Hundreds of Tennesseans from across the state gathered with Mayor Andy Berke, Sierra Club President Aaron Mair, and other community leaders at Highland Park Commons on Saturday for the second annual Cool Down ChattTown Festival to celebrate the Chattanooga community, sustainability, and the new Clean Power Plan.
The CPP, recently finalized by the Obama Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, will implement the first carbon pollution reductions for power plants.
“The Clean Power Plan’s release marks the end of an era for dirty power plants that have spewed dangerous pollution into our air without limits for too long,” said Aaron Mair, president of the Sierra Club. “It signifies a new era of growth for affordable and safe clean energy sources that don’t fuel climate disruption and sicken our communities. This plan is a victory for every American who wants clean air to breathe, and for the millions of activists and concerned citizens who organized to make sure this day would finally come.”
Families who attended the event had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Mair, learn about gardening, energy efficiency, renewable energy, bike safety, and other sustainability topics, and to sign a thank you card to President Obama and the EPA.
The event was hosted by Empower Chattanooga, Highland Park Neighborhood Association, Moms Clean Air Force, Sierra Club, and Climate Chattanooga, a coalition of 26 faith, social justice, environmental, education, and business organizations.
"The Clean Power Plan puts Chattanooga in a great position to implement the highest energy efficiency standards to lower utility bills for those least able to pay high rates for dirty energy,” said Sam Fulbright, Empower Chattanooga program coordinator. "Beyond efficiency measures, the Clean Power Plan is an opportunity for all of Tennessee to invest in renewable energy, generating clean, reliable electricity and tapping into the explosive renewable energy job market. Chattanooga has the chance to lead Tennessee to the forefront of the emerging green energy economy, improved public health standards, and a just and equal community for all."
"The Clean Power Plan is an unprecedented opportunity for Tennessee,” said Chris Ann Lunghino, Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign organizer in Tennessee. “Governor Haslam should take full advantage of this opportunity to accelerate our state’s shift to clean energy development from dirty fossil fuels. The Tennessee Valley Authority has already made a 30 percent reduction in carbon pollution, in part by closing its oldest, dirtiest coal plants."
"Investing in clean renewable energy and energy efficiency will help make our workforce healthier and will insulate people from fuel price fluctuations, preventing bill shocks from coal or gas price spikes,” said Sandy Kurtz, Sierra Club Cherokee Group conservation chair.