Heartfelt Testimonies Make the Difference at Philadelphia Hearing

Last week, I traveled to Philadelphia to testify at my first public hearing.  Upon my arrival, I immediately began to second guess myself and question my earlier enthusiasm at the opportunity to speak publically as a representative of the National Wildlife Federation.  With what authority did I have to speak about carbon emissions and fuel efficiency standards?  I thought to myself, Larry Schweiger (President and CEO of NWF) had testified the previous day in Detroit; certainly, someone of greater import than I should be speaking today.

I spent the day listening to numerous policy experts and representatives from various industries that will be affected by the proposed standards.  While these individuals’ testimonies were informative, and many of their perspectives were necessary to the discussion, they tended to blur together.

It was the nurses, religious leaders, U.S. military veterans, and soccer moms whose testimonies caught my attention.   Because they were speaking from personal experience, it was their voices that stood out throughout the hearing.

  • A nurse who regularly tends to children with asthma spoke about children too scared to walk up a flight of stairs, fearful it may bring on an attack.
  • NWF’s own Ed Perry told us about a fishing trip he took with his sons where they encountered lifeless bass floating down the river, killed by rising water temperatures.
  • An African American woman spoke of the asthmatic children from communities disproportionately affected by reduced air quality.
  • I was almost brought to tears when a veteran from the Truman National Security Project told us of the classmates he’d buried who’d been killed by explosives paid for with U.S. money used to purchase oil.

I was not only touched by the sincerity of these pleas to limit the pollution released into our air, I was struck by the wide range of reasons for these pleas.  It was clear from the diversity of those in testifying, that clean air isn’t just an environmental issue; it’s a human issue.  I realized that those dealing directly with the impacts of the use of dirty fossil fuels have not only the authority, but the responsibility, to speak up for change because it is their stories that I, and I’m certain others, took away from the hearing.

Take ActionTake Action! Help protect America’s pika by editing and sending comments to the Environmental Protection Agency in support of strong fuel efficiency standards for cars.

And don’t forget to personalize your message!