NEWS RELEASE March 18, 2019
Contacts: Susan Stephenson, executive director (415) 561-4891; (510) 484-7198
Avery Davis Lamb, federal policy associate (on site in D.C.), (785) 217-6784
Faith Leaders Speak Out Against EPA’s Proposal to Weaken Mercury Safeguards
Sounding Alarm Through Prayer and Public Witness
Washington, D.C. – Faith leaders are alarmed by the EPA’s proposal to undermine the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, and put the health of Americans, particularly pregnant women, infants, children, and communities of color in jeopardy. On Monday, 18 faith leaders from across the country will testify against the proposed revisions, speaking from numerous Christian denominations and four faith traditions.
The current mercury pollution standards reduce dangerous levels of mercury, heavy metals and other toxic air pollution released from coal- and oil-burning power plants.
The proposed changes would create a higher threshold for future regulations in the rule-making process by narrowing the range of benefits the agency can consider —excluding most of the public health benefits from consideration.
“As a mother and as an ordained minister in the Christian tradition, I find this to be morally unacceptable,” Rev. Susan Hendershot wrote in The Hill last week. Rev. Hendershot is president of Interfaith Power & Light, a national organization with affiliates in 40 states mobilizing a religious response to global warming.
“As I read the Scriptures of my own faith, we are called to follow the example of Jesus Christ, who protected the poor, the marginalized and the vulnerable — and advised the mighty and the powerful to do the same. As people of faith and conscience, we have a moral obligation to defend the vulnerable and care for future generations. Wheeler’s willingness to poison our children goes against the very mission of the agency and is anathema to the moral principles embraced by diverse religious traditions,” Hendershot continued.
In addition, diverse people of faith, some with young children, will gather near the EPA headquarters in DC on Monday morning at 8:30 am to pray for children and all those most vulnerable to mercury pollution, and for those providing witness to the harm of dismantling these safeguards.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS ON MONDAY, MARCH 18
8:30 am: Multi-faith Prayer Circle for Clean Air & Water for God’s Children
EPA on 12th St NW between Constitution and Pennsylvania Ave.
8:00 am – 6:00pm: EPA Hearing on proposed revisions to Mercury and Air Toxics Standards
EPA’s William Jefferson Clinton Building at 1201 Constitution Ave NW
The following religious leaders are among those scheduled to testify on Monday at the hearing:
8:30-9 am Mirele Goldsmith Jewish Climate Action Network
9-9:30 am Patrick Carolan Franciscan Action Network
9-9:30 am Rev. David Ensign Clarendon Presbyterian Church
10-10:30 am Rev. Mitch Hescox Evangelical Environmental Network
11:30-12 pm Melody Zhang Sojourners, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action
11:30-12 pm Tori Goebel Young Evangelicals for Climate Action
1-1:30 pm Joelle Novey Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA), Jewish
1-1:30 pm Rev. Susan Hendershot Interfaith Power & Light, Disciples of Christ
2-2:30 pm Priscilla Martinez Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA), Muslim
3:30-4 pm Avery Davis Lamb Interfaith Power & Light, United Methodist
3:30-4 pm Sue DeVall West Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, Buddhist
4-4:30 pm Laura File Long Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA), Methodist
4-4:30 pm Sam Saltonstall Maine Interfaith Power & Light, United Church of Christ
4-4:30 pm Rev. Laura Martin Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ
5-5:30 pm Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation
There will be additional speakers from the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), Creation Justice Ministries, and the National Association of Evangelicals.
Interfaith Power & Light is mobilizing a religious response to global warming in congregations through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.