Solutions for Pollution

An Open Letter to President Biden

As we kick off the Solutions for Pollution campaign, we call on President Biden to urge him to carry out his responsibilities under our nation’s bedrock environmental laws, such as the Clean Air Act, by advancing approximately 20 protections across federal agencies that could cut climate pollution in half by 2030, advance vital public health and environmental justice goals, accelerate the transition to clean energy, and create new economic opportunity.

Read the letter below and then sign on here.

To: President Joe Biden
From: [Your Name]

Dear President Biden:

​When you were campaigning for and then elected President, you laid out the most ambitious climate plan in American history, including a pledge to cut climate pollution in the United States in half by 2030 to take the urgent action on the climate crisis that science demands. You rightly committed to fighting environmental injustices and setting strong standards to protect our health and the environment.

To keep your climate promise and protect our health and our communities – especially those that have traditionally been overburdened with pollution – we need action NOW. That is why, together, we are launching the Solutions for Pollution campaign to urge you to carry out your responsibilities under our nation’s bedrock environmental laws, such as the Clean Air Act, by advancing approximately 20 protections across federal agencies that could cut climate pollution in half by 2030, advance vital public health and environmental justice goals, accelerate the transition to clean energy, and create new economic opportunity. We are calling on you to ensure that the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and other federal agencies set the strongest possible standards to clean up power plants, transportation, industrial sources, and other pollution–and that they move swiftly as the science demands.

While we have numerous priorities and perspectives, one thing we all agree on is that adopting strong solutions for pollution will protect our health and environment, advance environmental justice in traditionally overburdened communities, and accelerate the transition to clean energy like wind, solar, and other renewables to power America into the future.

Our communities desperately need clean air and a healthy climate. By implementing the Solutions for Pollution Action Plan, your administration will reduce the pollution driving climate change and aggravating chronic diseases like heart disease, asthma attacks, and other respiratory issues that disproportionately harm vulnerable populations, including traditionally overburdened communities, children, outdoor workers, and the elderly.

Time is running out. The longer we delay, the higher the cost of inaction is to Americans in lives, dollars, and harm to the environment. We need your administration to implement the Solutions for Pollution Action Plan now to ensure clean air, clean water, and healthy communities across the country. Climate can’t wait. Neither can we.

Respectfully,
Sign Here

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!

Community Health, Climate, and the Failure to Act: Local Health Solutions to Pollutions

July 15, 2022

Philadelphia, PA – Last month the Supreme Court sided with coal companies and their allies, limiting the EPA from setting the kind of highly-effective standards we need. There is still room, however, for the EPA to exercise its authority – and duty – to cut climate pollution.

Today Senator Manchin of West Virginia again dealt a blow to the hope for sufficient let alone substantial and dire investments in mitigating climate change, protecting our environment, and ensuring the health of our communities. Combined with the decision by the Supreme Court to limit the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon pollution from power plants the government is hamstring in its efforts to fight climate change. This means local solutions are more important than ever. We need local leaders today to do everything they can to help our communities suffering from cancer, respiratory illness, and many other effects from pollutants we can control. We can do better. We must do better.

On Thursday, July 21 at 2:00pm, Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light will hold a “Health Solutions to Pollution” Rally outside the EPA’s Philadelphia Office 1650 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19103.

Confirmed attendees include Philadelphia Council Member Helen GymRussell Zerbo of the Clean Air Council, and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

We have a moral responsibility as a nation, and a sacred task as people of faith, to care for our climate and to leave a safe and thriving world for future generations. 

Who: Councilwoman Helen Gym, Russel Zerbo, the Clean Air Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light

What: Rally in support of the Community Health Act and climate investments in the reconciliation bill. 

Where: EPA Region 3 Office (1650 Arch Street Philadelphia)

When: 7/21/2022 from 2PM to 4PM

Interested reporters should RSVP to David Heayn-Menendez – info@paipl.org.


About Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light:
Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light inspires and mobilizes people of faith and conscience to take bold and just action on climate change. PA IPL is the Pennsylvania affiliate of Interfaith Power & Light, a national religious response to the threat of climate change. We see climate change as a moral issue, one that demands a response from people of faith.

Reconciliation Package Must include Strong Manufacturing Measures

Great news! Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light has joined other organization across the state for a sign on regarding the passing of a bold reconciliation package that will help rebuild our manufacturing sector in ways that will deeply reduce emissions while building domestic supply chains and creating and protecting good union jobs for workers and disadvantaged communities.

Serious action is required to address climate change and strengthen the U.S. economy for all. The following provisions must be included in any negotiations around budget reconciliation as well as future climate infrastructure packages to ensure that the Appalachian region can create a thriving manufacturing renaissance in the region.  We deserve it.

Appalachia can and should be a leader in the global economic race to modernize domestic manufacturing.

Several provisions key to building this future include:

  • Key investments to reduce climate pollution in emissions-intensive industries—such as cement, steel, and aluminum. We can reduce these emissions at scale by funding industrial efficiency measures and emissions reduction technology as well as broader supply chain programs.
  • Spurring domestic clean technology manufacturing through measures such as $25 billion in funding for 48C together along with new supply chain production tax credits that expand clean energy and technology manufacturing and onshore key supply chains.
  • Strong funding to strengthen the domestic automotive supply chain, protect workers and communities, and build the electric vehicle (EV) fleet of the future in Appalachia. This includes new funding for the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program and manufacturing conversion grants—together enabling over $20B in investments to retool automotive manufacturing to build the EV technology of the future in existing plants and communities.
  • Support Manufacturing Supply Chains and Manufacturing-Centered Economic Development. In addition to investments that support clean technology manufacturing expansion and retooling directly, it is also critical to ensure that we expand and fund the broader programs that provide the economic, technical, and workforce infrastructure and support to strengthen advanced manufacturing ecosystems and communities.
  • Ensure that clean energy deployment tax credits include labor and domestic content standards and support the retention and growth of domestic manufacturing and high-quality jobs.

These provisions would make a historic investment in the expansion and retooling of domestic clean energy, vehicle and component manufacturing, the transformation of our industrial sector to reduce emissions and enhance competitiveness, as well as the necessary efforts to build out robust supply chains for critical clean technologies—all while building family sustaining careers and investing in the communities that need it most.

Any reconciliation package should advance a sustainable economic vision for a 21st century Appalachia—one that is good for working people, communities, the environment and our health. Our communities have many assets, but a sustainable economic future can’t be achieved without significant public investment, strong policies, and responsible economic development approaches designed to maximize the benefit to the community as a whole.

You can read more and sign on here.


UPDATE ON JUNE 6, 2022:

You can see the final letter here.

Now Available: Video of NEPA IPL Chapter’s May 26th Program

An Interfaith Coalition on the Environment and Climate

On Thursday, May 26th at 12:00pm the Northeast PA Chapter of PA IPL held a lunch meeting to get to know others interested in their faith and the environment and begin a conversation about how we can come together to:

  • honor both the beauty of NEPA and the need to address its environmental challenges
  • be part of spiritually and ecologically informed local solutions
  • learn how our faith communities can be exemplars in the region in renewable energy practices, sustainable/regenerative lifestyles, and living in love with Earth

Sign up here if you would like to join the NEPA IPL Chapter.