More than 200 mothers and their children marched to dozens of Senate offices Wednesday, carrying handwritten signs and calling for members of Congress to support the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed anti-pollution rules, which seek to cut carbon emissions from power plants by 30%.
"By the time my kids are adults, storms like Hurricane Katrina and superstorm Hurricane Sandy will be commonplace," said Heather Clark, a member of the Moms Clean Air Force and lead organizer of the protest. "As parents we must demand that Congress stand behind these regulations as written and not tear them down."
FOR THE RECORD
July 11, 8:20 a.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly described Clean Air Carolina board member Danielle Hilton as an attorney.
The protest drew mothers from eight states and the District of Columbia. Protesters cited their children's future as their key motivation for acting on climate change. Many said it was their responsibility as a parent to urge members of Congress to act.
"Using families is great because there are power in numbers," said Kelly Nichols, a mother from Chicago. " It shows it's not just a bunch of hippie liberals who don't believe in family values. Clearly we're fighting the same fight."
Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) voiced support for the mothers.
"We have some very big polluters who are polluting our planet," Whitehouse said. "We have those same polluters who are polluting our democracy with a lot of money and a lot of influence. And up against those big polluters, we have the Moms Clean Air Force. And I want to tell you that my money is on the moms."
Boxer talked about the health implications of air pollution, including asthma.
"If you can't breathe, you can't go to school. And if you can't breathe, you can't go to work," she said. "So if we ignore pollution from carbon we are walking right into a death trap."
Danielle Hilton of Charlotte, N.C., a board member of Clean Air Carolina, asked that members of Congress place public health over private interests.