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125 Catholic Leaders Sign Letter Supporting Clean Power Plan

16-Feb-2017

125 Catholic Leaders Sign Letter Supporting Clean Power Plan .pdf
One hundred and twenty-five U.S. Catholic leaders have signed a letter organized by the Catholic Climate Covenant in support of the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The CPP is a significant U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) effort to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants 30 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. The Clean Power Plan is the nation’s most ambitious effort to reduce climate-changing greenhouse gas pollution but faces an uncertain future in the Trump administration. The letter has been delivered by the Catholic Climate Covenant to the new EPA administrator as well as President Trump, top Congressional leaders, and state governors. 

The group of Catholic leaders – which includes college and university presidents, women and men religious, theologians, and Catholic non-profit directors – stresses that Church teaching on the care of creation is deeply connected to the protection of human life and dignity, especially of the poor and vulnerable. The leaders also highlight Pope Francis’s emphasis on the “urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy” (Laudato Si’ 26). 

In response to the call of His Holiness, the leaders join with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other faith leaders who have called for a national carbon pollution standard like the Clean Power Plan. In particular, the leaders believe that the Clean Power Plan “will protect public health, promote equality, address climate change, and help create new economic opportunities in communities across the country.” 

Nearly two-dozen states, including Oklahoma where nominated EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was attorney general, filed suit against the EPA to stop the CPP. That suit currently awaits a ruling by the DC Federal Circuit Court. The Catholic leaders continue that “if the Courts do not uphold the Clean Power Plan, then we call upon Congress to replace the CPP with new policies that will achieve the same or more ambitious carbon reduction goals. In that case, we also urge elected officials in each state to meet and exceed the carbon reduction goals identified for their state in the Clean Power Plan.” However they continue that “no matter the legal fate of the CPP, we believe that Congress will need to take additional steps in the years ahead to reduce domestic carbon pollution even more.” In conjunction with such legislative action, the leaders also advocate for accompanying transition programs (e.g., job training) that assist local communities which rely heavily upon some aspect of the fossil fuel industry.” 

Following delivery of the letter, Catholic Climate Covenant Executive Director, Dan Misleh, said, “Saint John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis all explicitly recognized human-forced climate change as a moral issue and called on people of faith and goodwill to take action. The U.S. Catholic bishops recognize a national carbon pollution standard like the Clean Power Plan as one such important action, and this letter demonstrates the commitment of the U.S. Catholic community to prophetically advocate for policies that care for our common home.” 

Clean Power Plan Support Letter
By Leaders of the U.S. Catholic Community

To the President of the United States,
the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency,
the Democratic and Republican leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives,
and the 50 Governors of the United States,

As Catholic individuals and representatives of Catholic institutions, we call upon our state and federal elected officials to address the emerging climate crisis and lead the transition to renewable energy by taking legislative and executive action to meet and exceed the carbon reduction goals as laid out in the Clean Power Plan.

In Laudato Si’ (LS), his groundbreaking encyclical on ecology, Pope Francis echoes Saint John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI by calling climate change an urgent moral issue that wounds creation, threatens human life and dignity, and disproportionately harms the poor and vulnerable who contribute the least to climate change.[1] Pope Francis writes, “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day” (LS 25).

In keeping with traditional Catholic teaching, Pope Francis says that we must all care for creation and the poor. Individuals, families, communities, governments, business and other institutions – including religions – all have a role to play in safeguarding our common home. In particular, the pope observes that “technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay” (LS 165). Additionally, the Holy Father underscores the “urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy” (LS 26).

One such policy in the United States is the Clean Power Plan (CPP). It is the most significant step that the U.S. has ever taken to address climate change. By 2030, the CPP is projected to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants by nearly 30 percent relative to 2005 levels. The Plan would also reduce other dangerous power plant pollution like sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide. These reductions are expected to prevent up to 3,600 premature deaths, 90,000 asthma attacks in children, and 300,000 missed work and school days.[2] They are also anticipated to produce up to $54 billion in public health and climate benefits – benefits that would be lost if the Clean Power Plan is not upheld and implemented.[3]

A national standard for reducing emissions in the electricity sector also goes a long way towards promoting human equality and environmental justice. African American children in the United States are four times more likely to be hospitalized for asthma and 7 times more likely than white children to die from asthma.[4] Nearly 40 percent of Latinos and 68 percent of African Americans in the United States live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant, and the health of these persons and communities at a greater risk because of their increased proximity to these plants. Reducing or eliminating emissions will thus go a long way towards reducing this risk.[5]

