RALEIGH – More than 16,000 North Carolina citizens have spoken out against Gov. Pat McCrory’s response to the federal Clean Power Plan, the first-ever plan to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, before the public comment period closes today.
The Clean Power Plan, a historic step to combat to the effects of climate change, will protect public health by making our air cleaner and stimulate our economy by investing in renewable energy. But, rather than comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to reduce carbon pollution, McCrory and his environmental agency have developed a plan designed to fail, wasting valuable time and taxpayer dollars.
The people of North Carolina are sending their message loud and clear to the governor: It’s time to get serious about climate change. Urging state leaders to put forward a stronger plan that puts North Carolina on track for a healthier future, 16,352 supporters of environmental organizations across the state submitted written comments and 105 people delivered remarks at three public hearings that collectively drew a turnout of 380 citizens.
Citizens are not alone in their call to action. Business, health and faith leaders have joined in, calling on the McCrory administration to take the Clean Power Plan seriously.
For many North Carolina-based businesses, environmental stewardship is what customers have come to expect. Jared Burton, New Belgium’s field marketing manager, said the state should follow the business community’s lead in embracing clean power.
“New Belgium's desire to be a business role model starts with our core values and beliefs,” Burton said. “North Carolina has a similar opportunity to lead by crafting a Clean Power Plan that utilizes all our clean energy options, including wind and solar. I know that, if North Carolina chooses to tackle climate change and invest in renewable energy, we will look back on this decision as one of the defining moments that set our state up for success."
Dr. Jeff Walden, faculty physician at Cone Health Family Medicine in Greensboro, is seeing the effects of climate change first-hand in his family practice, as more patients visit his office during the hotter summer months, longer pollen season and more extreme weather events.
“Climate change creates great risk for exacerbated asthma and allergies and increases in mosquito- and tick-borne diseases like West Nile virus, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever,” Walden said. “I’m particularly concerned for my low-income patients, who suffer the worst effects from flooding and severe weather. These events can plunge them deeper into poverty and precipitate anxiety and depression.”
The Reverend Dr. Jennifer Copeland, executive director of the NC Council of Churches, said addressing the issues and impacts of climate change is a moral imperative, especially as we look forward to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday.
“People all over the state are recognizing that climate justice is one of the biggest civil rights issues of our time. We are seeing its impact in our own communities in the form of record-breaking temperatures, floods, droughts, hurricanes, and the list goes on and on,” Copeland said. “When your children suffer from asthma and cannot go outside to play, as is the case for many disenfranchised communities, it is a civil rights issue.”
The McCrory administration plans to file suit against the EPA, embroiling the state in a legal battle, even though North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard means the state is well positioned to reduce its carbon pollution by 36 percent by 2030, as the Clean Power Plan mandates.
For more information, please contact:
Liz Kazal, Environment North Carolina, firstname.lastname@example.org, 228-209-4564
Bridget Whelan, North Carolina Conservation Network, email@example.com, 313-919-5919