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Faithful People Speak Truth to Power Against the Affordable Clean Energy Rule

People of faith shared poignant testimonies calling for clean air and climate justice at a hearing held by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday, October 1, 2018 in Chicago.


Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago students, Robin and Amy, provide testimony at the EPA Hearing.
LSTC students, Robin and Amy, provide testimony.

The hearing was the only public hearing in the country regarding the so-called “Affordable Clean Energy (ACE)” rule, which was proposed by the Trump administration to replace the Clean Power Plan (CPP) introduced in 2015 under President Obama.


The CPP regulated carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants – a major source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. The plan set emissions reductions targets for states in order to reach the modest overall goal of decreasing U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 32% below 2005 levels by 2030.


State Rep. Juliana Stratton speaks at a rally held outside of the Federal Building where the hearing was held.
State Rep. Juliana Stratton speaks at a rally held outside of the Federal Building where the hearing was held.

The ACE proposal, however, would weaken air pollution and carbon emission reductions and put thousands of lives at risk by leaving it up to states to decide how much they want to reduce emissions.


Green Team leaders, seminary students, and Faith in Place staff presented ten of the testimonies.


Grounded in various faith traditions, they passionately spoke truth to power and urged the EPA to reject the ACE proposal. (Read excerpts and find links to videos below.)


The “Affordable Clean Energy” rule is anything but affordable and clean – leading us to join many in referring to it as the #DirtyPowerScam.


Due to increases in pollution, ACE will cause up to 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030, according to estimates provided by the Administration.


In contrast, the Clean Power Plan would have prevented an estimated 1,500 to 3,600 premature deaths per year by 2030 because burning less coal would result in cleaner air. Each state had the flexibility to decide how it was going to reach the goal through a variety of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.


Rev. Brian Sauder, Executive Director, shares his testimony as a person with asthma and as a Mennonite minister.
Rev. Brian Sauder, Executive Director, highlights his Mennonite faith & life with asthma.

While the Clean Power Plan was the result of widespread citizen engagement, with eight days of public hearings held in three different cities across the U.S., Monday’s hearing on ACE was the only opportunity in the entire country for citizens to voice their opinions in-person.


Dulce Ortiz, Environmental Justice Advocate with Clean Power Lake County, speaks at the rally.
Dulce Ortiz, Environmental Justice Advocate with Clean Power Lake County

Faithful advocates also joined a rally at noon to add their voices to the loud chorus of opposition to ACE offered by public health advocates, scientists, parents, students, environmentalists, and business people.



Since Faith in Place is the Illinois affiliate of Interfaith Power & Light – a national multi-faith organization working to address climate change – we were able to amplify the voices of faithful people from across the country.


Even if you were unable to attend the hearing on October 1st, your voice is still critical to speak out against this proposal.


Submit an official comment to the EPA here by October 31, 2018.

Your comment will be emailed to the EPA Docket and will be published on the EPA's website as part of the public comment process.


Testimonies


“It’s time for Environmental Justice communities like Waukegan to stop bearing the brunt of climate impact, but to be protected and lifted up by this agency. We will not sit idle while the Affordable Clean Energy Rule will bring more deaths to our community.”