We therefore join with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other faith leaders who have called for a national carbon pollution standard like the Clean Power Plan.[6] We agree with them that the CPP is, as the U.S. Catholic bishops say, “an 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.” We believe that greenhouse gas pollution reduction efforts like the CPP will protect public health, promote equality, address climate change, and help create new economic opportunities in communities across the country – including an expected national net gain of thousands of new jobs.[7] We also believe that the CPP provides the flexibility needed for states to meet reduction goals and recognize the widespread public support for the CPP and other efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas pollution.[8]

If the Courts do not uphold the Clean Power Plan, then we call upon Congress to replace the CPP with new policies that will achieve the same or more ambitious carbon reduction goals. In that case, we also urge elected officials in each state to meet and exceed the carbon reduction goals identified for their state in the Clean Power Plan.

No matter the legal fate of the CPP, we believe that Congress will need to take additional steps in the years ahead to reduce domestic carbon pollution even more. As Congress looks to take legislative action like placing a price on carbon pollution, however, we advocate for accompanying transition programs (e.g., job training) that assist local communities which rely heavily upon some aspect of the fossil fuel industry.

In sum, we call upon our elected leaders to care for our common home by taking legislative and executive action to meet and exceed the carbon reduction goals as laid out in the Clean Power Plan. We urge our officials to exercise strong leadership and help transition the United States away from its reliance on fossil fuels towards a clean and renewable energy future characterized by justice and peace “with God, with our neighbour and with the earth itself” (LS 66).

Signed,

Laura Anderson
Director of Marketing
Franciscan Peace Center

Sister Joan Agro
Sisters of St Dominic 
Blauvelt, NY

Sister Carol De Angelo, SC
Director of Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation
Sisters of Charity of New York

Roger Bergman,PhD
Director
Justice & Peace Studies Program, Creighton University

Sister Veronica Blake, SMR
Co-Director
Full Circle EcoHouse of Prayer 

Sister Margaret Louise Brown, D.C., Director
Office for Social Justice and Environmental Advocacy
Daughters of Charity Province of Los Altos Hills

Sister Sally Ann Brickner, OSF
Coordinator of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes

James Buchanan, Ph.D.
The Brueggeman Center for Dialogue
University Professor and Executive Director 
Xavier University

Judy Byron, OP
Program Director
Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center

Patrick Carolan
Executive Director
Franciscan Action Network

Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D.
President
Newman University

Rev. Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale
President
St. Thomas University
Miami Gardens, FL

Janice Cebula, OSF

Marilyn Huegerich, OSF

Kathleen Holland, OSF

Leadership Team

Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, Iowa

Francesco C. Cesareo, Ph.D.
President
Assumption College

Sister Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN
Executive Director
Pax Christi USA

Sister Mary Elizabeth Clark, SSJ
Director
Earth Center
Philadelphia, PA

Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids (MI)

Sister Mary Brigid Clingman OP

Promoter of Justice

Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J.
President
Rockhurst University

Moya K. Dittmeier
Executive Director
Conference for Mercy Higher Education

James S. Dlugos, Ph.D.
President
Saint Joseph's College

Sister Gemma Doll, OP
Leadership Team
Dominican Sisters of Peace

Sister Karen M. Donahue, RSM
Justice Coordinator
Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community

Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D.
President
Villanova University

Sister Sara Dwyer, ASC
Coordinator for Justice and Peace
Adorers of the Blood of Christ, US Region

EarthCARE Committee
Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Scranton, Pennsylvania

Sister Evangeline Escobar, FMI        
Provincial, United States Province
Congregation of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate

Peter Feldmeier, Ph.D.
Murray/Bacik Endowed Professor of Catholic Studies
University of Toledo

Michael Galligan-Stierle, Ph.D.
President
Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities

Rev. Michael J. Garanzini, SJ
Chancellor
Loyola University Chicago

Susan Gatz, SCN
President
Sisters of Charity of Nazareth

Mary Ann Gawelek, Ed.D.
President
Lourdes University

John Gehring
Catholic Program Director
Faith in Public Life

Dr. Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw
President
St. John’s University

Sister Maureen Irvin, OSF
Sister Marjorie Jeanne Niemer, OSF
Sister Joanita Koors, OSF
Sister Mary Beth Gianoli, OSF
Leadership Team
Sisters of St. Francis
Oldenburg, IN

