Catholic Leaders Denounce Dismantling of the Clean Power Plan

Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development:

The USCCB, in unity with Pope Francis, strongly supports environmental stewardship, and has for several years called on our nation to help curb carbon emissions through a national carbon standard.  Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Pruitt announced that the EPA will now take steps to revoke the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the national program designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 32% in relation to 2015 levels by the year 2030.

The CPP may not have been the only possible mechanism for addressing carbon emissions, but, unfortunately, the Administration does not propose an adequate alternative as it seeks to dismantle the CPP. Having already withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement, this change in course by the EPA solidifies the already troubling approach of our nation in addressing climate change, and places at risk many people, including the poor who can least bear the consequences of inaction.

Many states have already made great progress toward carbon mitigation goals under the CPP, making this decision even more difficult. Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato si’, calls us to action in caring for our common home. A national carbon standard is a critical step for the U.S. at this time. Facing this shift from the Trump Administration, our leaders should heed the Holy Father’s moral call and seek new legislative solutions that will help the nation and world ‘hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor’ once more.

Catholic Climate Covenant:

Catholic Climate Covenant expresses profound disappointment with the decision by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to issue a proposed rule to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Without a replacement that meets or exceeds the goals and targets of the current regulation, this repeal will threaten human life and dignity – especially of the poor – and all God’s creation.

Catholic Climate Covenant executive director, Dan Misleh, said, “Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and bishops’ conferences around the world have all accepted the reality of human-forced climate change. And we know that our burning of fossil fuels is among the biggest contributors to this moral dilemma.  The solution is not to burn more fossil fuels, but less. The beauty of the Clean Power Plan was its flexibility to allow states to meet carbon reduction targets in meaningful ways. This repeal now throws all of these potential gains into question.”…

The Clean Power Plan sought to reduce carbon pollution from America’s largest source, the power sector, by 32 percent by 2030.[1] By some estimates, a fully implemented Clean Power Plan could have prevented: 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths; 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children; and 2,700 to 2,800 hospital admissions….

Dan Misleh said, “Administrator Pruitt’s decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan will likely increase premature deaths and put public health—particularly in poorer neighbourhoods near power plants—at risk across the United States. The decision will also exacerbate human-forced climate change that disproportionately harms the poor and marginalized at home and around the world. As people of faith committed to protect human life and promote human dignity, especially of the poor and vulnerable, we are deeply disappointed by this action and call on the Trump administration to re-evaluate this decision and keep the air clean and healthy for all.”

Scott Wright Director, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach:

The Columban Center opposes the EPA’s decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan. Columban missionaries working across the globe have witnessed the horrible devastation carbon pollution wreaks on the earth and the vulnerable. This administration continues to demonstrate that they do not appreciate the extent to which the insatiable energy demands of our economy are tearing apart the web of life, with disastrous consequences for future generations.

We encourage the administration to think creatively about how we can replace fossil fuels with renewable energies. We can take care of our workers, our vulnerable, and our environment all at once. What we can no longer afford to do is ignore the realities before us and place profits over people, the interest of a small few over the good of everyone.

Sr. Patricia McDermott, President, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas:

Our sisters in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Philippines who are experiencing melting glaciers, rising sea levels and devastating storms have been calling on us in the United States to urge our government to take strong measures to address climate change. The decision by the Trump Administration to override the Clean Power Plan is totally immoral and death dealing. It blatantly denies climate science and the public health impact data. Most of all, it ignores the cry of the Earth, our common home, and the cry of the most impacted peoples, including here in the United States, where low-income communities of color are disproportionately located near polluting industries that contribute to climate change. We now urge members of Congress to claim leadership on this critical life issue and urgently work together to implement bold climate solutions that future generations will point to with gratitude.