I had the opportunity on July 31 to speak in the Federal Building addressing a panel of representatives from our Environmental Protection Agency. I have to admit I was truly not looking forward to coming to town, trying to find parking, which is too expensive for me, and, more important, navigating those opposed to the new clean air regulations who sadly believe it will only cost them unemployment.
I was delighted to see how well our city was prepared. Working for a good portion of my life in Downtown, I have the advantage of being able to find a garage once you’ve driven by numerous “full” signs. I also retain the knowledge of specifically which areas are more likely to be blocked off because of the planned marches — which occurred near the noon hour. I watched the evening news to confirm my experience of nonviolence between the two diverse “ideas” marching up numerous streets — at the same time along Penn and Liberty avenues.
I was assigned to the 15th floor, Room B, to give my five-minute testimony. All was very well organized from the moment of the security checks in the lobby to the room where the three EPA representatives listened attentively. They utilized a simple green/yellow/red signal to let the speakers be aware of their time limits. Very few tried to go over the time allotted.
The 38 who spoke came from New York, Ohio, Virginia and elsewhere. Some were older and grayer than my own head! We had Carnegie Mellon University professors, engineers and young people nervously presenting their researched statistics on damaging health concerns. We respected the gentleman whose views included the impeachment of our President Barack Obama!
The whole experience made me proud to be a Pittsburgher and a U.S. citizen. I am glad I participated and my voice will be included in their decision-making process.