“listening sessions” —Cricket Hunter

Cricket Hunter photoOn Friday, the EPA held a “listening session” in Philadelphia, allowing a 3-minute statement about the proposal to create standards for existing power plants to limit carbon pollution by anyone who registered .  These sessions were scheduled in 11 cities across the US.  

Several PA IPL leaders prepared statements.  We’ll post those statements as they come in.  Another faith-and-climate leader, Rev. Mitch Hescox of Evangelical Environmental Network was the first speaker, and John Elwood, a board member at EEN, spoke later in the day.   

Use this form to submit your own comments to the EPA.  You can compose your own, edit the form letter, or send as is, as you prefer.

Here is PA IPL executive director Cricket Hunter’s statement: 

Thoughtful people disagree on the moral or spiritual gravity of unintended harm.  But to knowingly allow harm to come to others – to stand by and choose convenience or profit first?  On that, all of our faith traditions are clear: it is not OK.  And people of faith are not alone – ask the children on any playground.

PA IPL is composed of people of faith working to respond to climate change.  We’re working to use less energy, to be better stewards of resources in our congregations and our homes, to choose electricity generated without dangerous emissions, and to help members of our communities who cannot alone afford to invest in order to use less.

That work is good.  Many of us find that it is in the doing that hope takes root and faith blossoms.  We are also painfully aware that our direct efforts cannot slow our emissions fast enough.  Larger, faster change is required.

PA IPL is thankful for the steps that the EPA is already taking to limit future emissions by new power plants.  As people of faith, we want you to act to lift existing electricity production into a new era as well – one in which we can refrigerate food and listen to iPods without doing so much harm.

We pray for a fast and fair transition to a clean-energy economy.  In the context of the EPA’s work, we ask for a framework that will set expectations and signal inventors, researchers, and the market that Americans will support those that step forward to move us in the right direction.  For the EPA, setting the bar and starting the clock to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants is the clear next step.

No matter what you may hear, here in Pennsylvania, we know that there are clean-energy options. Pennsylvanians — whether or not they express concern about climate change 1 want more sustainably-generated electricity.  True, we hold factories that build parts for wind turbines, and we have ridges famous for their steady updrafts, but we are also home to combustible fuel.  We know the inevitable boom-and-bust cycle of that economy, and we know what happens to people downwind.  With carbon pollution, we are all downwind.  In Pennsylvania, we have begun to taste the effects of not taking greenhouse gas pollution seriously.  Those who are suffering now are those who live closest to the margins: the poor, the infirm, children, the elderly, but none of us will remain exempt, and congregational aide can only go so far.

As people of faith, we are deeply and urgently concerned about climate change as a threat to Creation and as a harm to the most vulnerable people.  We wish that rules were unnecessary, but they are not.  We need to update our carbon-belching infrastructure.  We need to reduce carbon emissions more, and faster than faith communities can alone, and so we are supporting the EPA.   We are ready to move into the future in hope.

Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light supports EPA’s intention to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants.  We urge that a strong rule be proposed and adopted as quickly as possible.

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Use this form to submit your own comments to the EPA.  You can compose your own, edit the form letter, or send as is, as you prefer.

1 “But even among respondents who indicated a lack of concern over global warming, 59 percent wanted more of Pennsylvania’s electricity supply to come from renewable sources.” ( July 2012, Hinrichs, Ready, Eshleman, and Yoo, Pennsylvanian’s Attitudes Toward Renewable Energy, a study undertaken at the behest of the non-partisan Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a Legislative Agency of the Pennsylvania Assembly.  p.14)  Go back to paragraph 6.