Faith Leaders Decry Environmental Safeguard Rollbacks

October 30, 2018
Washington, DC

Today, the Columban Center was one of 132 organizations from a diverse set of faith backgrounds spanning 33 states in urging the Trump Administration and federal officials to reverse rollbacks of crucial environmental safeguards.

In a letter delivered to the Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and the President, the organizations asserted: “By undermining and weakening our country’s ability to protect our environment and address climate change, the United States government has taken a backseat in this time of ecological crisis… The result is direct harm to the environment and vulnerable communities—communities that we serve and of which we are members.”

The EPA’s own projections show that rolling back methane waste prevention rules, clean car standards, and the Clean Power Plan will increase greenhouse gas and carbon pollution. As many states are still recovering from the devastation of Hurricanes Maria, Florence, and Michael, such rollbacks will inevitably exacerbate the impacts of climate change, multiplying the frequency and severity of extreme weather at home and abroad.

The anticipated rollback of existing Mercury and Air Toxic Standards will expose vulnerable communities, pregnant women, children, and people of color to harmful toxins. These pollutants pose a significant threat to the public’s wellbeing, as exposure increases asthma and allergy attacks as well as heart attacks. By the EPA’s own projections, the combined impact of these rollbacks could cause nearly 14,000 premature American deaths annually.

Not only do these rollbacks exacerbate severe weather and undermine public health, they endanger and pollute the water, air, and ecosystems that we ultimately rely on and are called to protect.

As we approach the midterm elections, these communities of faith look to support leaders that will protect our common home and those who will be most harmed by its degradation. This should be a top priority for current and future political leaders.

Scott Wright, Director of the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, said of the rollbacks: “Columbans believe environmental policy should advance the common good and protect the sacredness of creation. The Administration’s efforts to systematically and comprehensively weaken or repeal critical environmental safeguards not only contribute to climate change, but also intensifies public health threats, ecosystem instability, and biodiversity reduction. We urge the administration to promote policies that together ensure the dignity and protection of workers, vulnerable communities, and the environment. We can no longer afford to ignore the reality of climate change and environmental degradation, and place the interest of a small few over the good of our common home.”

For the full letter, please click here.


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About the Columban Center
The Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach is the advocacy office for the Missionary Society of St. Columban. The Center serves as the line of communication between Columban missionaries serving in 16 countries around the world and policy makers in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to work towards a more just, peaceful, and environmentally sustainable world by engaging in the political process guided by our Catholic faith and the Gospel.