Now Available: Video of August 17 Meeting in Partnership with JEA!

Soot with PA IPL & JEA

This meeting, recorded Wednesday, August 17, 2022, is part of PA IPL‘s ongoing partnership with Jewish Earth Alliance (JEA).

TOPIC:
Soot

SPEAKER:
Christopher D. Ahlers, Staff Attorney for the Clean Air Council

This joint session with JEA focuses on how the current standards for the deadly and dangerous particulate matter pollution, or soot, set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are outdated and insufficient. It’s time for the EPA to update these pollution limits to the strongest science-based standards to ensure cleaner air for families, advance environmental justice, and protect public health and the climate. At this meeting Christopher D. Ahlers, Staff Attorney for the Clean Air Council, will give us an overview of what particulate matter pollution—or soot—is, what causes it, and what individuals and businesses can do to reduce it. He will also discuss the recommendations for the revised standards.


JEA provides ongoing training and templates for monthly letter writing campaigns to local, state, and federal officials. The meetings provide a template, information, and guidance for all those who are interested in amplifying the message of Climate Justice.

Once you learn how easy Jewish Earth Alliance makes it, through their background information and template letter, for everyone to write letters to their federal officials, we hope you will write to your members of Congress now and for the next few months.

Voting is a Sacred Obligation

By Mike Kennedy, Faith Climate Justice Voter Campaign Manager
August 17, 2022

Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb of Bethesda, Md.’s Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation encouraged an IPL webinar audience that voting is a “sacred obligation” and “awesome opportunity.”

“The Jewish tradition says, if something matters enough, it’s no longer just a good idea,” Dobb, an IPL board member, said during IPL’s August 9 webinar about sermons, divrei Torah, and khutbahs crafted to encourage voting. “It’s mandated. Like charity. You can give even more, but a certain amount of generosity is actually obligatory, not just voluntary. We call it ‘tzedakah’, not just charity, but righteousness and justice.”

“Same for voting and for involvement in the democratic enterprise within a free society. It’s not just a good idea. It’s, religiously speaking, the law. Voting and defending democracy, is, in Jewish parlance, a mitzvah, a sacred obligation that is in turn also an awesome opportunity. I pray that we can all articulate in our own faith language how this is, in fact, a holy imperative for all of us.”

The webinar reminded faith leaders of the importance of using their prophetic voices to call the faithful to live by their most deeply held values in an election year, and that voting is one way we can all bring forth a world rooted in those values.

Imam Mustapha Elturk, President of the North American Islamic Organization in Michigan, said the Prophet Muhammad once stated, “Whoever sees something that is detested, let him change it by hand.”  Elturk added, “I use the word ‘hand’ to mean authority. We could change things through the courts, but more so through the ballot. Go out and vote. Take with your ‘hand’ this ballot and stick it in the (ballot) box.

IPL Board Chair the Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley offered important counsel to those who don’t preach. “So if any of you who are not necessarily clergy but you need your (spiritual) leader (to preach on voting), you’ve got to let them know that they have an obligation,” Durley said. “They have been, we call it in our tradition, called for such a time as this, to speak to the conditions of our people.”

“Can I use a word that we don’t use now?,” Durley asked. “Right and wrong. There are certain things that are just not right. It’s not right what these petroleum companies are doing. It’s not right what they’re doing in the gas and fuel. So in (preaching), you’re not talking about red or blue, you’re talking about some basic fundamental ethical questions that need moral answers to, and that will give people the impetus to try to move ahead to make a difference and I think that that’s how you inspire people.”

The full webinar and short answers from it are available here. If you want to offer a message this fall on the importance of voting, let us know here and we will send you a nonpartisan sermon resource document.

Coalition Letter Supporting 100% Renewable Energy

PA IPL has signed on to the below Coalition Letter calling on Pennsylvania officials to support a to transition to 100% renewable energy on the heels of the recent SCOTUS ruling in the WV v EPA Case:


On behalf of the organizations signed below, we are writing to ask you to do everything in your power to move Pennsylvania to 100% renewable energy.

On the heels of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in West Virginia v EPA severely limiting the EPA’s authority to regulate climate pollution from power plants, it’s more urgent than ever that states like Pennsylvania lead in the fight to rein in climate pollution, and achieve the solutions called for by the scientific community: move towards 100% renewable energy.

There is growing consensus in the scientific community that if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change and leave a safer planet for our children and future generations, we must eliminate our emission of global warming pollution by 2050.

The stakes are incredibly high given the threat of more extreme weather events, the spread of exotic viruses and diseases, and health threats like increased cases of asthma and other respiratory ailments, and all the financial costs associated with addressing these challenges.

And the recent SCOTUS decision to hamstring the authority of the EPA only makes the need for state action more urgent.

