Clean-energy voices to speak out

Advocates of a clean-energy economy will rally Thursday in Seattle as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducts a public hearing about its recent proposed finding that greenhouse gases threaten public health.

Green-energy supporters will be out in force to back an EPA decision about the so-called endangerment finding. It’s a critical step toward regulating global warming pollution from coal plants, cars and other major pollution sources, said Beth Doglio, campaign director in the Olympia office of Climate Solutions, a clean-energy action group.

Doglio said the noon rally at Pier 66 – next to Bell Harbor Conference Center, where the EPA will conduct the daylong hearing – is not a protest or demonstration. Rather, she said, it’s a show of support for federal action on greenhouse-gas emission controls.

“We’re telling EPA, ‘Thanks for having this hearing in Seattle,’” Doglio said of the rally.

People who want to testify at the hearing had to sign up weeks in advance to grab one of the more than 200 time slots.

Johnny Druelinger, 26, a student studying sustainable community strategies at The Evergreen State College, applied in April to testify and found out Friday that he has one of the coveted morning time slots to speak his mind to EPA officials.

He will urge the EPA and the Obama administration to take action to curb global warming.

“The last administration ignored this problem,” he said. “It was kind of a slap in the face of younger generations.”

Druelinger was referring to the Bush administration’s unwillingness to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the federal Clean Air Act.

In April 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases are pollutants covered under the nation’s foremost air-quality law.

Last month, the EPA issued two proposed findings – that greenhouse gases threaten public health and that emissions from new motor vehicles contribute to the threat of climate change.

“This finding is historic, and it is the first time that the federal government has asked the public to comment on whether or not we want out government to limit global warming pollution,” Doglio said.

The public has until June 23 to comment on the EPA proposal. For more information, go to www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment.html.

John Dodge: 360-754-5444