Faith Groups Oppose the Dismantling of the Clean Power Plan

Faith communities vigorously oppose the administration's decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan. Our faith traditions see the care of creation and protection of the vulnerable as two of humanity's fundamental responsibilities. Below are the responses of many different faith groups to this decision. 

---

The Columban Center opposes the EPA’s decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan. Columban missionaries working across the globe have witnessed the horrible devastation carbon pollution wreaks on the earth and the vulnerable. This administration continues to demonstrate that they do not appreciate the extent to which the insatiable energy demands of our economy are tearing apart the web of life, with disastrous consequences for future generations.

We encourage the administration to think creatively about how we can replace fossil fuels with renewable energies. We can take care of our workers, our vulnerable, and our environment all at once. What we can no longer afford to do is ignore the realities before us and place profits over people, the interest of a small few over the good of everyone.

Scott Wright
Director, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Knowing the multiple benefits of reduced carbon pollution - health, societal, economic, and environmental - we cannot afford to let certain domestic interests affect what we know and believe to be true: that climate change is real and increasingly dangerous.

The United States has been a leader in environmental policies that move our country and the rest of the world forward. The repeal of the Clean Power Plan represents a major step backwards - one that is deeply harmful to creation and disproportionately unjust to vulnerable groups. As Christian, we have a mandate from our Creator to steward the earth well and care for creation. We are also called to love and care for our neighbors as ourselves. Allowing carbon emissions that have been proven harmful to pollute the atmosphere without limit is morally wrong and rationally illogical.

Rev. Reginald Smith
Director, Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church in North America

While the Environmental Protection Agency and Trump Administration plan to repeal the Clean Power Plan, they are signaling their moral acceptance that more children get sick and die from preventable asthma, communities face danger and impoverishment due to increasingly brutal extreme weather, and the racial health gap grows as communities of color bear an unequal burden of pollution from coal, oil, and natural gas extraction as well as coal-fired power plants. As people of faith, we will neither accept this state of affairs as moral nor normal. We are called to protect the gifts of God’s creation and stand with our most vulnerable neighbors. Faith communities are often the first ones leading relief efforts, caring for the sick, and helping families mourn lost loved ones. We are called to more than compassion for those being threatened by injustice. We are called to take individual and political action to rectify injustice: starting at home, then into our neighborhoods, our sanctuaries, our cities, and states. The force of faith-rooted love of neighbor can, and must, bring about the better future we know God dreams for all of creation.

Shantha Ready Alonso
Executive Director, Creation Justice Ministries 

The Trump administration has been hostile to the environment and the future of our planet, instead deciding to align itself with the fossil fuel industry in order to increase revenue rather than protect the wellbeing of its citizens. The New York Times recently stated that the Trump Administration has rolled back 53 environmental regulations. This marks at least the 54th. ... 

We must all work together to develop a transition plan that provides employment opportunities for coal workers.  We are entirely capable of finding solutions if we look beyond partisan rhetoric that is merely making fossil fuel industries richer and putting the planet at risk. 

Patrick Carolan
Executive Director, Franciscan Action Network

The Friends Committee on National Legislation is profoundly disappointed by President Trump’s decision to withdraw the Clean Power Plan. Climate disruption threatens present and future generations on a breadth and scale unlike any challenge humanity has faced. As people of faith, we are especially concerned about the impacts of climate change upon the most vulnerable peoples. The Clean Power Plan is the strongest action ever taken by a U.S. president to address human caused emissions of greenhouse gases; it is an important first step to ensuring a thriving future for our children and Earth. With this action, the President is taking us backward in the essential work that we have in the United States to reduce emissions. For the sake of our future and our Earth, the U.S. must remain a global leader and contributor to the solutions of climate change.

Diane Randall
Executive Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation
 

President Trump promised to protect our national security. Repealing the Clean Power Plan — America’s only nationwide limit on carbon pollution from power plants — does the opposite. Millions of lives will be jeopardized if polluters are allowed to continue poisoning our air.  The very people most threatened by pollution from power plants and extreme weather from climate change — children, the poor and the elderly — who God commands us to love and protect, will be most at risk. The cost to society will be huge. Repealing or weakening the Clean Power Plan is a clear moral failing of our heritage for stewardship of God’s Creation. 