The good news is that we have the tools at our fingertips to achieve these goals and solve the climate crisis. Multiple studies have laid out paths for Pennsylvania to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050, and to date, at least ten states have passed laws requiring that their own states achieve this goal.Setting a 100% requirement will ensure that the Commonwealth is doing its part to fight climate change and set a strong example for other states across the nation. Given the new hurdles put in place for federal solutions, leadership from states like Pennsylvania will be more crucial than ever.

So, I hope you will join us advocating aggressively for climate solutions in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, and support efforts to transition Pennsylvania to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

Thank you in advance for your consideration and support.

Senate Passes Inflation Reduction Act with Historic Climate Investments

August 5, 2022

Washington, DC – Today the U.S. Senate voted to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, the most significant climate bill in history. The bill will put the nation on the path to cut climate pollution emissions up to 44% by 2030, create millions of good-paying clean energy jobs, invest in environmental justice, and reduce energy bills for working families across the country. 

With $369 billion in energy and climate investments, this is the single biggest U.S. investment aimed at tackling climate change. It includes:

  • Clean energy tax credits for wind and solar, electric vehicles, efficiency upgrades, and heat pumps
  • More than $60 billion for environmental justice priorities
  • Up to $60 billion for domestic clean energy manufacturing
  • $27 billion to speed the development of emissions reductions technologies, especially in disadvantaged communities

The Inflation Reduction Act also includes troubling provisions around fossil fuel expansion and other false solutions that will continue to place frontline communities at risk. Interfaith Power & Light is concerned about a deal for a proposal to include drastic permitting changes in must-pass legislation Congress will take up this fall. We will work to address those provisions in this bill, oppose any weakening of our environmental review process, and advocate for bold executive action from the Biden Administration so that the U.S. can meet our climate goals.

The faith community has been advocating for passage of climate and clean energy investments for the last two years and celebrates this huge victory.

In response, Interfaith Power & Light’s President Rev. Susan Hendershot released this statement:

“Budgets are moral documents, and where we choose to invest as a nation is an indication of what we value. Today, the Senate chose to take moral leadership and demonstrate that they value the health of our families and communities; jobs that can provide good wages; clean air, water, and soil; environmental justice for historically marginalized communities; and care for our common home, through the historic climate provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act. We applaud and celebrate the passage of this critical legislation in the Senate, and now call on the House of Representatives and President Biden to act swiftly to pass this bill because climate can’t wait.”

Rev. Robin Blakeman, West Virginia Interfaith Power & Light Steering Committee Member:

“Climate change is already taking an enormous toll on our communities. We have a moral obligation to protect people and the planet. I am glad that Senator Manchin finally supported the legislation to address the critical needs of our nation. Addressing the urgency of climate change is key to ensuring survival of our society and economy.”

Rev. Doug Bland, Executive Director of Arizona Interfaith Power & Light: 

“People of faith and conscience in Arizona have demanded congressional action on climate. We’re grateful to Senator Sinema and Senator Kelly for supporting this historic bill to transition rapidly to clean energy, and make our country healthier and more prosperous for all communities.We have a moral imperative to act — fires are raging and communities are flooding. We can’t afford not to act boldly for the future of our children and our precious planet home.”

Codi Norred, Executive Director of Georgia Interfaith Power & Light:

“The Inflation Reduction Act is an essential initial investment in our future and our common home. We have no time to waste. The climate care provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act are historic and are imperative in addressing the urgent moral issue of climate justice. We are thankful to Senators Warnock and Ossoff for supporting these bold investments that will match the scale of the crisis our communities need.”

David Heayn-Mendendez, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light:

“We have a moral obligation to protect people and the planet and climate change is already taking an enormous toll on our communities. This is the most significant climate bill in history and will put our nation on the path to cut climate pollution emissions up to 44% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels while creating millions of good paying clean energy jobs, invest in environmental justice, and reduce energy bills for working families across the country.”

Article: Faith groups respond to Sen. Manchin’s surprise climate deal with shock, optimism

Washington, D.C.
July 28, 2022

Great and relevant article in the National Catholic Reporter yesterday:

Democrats in the U.S. Senate reached a deal July 27 to secure $369 billion in investments on energy and climate change in what would represent the nation’s largest-ever spending package to address the impacts of global warming. (CNS/Tyler Orsburn)

Faith groups responded to the historic, and for many unexpected, milestone of a potential breakthrough on climate legislation . . . with a mixture of joy, shock and cautious optimism after years of prayer and advocacy.

Read the full article here!

Now Available: Video of Southwest PA Chapter’s July 27th Program!

Telling the Truth with Integrity

On Wednesday, July 27th at 6:30pm the Southwest PA Chapter of PA IPL held it’s quarterly meeting & program. They began with a Reflection and updates on PA IPL happenings around the state. Then they explored the importance of “truth telling” in our society, and how not telling the truth leads to grieving, anxiety, and even the erosion of democracy.

Sign up here if you would like to join the Pittsburgh & SW PA IPL Chapter!