WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than two dozen faith leaders from around the D.C. area, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Iowa are testifying this week at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) listening session here on reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants. Religious leaders are likewise speaking out at hearings this week around the country in Atlanta, Denver, and Pittsburgh.
In our religious communities, people understand that climate change is real and are heart-sick about the suffering it will cause.
In addition, people of faith gathered near the EPA headquarters here Tuesday morning to pray for the process and for those providing witness to the importance of the EPA’s rulemaking.
“In our religious communities, people understand that climate change is real and are heart-sick about the suffering it will cause for our neighbors close to home and around the world,” said Joelle Novey, director of Interfaith Power & Light (D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia), one of 40 state programs engaging religious communities in responding to climate issues. “We’re offering our blessings to the EPA for this important process that will finally put some limits on climate pollution from power plants.”
The impacts of climate change are no longer in the future,” said Tricia Bruckbauer, coordinator of Creation Justice Ministries, an organization of 37 national Christian denominations, including the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society, called to climate justice and creation care. “We must reduce our emissions to ensure climate justice for all of God’s people and God’s Creation.”
Opportunity to make history
“The United States has an opportunity to make history with this EPA rule,” said Lisa Sharon Harper, senior director of mobilizing for Sojourners, a Christian organization that articulates the biblical call to social justice. “These safeguards can protect people in every corner of our country, rural and urban, from the devastation of climate change. This move can only be hailed by my evangelical colleagues and all people of faith as one more step toward protection of the image of God in all people on our soil.”
The United States has an opportunity to make history with this EPA rule.
Faith communities throughout the United States have reduced their carbon emissions by weatherizing their buildings, investing in renewable energy, and choosing low-carbon options that are more sustainable. They are calling on government and utilities throughout the United States to do the same.
Among those speaking before the EPA is Jaydee Hanson of Caretakers of God’s Creation, a United Methodist initiative. He is expected to speak at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, July 30, at EPA’s William Jefferson Clinton Building, Room 1153, 1201 Constitution Ave, NW. There will be two hearing rooms in use simultaneously.
People from nine Christian denominations and the Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Unitarian Universalist traditions are urging EPA to move quickly and finalize these safeguards to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.