May God again declare “It is good.”

Rev. Paul Lubold coordinated the faith voices at the EPA hearings in Pittsburgh, including fellowship over an early breakfast followed by procession, and shared song, and prayer in front of the federal building where the hearings took place.  His personal testimony appears here alongside those of other PA IPL supporters and PA IPL’s official remarks.paultestifying

I am Paul Lubold, pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). I am also on the staff of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in PA, which is one of our church’s state public policy offices.

I join other Lutherans who are calling for “Clean Air for All of God’s Children, which is the name of a current campaign to fully support the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which is seeking to limit carbon dioxide pollution from existing power plants.

The ELCA is a denomination of about 4 million members.  Our Presiding Bishop, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, and the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA, the Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori, issued a joint statement last month in support of the proposed new carbon rule.  Together, these two leaders of national church bodies support the proposed limit on carbon emissions s a step in the right direction.

I share their concern about the impacts of global climate change, especially as it takes its largest toll on “the health of young children and their families, disproportionately affecting the poorest among us.”

The Bishops wrote:

“Multi-year droughts, sea level rise, extreme weather events and increased flooding dramatically affect communities internationally, from the … north slope of Alaska to Midwestern farming families to our brothers and sisters in the Philippines… We recognize with concern that climate change particularly harms low-income communities….”

I also want to speak personally in support of the Clean Air plan.

First: as a Christian, I believe that God created the earth, sky and seas.  And that as creation was happening, God declared that it was “good.”

God then entrusted humans with “caretaking” responsibilities… But unfortunately, we’ve not been all that responsible.

Rather than use natural resources, like fossil fuels, in a sustainable way, we have often squandered them for selfish, profit-driven reasons.

While some continue to disagree with top scientists and world leaders, and fail to acknowledge the problems associated with climate change and global warming, there is generally accepted evidence suggesting that one of the primary causes comes as a result of the greenhouse gases produced by the burning of fossil fuels to supply our electricity.

These gases being released into the atmosphere (that previously had no limits or regulation) are directly related to many of the negative changes taking place in the environment.  And while there are many causes of these greenhouse gases, the greatest, by far is our traditional way of generating electricity.

If we who were entrusted to be care-takers of Creation have an opportunity to make changes that would ensure an environment that is more healthy for our children and grandchildren, then we have a moral imperative to do just that.

Reducing carbon emissions from power plants is just such a way for us to be responsible care-takers, and leave a healthier planet behind us.

My second reason for supporting the new rule is more personal.  An increase of excessive high outdoor temperatures is more than simply a matter of discomfort’ for me.

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis almost 20 years ago. Thankfully this has not yet been visibly debilitating. My most common symptom is “fatigue,” which is exacerbated by “increased core body temperature.”

There are common-sense ways to keep myself cool, and control my core body temperature.  But increasing outdoor temperatures presents a problem.

I recall hearing a presentation by a National Wildlife Federation executive that looked at temperatures in Southwestern PA. He noted how average temperatures had increased over the past 25 years. Then he suggested that if a similar trend continues, in 25 years, our average temperatures would resemble those of Virginia. And in another 25 years, they will be more like Alabama.

Now, the strange weather of this past week in south western PA, at the end of July, might give people cause to dismiss my concern.  But the accumulated temperature data still troubles me.

Most of us get uncomfortable” in excess heat and humidity. But for some of us, it can mean compromised health.

I am hopeful that we will be responsible caretakers, and that “Clean air for all of God’s children” will be a reality, and God will once again declare “It is good.”

Thank you.faithleaders.prayer

The EPA hearings on the (finally) proposed Carbon Pollution Standards for Existing Power Plants took place the last week in July in Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and Denver.  PA IPL members offered testimony both in Pittsburgh and Washington.  Testimony posted here is shared by permission of the authors.  Remarks by PA IPL supporters are published on this blog alongside PA IPL’s official remarks. When you’re inspired, submit a written comment of your own.