Today, the Evangelical Environmental Network submitted 30,562 individual comments from Pennsylvania pro-life Christians to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and its Environmental Quality Board in support of the CO2 Budget Trading Program Regulations (50 Pa.B. 6212).
Their comments state:
As a pro-life Christian, I am deeply concerned that pollution harms unborn and born children and causes damage that lasts a lifetime. Dirty air has grave consequences for the health of our children and other vulnerable populations, like the elderly. That’s why I support Governor Wolf’s plan to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that will apply market-based solutions to reduce the health impacts from power plant pollution, helping boost jobs and save precious lives in Pennsylvania.
Last month, 13 evangelical leaders presented testimonies during public virtual hearings. Our community knows that Pennsylvania is the third largest greenhouse gas polluting state and has the fifth dirtiest power plant industry in the nation, putting the health of Pennsylvania children — both born and unborn — squarely in harm's ways. As pro-life Pennsylvania Christians, we are concerned for the more than 257,000 of our children and over 1 million Pennsylvania adults who already battle asthma that fossil fuel pollution worsens. Asthma puts their lives at greater risk and according to The American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2020, smog levels are increasing in Pennsylvania as climate change increases temperatures and multiplies asthma attacks.
“By joining RGGI, we can achieve significant pollution reductions, defend our kids’ health, create more than 27,000 net jobs, and add $1.9 billion to our commonwealth’s economy. The health benefits to Pennsylvania are also enormous, including $6.3 billion in health care savings, 30,000 fewer hospital visits for respiratory illnesses like asthma among children and adults, and 45,000 fewer asthma attacks and 1,000 fewer cases of childhood bronchitis,” stated EEN’s President Rev. Mitch Hescox
In addition to defending health and lives of the “least of these”, the Bible also demands honesty and fairness as a prerequisite for market activity:
Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight, or quantity. Use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah and an honest hin. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt. –Leviticus 19:35-36 (NIV)
For over a century, the fossil fuel industry has received help from a dishonest measurement of costs. They have privatized the profits while the cost has been borne in the lungs, hearts, minds, and even lives of our children. This mass market failure continues into today as the external costs of fossil fuels continue to go ignored and unaccounted for, thereby creating a dishonest standard and false measurements. The external costs of coal generated electricity are almost $0.15 per kWh less than an actual cost and natural gas averages more than $0.05 kWh.
Pennsylvania has always been an energy innovator, from wood to coal and now to natural gas, but those days are over. It’s time to move toward a clean energy future that defends our children, creates new jobs, aids displaced fossil fuel workers and assists those communities trapped in high pollution locations.