Sierra Club kicked into gear to demonstrate the outpouring of public support for fast, scientifically-based, and substantial actions on climate change. We turned to our volunteers, coalition partners and staff throughout the country to lead that effort. 

 

A spirited crowd estimated at 2,000 people gathered outside an EPA hearing in Seattle today, urging the Obama Administration to take action on reducing global warming pollution. Hundreds of children and students joined members of the faith community, health officials, business leaders, environmental leaders, and elected officials to call upon the administration and congress to address the threat to public health posed by global warming pollution, support real solutions to global warming, create more green jobs and opportunity in the growing clean energy economy and end America’s dependence on dirty energy sources like coal. The rally was kicked off by Sierra Club staffer Kathleen Ridihalgh rallying dozens of kids on the stage in a chant -- "Act Now! End Coal!"

 

In the morning, Washington's Governor Christine Gregoire made a significant announcement to further move our state in her commitment to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. She signed an executive order that sets a low-carbon fuel standard, reduces traffic and emissions in urban areas, and requires Washington’s only coal-fired electricity generating plant -- the TransAlta facility in Centralia -- to comply with the state emissions performance standard usually reserved for new power plants no later than 2025, resulting in at least 50% emissions reductions from the plant. This is an improvement from a stalled piece of legislation that, opposed by the Sierra Club, would have tied our hands in accelerating TransAlta's emission reductions. 

 

This amazing feat was lead by a small and dedicated team -- in particular with help from Climate Solutions' Joelle Robinson and Beth Doglio, and a herculean effort by the whole environmental community (WEC, FUSE, EarthMinistry, Greenpeace, WPSR, NWF, - just to name a few!) here in Seattle.  Children were the face and voice of this event - from the Cool Mom toddlers, to the red-shirted junior high kids to the college leaders and the loud SSC'rs!

 

Other event highlights:

* most (we'd guess 90%) of the testimony was supportive of the EPA's endangerment finding and action on reducing climate change

* Cesia Kearns and Robin Everett did an amazing job recruiting more than 120 volunteers to bus and carpool from Oregon - taking the entire day (a 6 hour round trip) to testify and be part of the hearing 

* Craig Segall twittering almost every hearing quote, and it going national

* fantastic volunteer and coalition coordination by Jordan Macha, who came up from Louisianna to get us to scale, and organizing by Ethan Bergerson had three weeks of phonebanks and volunteer activities to recruit our members

* mailed 15,000 postcards and have already received hundreds back to add to the comment record