Rev. Sally Bingham
President and Founder, Interfaith Power & Light

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is deeply disturbed by the Trump Administration’s decision to abandon the Clean Power Plan which sought to reduce carbon pollution and mitigate climate change. Such limits are essential to the health and welfare of all people, especially the most vulnerable. Each of us has a responsibility to cooperate with God to protect our common home and to care for all of creation. In his Encyclical, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis, reminds us of our biblical call to live in right relationship and to cooperate with God’s design for our world. We call on Congress, and all Americans, to work together to address the existential threat to of climate change.

Joan Marie Steadman, CSC
Executive Director, Leadership Conference of Women Religious

The Reform Jewish tradition teaches that saving a life, pikuach nefesh, is the ultimate Jewish ethical obligation. The decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan represents a gross failure to protect the health of people who live near fossil fuel-fired power plants, and fails to protect the lives of all who will face the effects of climate change. We are acutely aware that, due to their locations, these power plants often hurt people of color and low-income people the most, perpetuating environmental racism and inequality.

Our tradition teaches ‘Do not stand idly by while your neighbor’s blood is shed’ (Leviticus 19:16). We reject as utterly unethical and dangerously irresponsible a decision that will cause a projected 3,600 premature deaths each year due to exposure to air pollution. We will continue to work ceaselessly for the wellbeing of our neighbors and the health of our planet.

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner
Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Our sisters in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Philippines who are experiencing melting glaciers, rising sea levels and devastating storms have been calling on us in the United States to urge our government to take strong measures to address climate change. The decision by the Trump Administration to override the Clean Power Plan is totally immoral and death dealing. It blatantly denies climate science and the public health impact data. Most of all, it ignores the cry of the Earth, our common home, and the cry of the most impacted peoples, including here in the United States, where low-income communities of color are disproportionately located near polluting industries that contribute to climate change. We now urge members of Congress to claim leadership on this critical life issue and urgently work together to implement bold climate solutions that future generations will point to with gratitude.

Sr. Patricia McDermott
President, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

The Clean Power Plan is an essential step in protecting God’s creation and the livelihoods of vulnerable communities. We should not turn back the clock. I hope the Administration reconsiders this decision; in the meantime, people of faith must speak out against this dangerous decision.

Jim Wallis
President, Sojourners

The interconnectedness of all life is one of the fundamental values that Buddhism embraces. Therefore, the Soka Gakkai International-USA Buddhist community (SGI-USA) strongly urges the Administration to reconsider repealing the Clean Power Plan which will adversely affect countless generations in the future both here in the United States and beyond.

The Buddhist tradition calls on us to raise awareness of the influence each human being exerts within their environment and consequently, the far reaching impact national energy policy has on global environmental health. No country can solve the problem of climate change alone and the world cannot afford for any country to sit on the sidelines.

A Buddhist text states: “If you want to understand the causes that existed in the past, look at the results as they are manifested in the present. And if you want to understand what results will be manifested in the future, look at the causes that exist in the present.” As such, the challenges of the present moment can provide pivotal opportunities for positive change.

In this spirit, we urge reconsideration of this decision and renewed commitment to vigorously pursue economically-viable options to reduce climate risk and protect our nation’s economy, security, infrastructure, agriculture, water supply and public safety for the sake of present and future generations.

Soka Gakkai International-USA National Leaders
 

EPA no longer has the credibility, nor the integrity to carry out its mission to protect human health and the environment. The repeal of the CPP is yet another call to States and Congress to step up and take action on climate change.

Salote Soqo
Senior Program Leader for Environmental Justice & Climate Action, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

As young evangelicals, we are motivated to respond to the climate crisis by the commands given to us by Jesus to love God and to love our neighbors. Faithfulness to these commands in a warming world requires that we care for God’s good world and that we show compassion to those whose very lives are threatened by a changing climate. If our political leaders, many of whom confess our faith, will not take the action necessary to respond to these commands, then the rest of us will. Across the country young evangelicals are already standing up by the thousands and are taking creative, faithful climate action. When it comes to responding to climate change, this Administration continues to insist on leading from behind. So that is exactly where the rest of us will leave them.

Kyle Meyaard-Schapp
National Organizer and Spokesperson, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action