Clear the Air, a national campaign against dirty power plants, sponsored an event at the Bell Tower on Friday, Sept. 7 to call the White House comment line and leave a message for President Bush.
The words, “Does anyone want to make a call to the White House?” echoed through the plaza in front of the library. Students who called the comment line left the following message: “Mr. President, your proposal to clean up power plants must begin by strengthening not rolling back clean air laws. Power plants must be required to reduce their emissions and do their part to curb global warming.”
Several Temple volunteers were trying to rally students to call the White House. According to Leise Jones of Clear the Air, there are over 600 power plants in the United States that are “grandfathered.” When the Clean Air Act of 1970 was passed, there was a grandfather clause built in to exempt existing plants from conforming to the new lower-emission regulations.
Jones says that since these power plants don’t have to follow the current rules, they are greatly affecting the nation’s air quality and are causing many illnesses.
Recently, there has been a push by many state legislatures to bury the clause. Last May, Senator David Bernsen (D-Beaumont) passed legislation requiring all grandfathered plants to apply for permits by 2003 and adhere to emission reducing standards by 2007.
Clear the Air’s goal was 50 students; however, 35 students attended. They called the comment line using cellular phones that were donated by Sprint PCS.
Freshman Dave Santoro decided to make the call because he feels that “better clean air laws are imperative to keeping the country clean” and he also feels that the government needs to step up their policy.
Besides trying to get students to call, the Clear the Air committee also tried to get students to join a campus crusade for cleaner air. The committee will begin holding meetings in the Student Center on Tuesdays, not only to clean the air, but the environment in general.
“Now that I heard all of this about the air pollution, it got me really interested. I might look into joining the committee to find out more information and try to help the cause,” stated Temple sophomore Tara Wiker.
Besides Temple, there was eight other East Coast colleges that participated in the event. Among those were the University of New Hampshire, the University of Delaware, and Brown University.