The following is testimony provided by Katie Maxwell to the US EPA regarding their proposal to replace the Clean Power Plan.
My name is Katie Maxwell and I am part of the communications team at Faith in Place – Illinois’ Interfaith Power; Light Affiliate. I am speaking today for those that can’t afford to take a day off work and for people of faith who care deeply about our planet. A lifelong resident of Illinois and a recent Environmental Studies graduate of St. Olaf College, I am passionate about environmental justice because the adverse effects are close to home.
My mother grew up in Northwest Indiana during the late 60s and 70s. She tells me you could see an orange haze in the air driving along the Skyway into Chicago. Thanks in large part to the Clean Air Act, the industrial smog was cleaned up. But the poor air quality left my mom with chronic health conditions – asthma and severe food allergies – that she fights every day. Some days, it’s hard for her to simply leave the house due to her pain. I’m thankful she has access to health care providers who help her manage her symptoms. I know that isn’t the case for many across the country, especially in communities of color. Communities that will experience a disproportionate number of the EPA’s estimated 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030 under the proposed rule.
As a person of faith who values the beautiful diversity of communities, both human and nonhuman, here in Chicago and across the globe, it is unconscionable to me that we as a nation would put our own at risk. That we might choose profit over health, instantaneous gratification over preservation of what matters most: hope.
Whatever creed we adhere to, it’s our moral obligation to do right by our neighbors.
I’m asking the EPA to reject the proposed Affordable Clean Energy Rule and to not replace the Clean Power Plan. We have made good progress toward a better tomorrow with the current rule. Why get rid of something that is expected to annually save between 1,500 and 3,600 lives?
Thank you for your time and for hearing my testimony today.