Alice Marie Giordano OSU
Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Coordinator
Ursulines of the Roman Union, Eastern Province

Sister Brenda Gonzales, SCN
Vice President
Sisters of Charity of Nazareth

Sister Sharon Goodremote, FSSJ
Leadership Team Member
Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph from Hamburg, NY

Rev. Michael Graham, SJ
President
Xavier University

Michael. A. Grandillo, Ph.D.
President
Madonna University

Sister Jeannine Gramick, SL
National Co-Coordinator
National Coalition of American Nuns 

Sister Teri Hadro, BVM

President, Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Dubquue Iowa

Christopher J. Hale
Executive Director
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good

Sister Mary Beth Hamm, SSJ

Coordinator: Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation

Congregation of Bon Secours

James T. Harris III, DEd
President
University of San Diego

Patricia Harvat, OP
Patricia Siemen, OP
Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP
Elise D. García, OP
Members of the General Council, Adrian Dominican Sisters

Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD
President
Creighton University

Sister Anita Henning, CSA
Sister Susan Seeby, CSA
Sister Jean Steffes, CSA
Sister Jomarie Zielke, CSA
Leadership Team of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes

Sister Barbara Hudock, ASC
U.S. Region Leader
Adorers of the Blood of Christ

Tomás Insua
Executive Director
Global Catholic Climate Movement

Sr. Jane Iannucelli, President
Sr. Margaret O'Brien, Assistant to President
Sisters of Charity of New York

Joe Incandela, PhD
Associate Dean of Faculty
Joyce McMahon Hank Aquinas Chair in Catholic Theology
Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, IN

Sister Maureen Irvin, OSF
Congregational Minister
Sisters of St. Francis Oldenburg, Indiana

Sr. Rose Marie Jasinski, CBS

Leader

Sisters of Bon Secours, USA

Sister Leanne Jablonski, FMI, PhD
Director
Marianist Environmental Education Center

Arvid C. Johnson, PhD
President
University of St. Francis
Joliet, Illinois

Christopher G. Kerr
Executive Director
Ignatian Solidarity Network 

Father Timothy P. Kesicki S.J.
President
Jesuit Conference

Sister Elise Kriss, OSF
President
University of Saint Francis

Sister Toby Lardie, HM

Pastoral Leader

Sisters of the Humility of Mary

Sister Shelia Lemieux, CSJP
Congregation Leader
Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace

Linda M. LeMura, Ph.D.
President
Le Moyne College

Kelly Litt
Justice Promoter
Dominican Sisters of Peace

Sr. Patricia A. Lowery, MMS, MD
Coordinator, Medical Mission Sisters

Anne Lythgoe, OP
Leadership Team

Dominican Sisters of Peace

Sr. Didi Madden, OP
Justice Promoter
Office of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation
Dominican Sisters in Committed Collaboration (Amityville, Blauvelt, Caldwell, Hope, and Sparkill)

Sister Patricia McDermott, RSM
President
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Sister Margaret Magee OSF
Associate Minister, Franciscan Sisters of Allegany
President & Board Chair, Franciscan Action Network

Sister Maureen McGarrity, CSFN, PhD
President
Holy Family University

Brother Brian McLauchlin, SVD
Justice & Peace Committee, Chicago Province
Society of the Divine Word

Alex Mikulich, Ph.D.
Director, FaithActs Youth Theology Institute
Loyola University New Orleans

Richard Miller, Ph.D.
Associate Professor & Director of the M.A. in Theology Program
Creighton University

Sister Catherine A. Minhoto, RSHM
Councillor
Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Western American Province

Dan Misleh
Executive Director
Catholic Climate Covenant

Fr. Terrence J. Moran
Director
Office of Peace, Justice and Ecological Integrity
Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth

Sister Mary Jane Herb, IHM
President
Leadership Council of the Sisters
Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary – Monroe, MI

Sister Geraldine Nowak, OSF
Assistant Coordinator
Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
Sisters of St. Francis

David O'Brien
Loyola Professor of Catholic Studies Emeritus
College of the Holy Cross

Sister Mary Anne Owens, SSND
Provincial Leader
School Sisters of Notre Dame, Central Pacific Province

Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP
General Councilor
Adrian Dominican Sisters

Sister Mary Pellegrino, CSJ
Congregational Moderator
Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden

Joy Peterson, PBVM
Promoter of Peace and Justice
Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa

Neil Pezzulo, 1st Vice President
The Glenmary Home Missioners
Commission on Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation

