Today, the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) submitted 51,584 comments from individual pro-life Christians in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed standards on carbon pollution from fossil-fuel-fired power plants (Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2023-0072-0001). These proposed standards–which require a cut in carbon emissions by up to 90% from new and existing fossil fuel power plants by 2040–will prevent 1,300 premature deaths, 800 hospital and ER visits, more than 300,000 asthma attacks, 38,000 school absences, and 66,000 lost workdays in the year 2030 alone. In addition to saving lives, the standards are estimated to yield huge savings, with nearly $85 billion in health and climate benefits for all over the next two decades, relative to only $10 billion in total compliance costs.
Power plants are responsible for approximately 25% of climate pollution in the U.S. and are the second largest source of carbon emissions nationwide. Additionally, medical research shows that air pollution from carbon-based fuels claims up to 200,000 American lives each year. Unfairly, it is the most vulnerable (our children both born and unborn, our brothers and sisters of color, the poor and unhoused, our seniors, and those with pre-existing medical conditions) who are most at risk and exposed to the harms of air pollution and climate-fueled extreme weather.
For our community of evangelical Christians who are following the biblical mandates to care for creation and love our neighbors as ourselves, cutting power plant pollution is a crucial step in defending the health of our communities while also minimizing the impacts of climate change. In 2015, over 220,000 pro-life Christians supported the EPA’s first carbon pollution standard for power plants, and we will continue to ensure that this newest standard is finalized and implemented swiftly to ensure a healthy and safe future for our children and all God’s creation.
We also acknowledge that cutting carbon pollution should not be left to the EPA alone. Congress must also act by advancing bipartisan, market-based solutions like a non-regressive carbon pollution fee and border-adjusted carbon pollution tariff that holds other high-emitting countries accountable to clean up their act. During this time when Congress seeks to reduce the national debt and protect the American economy from the steep financial costs of ever-increasing billion-dollar climate disasters, a revenue-raising carbon pollution fee is common sense.