Mama Summit pushes clean air, climate action

virginia general assemblyVirginia grandparents, moms, dads, and kids traveled to the General Assembly Building Wednesday to demand climate action from state lawmakers at the Mama Summit.

Families joined by Moms Clean Air Force, Elders for Climate Action, the Southeast CARE Coalition, and VA Sierra Club called on legislators to protect millions of Virginians from air pollution, and dangerous climate change by supporting the Clean Power Plan’s clean air initiatives.

Samantha Ahdoot, MD, FAAP, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Inova Alexandria Hospital, stated, “Every child deserves a safe, healthy environment in which to live, play, and grow up.  As a pediatrician, I can treat individual children in my office. But I can help protect the health of every child when I advocate for legislation that reduces pollution that contaminates our air and disrupts our climate.  I am proud to attend the VA Mama’s Summit and to be a voice for children’s health in Virginia.”

The state of Virginia is currently in the process of creating its state implementation strategy for the Clean Power Plan which limits carbon pollution from power plants and encourages energy efficiency and clean energy investments to protect future generations of Virginians from dangerous air pollution, climate change, dirty coal, and sea level rise.

“My community is on the frontline of climate disruption such as worsening air quality and sea level rise. The Southeast Children Asthma Network has been working to address asthma in our neighborhood. ” said Angela Harris, founder and CEO of All From One, Inc. and Youth/Community Coordinator for the Southeast CARE Coalition and the Southeast Children Asthma Network both serving the Southeast Community of Newport News, Virginia.

“Climate change poses an immediate and growing threat to coastal Virginians, who are experiencing a number of severe weather events and rising sea levels that threaten homes and businesses.  We need to act, and my bill, the Virginia Coastal Protection Act, creates Virginia’s first dedicated fund to prepare our coastal communities to meet the challenges of sea level rise.” said Virginia Senator Donald McEachin (D-Henrico).

“With the largest naval base in the world – Naval Station Norfolk – in an area that is rated second only to New Orleans in the entire United States for its vulnerability to sea level rise, the future of Virginia’s economy and security depend on us taking action,” said Delegate Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington). “By investing in renewable energy, we can diversify Virginia’s energy mix, reduce the effects of sea level rise, and actually strengthen our national security by creating a more sustainable energy future.”

Despite the outcry from parents and grandparents for climate action, several bills (HB 2, SB 21, SB 482) attacking the timely implementation of the Clean Power Plan in the Commonwealth have been introduced and are moving through the General Assembly this session.

The VA Mama Summit brings together parents in a bipartisan, or MOMpartisan, way to demand action to protect the air our children and grandchildren breathe and call for action on climate change. Conversation Lobby Day is the opportunity for environmental supporters, activists, and professionals to gather in Richmond and speak with their legislators about the issues most critical to our Commonwealth’s everlasting health.

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