Less than 10 activists visited U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson’s Concord headquarters on Aug. 13 to hold Hudson accountable for being a climate change denier.Volunteers from Concord, Charlotte and the Lake Norman area represented Organizing For Action and the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters. They were part of a national effort to distribute Congressional Climate Denier Awards that featured a mounted silver unicorn with an engraved message that cited recipients for “exceptional extremism and ignoring the overwhelming judgment of science.”According to an email distributed by OFA, 135 members of Congress, including Hudson, were slated to get an award delivered on Aug. 13. “These awards are as real as the scientific evidence saying climate change is happening,” social director Caleb Gardner said in an announcement on OFA’s website. “The volunteers who (delivered) them are hoping they will serve as a physical reminder that their constituents will hold these lawmakers accountable to their votes on climate issues.”Hudson wasn’t in the office during the group’s visit, but staff took notes and emailed questions to him. Hudson issued the following statement: “My door is always open to constituents,” he said. “Whether or not we agree on an issue, I value and take into account their opinions and concerns.”When asked if human activity is contributing to climate change, Hudson responded “no,” according to votesmart.org.When Cabarrus News asked about legislation he supports or wouldn’t support, in the same statement Hudson said, “I do not support a carbon tax or other tax increases on hardworking North Carolinians that destroy millions of jobs and increase utility bills at home and gas prices at the pump.”According to OFA’s website, barakobama.com, the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization aims to support policies Americans voted for in 2012. The North Carolina League of Conservation Voters has worked for 40 years to integrate sensible environmental values into North Carolina priorities, according to its website, nclcv.org.OFA volunteers and activists at the rally in Concord said the debate about whether climate change is real has been over for a long time, adding that a majority of Americans and 97 percent of climate scientists – including NASA , National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Academy of Sciences – agree. Anna Walker, an OFA volunteer from Charlotte, also is involved with the N.C. League of Conservation Voters. She said the group spoke to Hudson’s office staff about environmental issues that impact the state, the country and, ultimately, the world.“We talked about fracking, the Keystone pipeline; we talked about bees, pesticides … and the long-term effects of all the things we’re doing now, and how they’re going to impact the next generation and generations to follow, when all of us who are making noise now disappear,” said Walker. “The world our grandchildren are going to have is going to be completely different than the world we have today unless we start doing something. In a lot of ways, it’s already too late. But there are still things we can do to stop it.”Currently, there are no long-term plans to properly dispose of coal ash, expired nuclear rods or to regulate fracking, which requires the use of a lot of water, said Walker, who admits solutions are hard to come by.“I don’t think we have any solutions,” said Walker. “I just think that these are the things that need to be looked at and we can’t give corporations a blank check to do what they want.“We wanted (Hudson) to be aware that things that are being voted on today – that favor big oil and large corporations – have an impact on the next generation. And nobody’s thinking about consequences of their actions. Nobody’s thinking about what’s going to happen 10 years down the road.”
Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013
Activists ask U.S. Rep. Hudson to accept climate change
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