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Bishop Pates to Reporters: Cuts to Environmental Protection Agency are “Suicidal”



Bishop Pates to Reporters- Cuts to Environmental Protection Agency are “Suicidal” .pdf

Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, IA, and episcopal liaison to Catholic Climate Covenant’s Board of Directors, was part of a press call of experts sharing views about the proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget.  Besides Bishop Pates, in the press call also included:  

  • Gina McCarthy, head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Obama
  • Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus
  • Ali A. Zaidi, Former White House Office of Management and Budget Associate Director for Natural Resources, Energy, and Science. 

 In his opening remarks, Bishop Pates said: 

Ironically, today at the Vatican, Pope Francis offered President Trump an autographed copy of his encyclical letter entitled Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. And in leaving that particular meeting with the pope, President Trump is said to have remarked, “I will not forget what you said.” 

What the pope has said is that, regarding climate change, it is very clear that the threat of climate change demands that the use of “highly polluting fossil fuels, especially coal, but also oil, and, to a lesser degree, gas, need to be progressively replaced without delay.” (LS #165) 

From the Pope’s perspective, from our own perspective, the Catholic Climate Covenant, we really consider the budget a moral document and we concur totally with what Reverend Yearwood just said about the most vulnerable, but we also concur that this particular budget is abandoning the long-range opportunity for short-sighted, perhaps even suicidal policy for us as we embrace the future. 

The scientific community is virtually certain of climate change, and [this budget] flies in the face of this proven fact.  

And finally, we think that [this budget] is really undermining the business opportunity of the future. I live here in Iowa, which has 35% renewable energy. That renewable energy has been a terrific boon to business. It has helped the economy. It has really helped prosperity. So, it seems counterintuitive [to think] that what the president is proposing is going to be beneficial for the welfare of the American people.  From a moral perspective, we have very strong, strong objections to it and encourage a very positive response that is in the best interest of all.