, Newburyport, MA

November 13, 2013

Storm Surge chairman testifies at EPA hearing

Newburyport Daily News

---- — BOSTON — Changing the world and nation starts at home, Storm Surge chairman Mike Morris testified last week at the Environmental Protection Agency’s listening session about coal- and gas-fired power plants.

“I represent a local group of concerned citizens, professionals and scientists who have gathered together to form a nonprofit organization called Storm Surge,” Morris, a coastal consultant, speaker and researcher, told federal officials.

Storm Surge is The Merrimack Valley Coastal Adaptation Workgroup that is holding a climate change speaker series at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.

“We recognized the need to help our communities prepare for the climate and sea-level-rise impacts that lie ahead,” Morris said.

“Though climate change is a global issue,” he testified, “its consequences are being felt by real people, locally in my backyard.

“We’ve all seen images of disasters on TV,” said the West Newbury resident and Plum Island property owner, but it’s different when it’s people you know. “These are real people, at ground level, living the video we see on the news.”

“We know that climate change is happening, because of human activity and our energy choices,” he said.

“So this is a problem we can solve,” Morris testified. “Storm Surge supports new rules to limit, and ultimately phase out, coal- and gas-fired power plants, so that we can start applying the brakes to our changing climate.

“With my own eyes over the last decade,” he told federal officials, “I’ve witnessed our warming world and rising ocean jeopardize my coastal community, its economy and our public health.

“The changes set in motion and the devastating events we’re now experiencing were prescribed by the behavior of our grandparents and great-grandparents, and can’t be called back,” he said.

“However, our grandparents weren’t ill-willed and wouldn’t have wished the future we now have; they just didn’t know any better,” he said.

“The difference is that we do know better,” he testified.

“Our children will inherit the tomorrow that we create today. It’s within our grasp to make their future less uncertain by taking action and doing our part to reduce our nation’s carbon footprint.

“Developing new rules to limit and ultimately phase out coal- and gas-fired power plants are in line with this objective,” Morris told the EPA.