Statement to the EPA on Clean Power Plan
Thank you for taking the time to listen to the public at your hearings. My name is Graham Smith-White. I am here before you in a variety of roles. As an artist, as a leader in West Virginia communities concerned with energy and the environment, as a real world example and, most importantly, as a supporter of the Clean Power Plan
Through my professional music career I have first hand experience at evaluating the carbon emissions of my activities. I power my recording equipment with solar energy and have taken steps to be as efficient with my energy needs and usage as I can. I have ridden my bicycle, a zero carbon mode of transportation, from WV to perform in Washington D.C. and Wolf Trap National Park. I have recorded and performed at mountain top removal sites, pristine highland streams, national parks and nature preserves. I have, through my creative practice, developed an understanding of the nature and level of attention involved in conscious changes in energy production. It is not simple, but it is not hard. Clean, renewable energy sources prove reliable and effective every time I use them. Any protest to the difficulty of acting in a conscious and intentional manner regarding energy production, is, in my experience, an admission of laziness. I urge the Environmental Protection Agency not to accept laziness as a reason the production of power be exempted from acting responsibly and respectfully with regards to the pollution of our nation's air.
The targets outlined in the Clean Power Plan are reasonable and achievable. As a community leader in West Virginia I am involved in myriad of endeavors related to energy use and production in the state. As has already been noted by the EPA, efforts are already underway to improve the efficiency of buildings and systems in the public and private realm. There is strong interest in renewable energy sources despite a glaring lack of support and regressive attitudes from state entities and public utilities. There is so much interest that we have taken matters into our own hands with the development of innovative community approaches to financing including incentivized demand response programs and co-operative solar purchasing groups. The benefits of clean, renewable energy sources and genuine energy efficiency programs are many. Resilient, stable local electricity grids serve the needs of communities in the remote, wild and wonderful reaches of the state. In these areas power outages are frequent and impact such diverse areas as food pantries, water supply and medical needs. Distributed energy generation is uniquely suited as an ideal power source for many residents of West Virginia. In addition, the pollution created by carbon intensive energy sources impacts the health of rural and urban communities at all stages of the production cycle from extraction to generation. The mines poison waters and ecosystems and the smokestacks from the power plants spew respiratory illness on the young and old alike. Clean, emission free energy serves to support the overall wellness of communities throughout West Virginia and the rest of the nation through economic benefits as well. Renewable energy and energy efficiency are growing areas of employment surpassing fossil fuel and continuing to increase at a rate 10 times the overall national average.
I have one of these jobs created by renewable energy adoption. I work for a company based in West Virginia selling photovoltaic systems across the country. I spend my days investigating the installation of clean energy for homes and businesses to offset growing energy costs and become self sufficient. From this experience I can say definitively that leadership in the adoption of renewable energy is in the hands of the states. There are many models available for programs to encourage renewable, emission free energy sources which can be instituted to meet the requirements of the Clean Power Plan. It is only a matter of will and determination which keep these programs from creating strong, healthy energy systems which benefit everyone.