Tuesday, November 19, 2013

EPA Holds a Listening Session in Philly On Carbon Regulations for Existing Power Plants

EPA Listening Sessions on carbon regulations for existing power plants were held in 11 cities around the US in October & November 2013.  Philadelphia's was on Nov. 8—the only session to be held in a state that is both a major producer and user of coal.  Despite that, of the 94 people who testified at the session, only 16 spoke against the rule, while 76 spoke in favor, and 2 were neutral.

The fossil fuel industry paraded out their usual hackneyed denialist rhetoric. Here are a few quotes from those speaking in opposition (as captured by Russell Zerbo of Clean Air Council):

Emil Myer, President IBEW Local 614, displayed ignorance of the science of climate disruption by making the irrelevant point, "Carbon is not a poison…It's the only thing that keeps plants alive."

Electric Reliability Coordinating Council made the fallacious claims that the rule would have "no real impact on global warming" and would "hamper or stifle innovation."

John Gibbs, Business Agent for IBEW Local 614, stated, "We're all used to the comforts of life," ignoring the fact that a substantial proportion of energy use in industrialized European nations are generated by sustainable alternatives.

Additional questionable claims made during the PA Coal Alliance's anti-regulation testimony can be found an article in a local business journal.

Speakers in favor of regulating carbon made a powerful case for regulation of dirty, antiquated forms of energy:

Jan Marie Rushforth of Rushforth Solar business said there are currently 174,000 gas and oil industry jobs, while there are 3.1 million renewable energy jobs.  She pointed out that the #1 cause of kids missing school is asthma, which is exacerbated by climate change.

Clifford Wagner, a science exhibit designer and one of the Sierra Club's supporters, said sea level rise could easily be 1 meter by 2050, and tidal wetlands will be decimated.  He was an early adopter of climate change thinking:  in 1988 he helped design a display on global warming for the Franklin Institute.

This being Philadelphia, 6 of those who testified identified themselves as Quakers, including the head of Friends Fiduciary, which provides prudent, cost-effective management of financial assets for Friends organizations.  The Friends Fiduciary Corporation Board decided recently that they will exclude from their portfolios those companies whose primary business is the mining or production of coal.

One of those who testified, Gary Witt, Assistant Professor of Finance at Temple University, identified himself as a registered Republican and a supporter of carbon controls.

A Swarthmore College student who testified in support of climate action, Laura Rigell, said she traveled as an observer to climate talks in Cancun and was about to go to the Warsaw climate talks coming up this week.

The day included a press conference at Independence Mall featuring 6 speakers:  Mitch Hescox of the Evangelical Environmental Network; Brian Kauffman, Executive Director of the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance; Ed Perry of the National Wildlife Federation (speaking as a sport fisherman); Walter Tsou, president of Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility; Gretchen Alfonso of Moms Clean Air Force; and Joy Bergey of Penn Future.  It was covered by Sandy Bauer of the Inquirer, as well as a writer and a photographer from WHYY public radio.  Brief clips of the coverage were aired on 11/9.  A crowd of about 30 people was present to hear the speakers.

Acknowledgements of Contributions From Sierra Club Volunteers

Eight Philadelphia area volunteers did phone-banking to encourage people to come out for the session:  Karen Melton, Gillian Norris, Matt Henry, Linda Yborra, Alexa Manning, Ashley Nagle, Martha Ralphe, and Sue Edwards. Randy Francisco, a Sierra Club field staff organizer from western PA, sent out e-mails that also brought people out.

Additionally, Gary Lytle recruited about 6 or 8 veterans to come from the The Philadelphia Veterans Multiservice and Education Center.  These were men who have participated in several Sierra Club activities recently.  Three of them gave testimony at the hearing.

Sue Edwards, Robin Mann, Jim Wylie, and Karen Melton each spent time signing people in as they arrived at the Federal Building to testify in support of the regulations.   Randy Francisco provided 50 colorful aqua T-shirts reading "Our Communities Need CLIMATE ACTION NOW," which were eagerly snatched up by attendees.

Sue Edwards
E Bryan Crenshaw III
Sierra Club Volunteer Activists

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sierra Club Educational Program: SEPTA

The Sierra Club of Southeastern PA and  the CCP Coalition for a Sustainable Future Present:

SEPTA: Will it get enough money from Harrisburg?  What is it doing for the environment?

Who: Erik Johanson of SEPTA will speak.
When: Monday November 18, 2013 at 6:45 PM
Where: Center for Business and Industry of the Community College of Philadelphia, 18th/Callowhill Streets NE corner, 3rd floor,Room C3-05.
There is resistance in Harrisburg to giving transit the money it needs.  If the state gives too little, there will be service cutbacks.

Hybrid buses reduce diesel fuel consumption, helping cut air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.  A new braking system on trains recovers and stores energy normally lost when the train slows.   Bus drivers have been told not to idle their engines.  SEPTA recycles.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hiking with Sierra Club Activists and Veterans Along the Schuylkill River Trail.

Hiking With Sierra Club Activists and Veterans Along the Schuylkill River TrailHiking With Sierra Club Activists and Veterans Along the Schuylkill River TrailHiking With Sierra Club Activists and Veterans Along the Schuylkill River TrailHiking With Sierra Club Activists and Veterans Along the Schuylkill River TrailHiking With Sierra Club Activists and Veterans Along the Schuylkill River Trail
Hiking with Sierra Club Activists and Veterans Along the Schuylkill River Trail., a set on Flickr (Click on the pictures to view full sized on our Flickr site).

In our second outing as a part of the Sierra Club effort to provide opportunities for veterans and military families to experience nature, we sponsored a hike along the Schuylkill River Trail from Boathouse Row to East Falls, where we shared lunch at Johnny Mananas.

For details of the hike, see the hike announcement post.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Hiking With Sierra Club Activists and Veterans Along the Schuylkill River Trail on Sat., Nov 2nd

Join us in our second local outing as a part of the Sierra Club’s Military Families and Veterans Initiative. We will hike with veterans along the Schuylkill River Trail from Boathouse Row to the Wissahickon Transportation Center with a stop in East Falls for a light lunch (see map below). 

When: Saturday, Nov. 2nd at 2pm
Start: Cosmic Café, Boathouse Row, Kelly Dr. and Sedgely Rd.
Finish: Wissahickon Transportation Center (WTC), Main St. and Ridge Ave.
Lunch: Johnny Mananas, Midvale Ave and Ridge Ave

WTC and East Falls provide multiple routes for public transportation home at the end of the hike. A limited number of seats will be available to carry people who park their car at Boathouse Row back from the WTC (Please RSVP for ride back in addition to letting us know whether you will make the hike) at 2pm-4ish (approx. 1.5 hr hiking time). RSVP to William Kramer (william.kramer(at)sierraclub.org)

View Hike from Cosmic Cafe to Wissahickon Transportation Center in a larger map

Sierra Club Jack O'Lantern

Our own Jim Wylie has as much talent as he does time on his hands. ;-) Great job, Jim!

Sierra Club Jack O'Lantern

Hope you all had a Boo-tiful Halloween!