Rev. Dr. Jane Ellen Nickell, United Methodist clergy and Chaplain at Allegheny College submitted the following comments to the EPA. They are published here alongside PA IPL’s remarks. When you’re inspired, submit a written comment of your own.
As a person of faith, I wholeheartedly support the Clean Power Plan as an important step to curb global climate change and secure a more sustainable future. I believe that we have drastically altered the world God created, and that those least able to cope with those effects will suffer the most.
In Genesis 2:15, God set the first human in a garden, to tend and keep it. Yet we have ravaged our earthly garden in extracting fossil fuels, and in burning them have filled the air with carbon, arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, and other pollutants, altering the climate and poisoning the air that we all breathe. Children, elderly, and those in poor health are most vulnerable to asthma and other breathing problems; likewise, people on the margins of society will be most affected by rising sea levels, severe storms, and other effects of climate change. Seeing our weakest members suffer for the actions of us all is a moral problem.
As a native West Virginian and current resident of Pennsylvania, I am keenly aware of the jobs in coal mining and other sectors of the fossil fuel industry that will be lost as we transition to renewable energy. However, another injustice is perpetrated when those in the coal industry proclaim that coal is the energy of the future and that it can be burned cleanly with no harm to our planet or our children. While coal has a long and important history in providing energy in this country, the future belongs to renewable fuels such as wind, solar, and geothermal, and to energy-efficient technologies that reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
Our country’s genius for invention can drive a transition to a more sustainable energy. Rather than using scare tactics and propaganda, coal companies should take the lead in creating a green economy and providing new jobs for those who will be displaced. Rather than blaming the Obama administration, miners and their families should demand that their industry and their states address the reality that coal’s best days are behind us and that it is time to transition to cleaner, renewable fuels. It’s time to stop blowing up our mountains and blow up our energy “business as usual.” The EPA Clean Power Plan is an important step in making that a reality.
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.