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Catholic Leaders Celebrate New Clean Air Protections

June 24, 2011, 12:31 pm | Posted by Tara Culp-Ressler

pollution.jpgThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed new national standards for toxic air pollution from power plants. The new standards, which will limit emissions such as mercury and arsenic, are strong health protections that will further the work of the 1990 Clean Air Act.

As the Catholic News Service reports, several Catholic groups are coming out in public support of the EPA proposal based on principles from Catholic teaching. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Health Association and the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change have all praised the proposed standards for helping care for human life and preserve God’s creation.

Sister Carol Keehan, Catholic Health Association’s president and CEO, expressed her support of the EPA’s proposal in a letter to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson:

“Our position on controlling pollution from power plants is rooted in the Catholic Church’s teachings on the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of human life — especially in regards to the poor and vulnerable who disproportionately bear the brunt of environmental degradation. We encourage the EPA to adopt strong air quality policies in order to protect the health and welfare of both people and the planet, and we oppose industry and congressional pressure to weaken the proposed rules.”

Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, also wrote a letter of support to Jackson:

“While we are not experts on air pollution, our general support for a national standard to reduce hazardous air pollution from power plants is guided by Catholic teaching, which calls us to care for God’s creation and protect the common good and the life and dignity of human persons, especially the poor and vulnerable, from conception until natural death.”

It’s encouraging to see people of faith standing up for environmental issues from a creation care perspective. As presidential candidates jump over each other to try to delay and dismantle environmental protections, it’s even more important that the faith community makes its voice heard. Hopefully they will stand together to oppose critics of the EPA.

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