Bro. Bernard J. Ploeger, S.M., Ph.D.
President
Chaminade University of Honolulu

Gene Poore, OP

Leadership Team

Dominican Sisters of Peace

Marie Prefontaine, SNDdeN
Coordinator of US Activities
U.S. Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

Sister Mary Reap, IHM
President
Elms College

Sister Jane F. Remson, O.Carm.
President & CEO, Carmelite NGO
Congregation of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Sister Diane Roche, RSCJ
Director of the Office of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation
The Stuart Center for Mission, Educational Leadership and Technology

Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD
President
Loyola University Chicago

Sister Natalie Rossi, RSM
Leadership Councilor
Sisters of Mercy NyPPaW
Liaison to NyPPaW Justice Team

Jame Schaefer, Ph.D.
Director of the Interdisciplinary Minor in Environmental Ethics
Associate Professor of Theology
Marquette University

Stephen F. Schneck, Ph.D.
Director & Professor, Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies
The Catholic University of America

Eileen Schwalbach, Ph.D.
President
Mount Mary University

Matthew Shank, Ph.D.
President
Marymount University

Michael J. Sheeran, S.J.
President
Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU)

John Sniegocki
Associate Professor of Christian Ethics
Director, Peace & Justice Studies
Xavier University 

Rebecca Smith

Supervisor of Environmental Services

Sisters of St. Francis / Lourdes University

Sister Joan Marie Steadman, CSC
Executive Director
Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Rev. Martin Solma, SM, Provincial
Brother Joseph Kamis, SM, Asst. Provincial 
Marianist Province of the United States (Society of Mary)

Sister Joseph Spring, SCC
President
Assumption College for Sisters

Helen J. Streubert
President
College of Saint Elizabeth
Morristown, NJ

Sister Rose Mary Sullivan, CND
Coordinator of Justice and Peace
Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame United States Province

Lawrence Tanner, Ph.D.
Director
Center for the Study of Environmental Change

Le Moyne College
Donald Taylor, Ph.D.
President
Cabrini University

Very Rev. Brian Terry, SA
President
Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Sister Rose Marie Tresp, RSM
Director of Justice
Sisters of Mercy South Central Community

Sr. Patricia A. Twohill, OP

Prioress

Dominican Sisters of Peace

Working Group Members
The Mountaintop Removal Working Group
Working Group of the Justice & Peace Network, Sisters of St. Francis
Rochester, MN

Sister Jean Verber, OP
Justice Outreach Coordinator
Racine Dominicans

Sister Janet Weyker, OP
Chairperson
Racine Dominican Earth Focus Committee

Dr. H. James Williams
President
Mount St. Joseph University
Cincinnati, OH

Scott Wright
Director
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach


[1] Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ (Vatican: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2015). Available online: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html.

[2] Environmental Protection Agency, “Fact Sheet: Clean Power Plan by the Numbers,” last updated July 14, 2016, https://www.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan/fact-sheet-clean-power-plan-numbers.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Children’s Defense Fund, “Asthma Health Fact Sheet,” last updated March 2010, http://www.childrensdefense.org/library/data/asthma-factsheet.pdf.

[5] Adrianna Quintero et al., U.S. Latinos and Air Pollution: A Call to Action (New York: Natural Resources Defense Council, 2011), 15. Available online: https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/LatinoAirReport.pdf.

[6] U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, "Oral Testimony At EPA Hearing On Proposed Federal Clean Power Plan," November 18, 2015, http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/environment/oral-testimony-epa-hearing-on-clean-power-plan-2015-11-18.cfm; Dennis Sadowski, “Catholic institutions join amicus brief supporting Clean Power Plan,” Catholic News Service, April 4, 2016, http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2016/catholic-institutions-join-amicus-brief-supporting-clean-power-plan.cfm

[7] Industrial Economics, Incorporated and Interindustry Economic Research Fund, Inc., Assessment of the Economy-wide Employment Impacts of EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan (Cambridge, MA: Industrial Economics, Incorporated, 2015). Available online: http://www.inforum.umd.edu/papers/otherstudies/2015/iec_inforum_report_041415.pdf; Josh Bivens, A Comprehensive Analysis of the Employment Impacts of the EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan (Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Institute, 2015). Available online: http://www.epi.org/files/pdf/79246.pdf.

[8] Amanda Reilly, “Public Opinion: Strong majorities support climate action -- study,” E&E News, May 4, 2016, http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1060036709/