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Citizens band together in climate control fight

Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 11:39 am

Citizens actively participated in this week’s climate meeting in Heathsville.

About two dozen Northumberland County residents spent three hours this past Sunday learning about a national group called Citizens Climate Control Lobby.

“I’d call it an orientation,” Jay Walker, who attended the meeting, said.

Greg Hougan, who had previously heard about Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) and looked into it, said at the start of the meeting in Heathsville Methodist Church’s fellowship hall that the group was a legitimate way for local people to become involved in working to fend off climate change. Hougan set up Sunday’s meeting.

Steve Valk, CCL’s communications director, came to Heathsville to run the meeting which involved considerable interplay between him and the participants including a role-playing exercise in which he played a congressman and five members of the group played citizens approaching him regarding climate change issues.

Afterwards, Walker said that Valk did not realize how familiar the participants are with Rob Wittman and that his advice was aimed more at people who don’t have such familiarity with their elected officials.

“He didn’t fully appreciate what applied here,” Walker said, adding that even so, the meeting was useful as he expects most of the attendees to join the CCL branch that Haugan is setting up.

Valk said that CCL’s goal is to create the political will to have Congress act to address climate change issues.

It’s marquee issue is a bill that would impose a “carbon tax” on those who use fossil fuels such as coal-fired electricity generating plants.

Part of the proposal calls for any funds the government received from the taxes would be rebated to the public rather than used by the government. That would offset any additional costs consumers had to pay as a result of the tax on the energy producers, he said.

The idea behind the carbon tax plan is to make energy producers turn to alternative means of production.

Using a monthly conference call between the chapters, of which there are 80 now, Valk said, the members are educated about climate change issues and provided “laser talks,” quick information points that can be said in a minute and a half.

Members are able to internalize the information and pass it effortlessly to people such as congressmen who could then act on it.

Those at the meeting agreed to join the next CCL monthly conference call, which will be March 2.

For more information, visit the CCL website at