* FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE *
SEATTLE, Washington, USA -- Friday, August 14, 2009 -- Students from three of America's top college debate programs - Harvard, Whitman, and University of Puget Sound -- will meet in Seattle to debate whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has achieved its environmental justice mandate in the Puget Sound, or if minority and low income groups are still disproportionately impacted by methylmercury pollution. The students will debate both sides of the resolution: "The EPA should incorporate environmental justice concerns into the development and implementation of methylmercury regulations." The debate is a timely one given growing concerns over the impact of methylmercury contamination on individuals living in poverty, minorities, and women of color.
The debate will occur as part the EPA's 2009 Community Involvement Training Conference during a session titled, "Using Intercollegiate Debate to Inform Environmental Policy Discourse in America." It will be moderated by John Davis II, chief executive of Debate Solutions, LLC. One goal of the session is to demonstrate the ways in which policy debaters can help make complex public policy discussions accessible to the public.
The EPA debate also marks the first involvement of a new organization, the Washington Debate Coalition (WDC), in promoting debate in the State of Washington. The WDC, a non-profit organization founded by Anjali Vats, is dedicated to providing students with opportunities to participate in competitive debate and to become effective citizen advocates.
Vats said, "This event is emblematic of the ways in which debate provides students with opportunities to learn about pressing public concerns and make their voices heard to policymakers. The WDC looks forward to supporting local debate programs and hosting public debate events in the future."
The debate is open to the public and will take place on Tuesday, August 18, 2009, from 9:30-11:00 a.m at the Grand Hyatt Seattle (721 Pine Street, Seattle (206) 774-1234). Further details about the EPA conference are at http://www.epa.gov/ciconference/index.htm.
President, Washington Debate Coalition
Chief Executive, Debate Solutions
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