On Monday, close to 300 Sierra Club members and activists, clergy and people of faith, scientists, health professionals, and even a former 007 turned out for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) global warming endangerment hearing in Arlington , VA.
Support for the endangerment finding and further regulation of cars and coal plants overwhelmed any opposition, with an unofficial estimate of more than 90% of testimony in favor of the endangerment finding.
The day began with a representative from the State of New York speaking on behalf of Gov. David Paterson, and a representative from the Association of Clean Air Agencies - and from then on it was one excellent speaker after another all urging EPA to take action on regulating global warming pollution.
We heard doctors talk about the health impacts, scientists discuss the climate models, regular citizens tell personal stories, and many clergy people talking about why we should take action and why their faith communities are involved.
"(They) were really amazing," said one Sierra Club staffer. "To hear perspectives from almost every major tradition on the importance of acting on global warming was a powerful experience-- one that the EPA panel was still talking about during one of the breaks."
Keely and Pierce Brosnan also showed up to testify and really enjoyed themselves. We were all appreciative of the willingness of the Brosnans to stay through additional testimony after they spoke, spend some time afterward talking to hearing attendees, and take a few pictures.
(Then the paparazzi chased the Brosnans' car - which I was riding in - from the hearing all the way back to DC, and then the cameras followed us into a Barnes and Noble, where security finally chased them away. The good news is that I loaded the Brosnans up with good books on coal and global warming.)
EPA moved very quickly through all the testimony, and the hearing wrapped at 8pm.
We agree whole-heartedly with David Bookbinder, Sierra Club's Chief Climate Counsel, who said Monday that "it's clear, from the crowd of people who turned out today, and the thousands of people who have already submitted comments, that there is broad public support for strong action on global warming."
Tomorrow in Seattle is the second EPA public hearing on the global warming endangerment finding. You can sign up to attend our mid-day rally, and if you can't make that - then be sure to send your comments to the EPA about why they should regulate global warming pollution.