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30 Catholic Organizations Sign Court Brief Defending The Clean Power Plan

Washington, D.C. – On Friday, April 1, the Catholic Climate Covenant and 29 other Catholic dioceses, organizations and universities, joined a coalition of other faith organizations in filing an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in support of the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever federal standards on carbon pollution from power plants. The Catholic Climate Covenant is an organization committed to care for creation and care for the poor. 

In the brief, the groups identify climate change as an urgent issue that must be addressed and outline the moral obligation around reducing carbon pollution and protecting the most vulnerable from the dangerous consequences of climate change. 

The brief was submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is currently reviewing industry challenges to the Clean Power Plan.   

“Today, united with millions of Americans, including other Catholics and people of faith, we are standing up for the most vulnerable among us to support the Clean Power Plan against misguided lawsuits,” said Dan Misleh, Executive Director of Catholic Climate Covenant. “The Clean Power Plan helps all of us answer Pope Francis’s call in his encyclical, Laudato Si, where he affirmed the importance of caring for God’s creation and the dire consequences for the poor from climate change. The Clean Power Plan helps individuals, organizations, businesses, and governments alike to care for God’s creation and protect human life, especially the most vulnerable among us. It is with these reasons in mind that today we filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. “ 

Dan Misleh further says, “The evidence of climate change and our contribution to it is undeniable. There is no question in the mind of the amici, that climate change promises to transform the face of our planet and dramatically impact ecosystems resulting in profound consequences for humankind both in the U.S. and around the world. The Clean Power Plan is an important first step to help mitigate some of the harm caused by human activities. The EPA has issued compelling findings demonstrating that the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are a danger to public health and welfare. We must act with urgency. Last year, the warmest ever recorded, indicates that the climate continues to change at an accelerated pace. It is our moral responsibility to reduce the impacts of the climate change we have contributed to, and fulfill our duty to care for our common home.”  

“The Sisters of Mercy, while taking measures to reduce our own reliance on fossil fuels, realize that addressing climate change requires strong action on the national and international levels. The Clean Power Plan’s carbon emissions reduction goal sets us on the path as a country toward a more clean-energy future. We also are hopeful that the Plan, as implemented by the states, will address public health concerns and the disproportionate impact of climate change and power plant emissions on low-income persons of color,” said Sister Patricia McDermottpresident of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. 

“In his recent letter, Laudato Si’ - In Care of our Common HomePope Francis underscores the moral imperative for urgent action on climate change for the well-being of current and future generations, especially the most vulnerable,” said James Ennis, Executive Director, Catholic Rural Life. “The U.S. Catholic bishops and Catholic Rural Life have consistently urged both corporate and personal responsibility in seeking solutions. The Clean Power Plan is one important step forward to protect the health of all people, especially children, the elderly, and poor and vulnerable communities, from harmful pollution and the impacts of climate change in the future.”   

"Catholics are called to promote the common good by lifting up moral considerations in public discourse and policy deliberations,” said David Hollenbach, S.J., Ph.D., Director, Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College. “This amicus brief works to care for our common home by drawing on the Catholic tradition to offer ethically-based support for the Clean Power Plan."   

The 40 groups signing the brief also include national groups such as the Maryknoll Sisters, The Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, the Dioceses of Des Moines, Davenport and Stockton, the National Baptist Convention of American, Evangelical Environmental Network, and Hazon; as well as educational institutions such as Fordham University, University of San Diego and LeMoyne College.  Religious organizations signing the amicus brief include:

  • Catholic Climate Covenant
  • Catholic Rural Life
  • Evangelical Environmental Network
  • National Council of Churches USA
  • Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
  • Church World Service
  • Union of Reform Judaism
  • Women of Reform Judaism
  • National Baptist Convention of America
  • Progressive National Baptist Convention
  • Hazon
  • Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Institute Leadership Team
  • Maryknoll Sisters
  • Sisters of Divine Compassion
  • The Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
  • Cabrini College
  • Fordham University
  • University of San Diego
  • Center for Sustainability at Saint Louis University
  • Center for Human Rights and International Justice, Boston College
  • Conference for Mercy Higher Education
  • The Boisi Center
  • University of San Francisco
  • Le Moyne College
  • The Center for Peace and Justice Education
  • Loyola University Maryland
  • The College of the Holy Cross
  • Florida Council of Churches
  • Wisconsin Council of Churches
  • The Diocese of Stockton, California
  • The Diocese of Des Moines
  • The Diocese of Davenport, Iowa
  • Catholic Committee of Appalachia
  • Sisters of Charity of New York
  • Dominican Sisters of Springfield, IL
  • Sisters of St. Joseph Earth Center
  • Sisters of St. Joseph Peace Leadership Team
  • Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth Office of Peace, Justice and Ecological Integrity
  • School Sisters of Notre Dame Atlantic Midwest Province Department of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
  • Buffalo Diocese Care of Creation Committee

After today’s filings, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear oral arguments in the case on June 2, 2016, with a decision expected later this year. 

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