Dec 06, 2022
We are grateful. We are grateful that, just one month ago, courageous members of Congress rejected an effort to add Senator Manchin's destructive permitting reform bill to a continuing budget resolution, an opportunity that Senate leadership had promised him just weeks prior in exchange for a vote on the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). This legislation would have gutted important environmental protections tirelessly fought for over many years, and fast-tracked fossil fuel projects, including the dangerous and unnecessary Mountain Valley Pipeline.
As people of faith committed to our shared call to care for the vulnerable and protect our common home, we will work to ensure the permitting bill does not renew historic legacies of injustice and inequity.
As faith leaders across diverse traditions, today we write to thank our legislators for taking a principled and ethical stand against this harmful deal. And we are tremendously grateful that Congress voted to pass the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). This watershed legislation will help the U.S. reduce emissions by incentivizing clean energy and transportation; creating well-paying jobs here in the U.S.; creating more resilient food systems; and jumpstarting the American transition to a zero-emission economy in order to secure a safe and livable future for all. The IRA includes investments in historically marginalized communities long-impacted and under-resourced due to environmental racism. This is an important step in the right direction to protect people and heal Earth, our common home.
Since the Inflation Reduction Act passed in August, recent climate disasters have reminded us yet again that much more needs to be done. In just the past few weeks, Hurricane Fiona killed 119 people in Florida and left millions of residents of Puerto Rico without power. Repeatedly, we see that people of color and underserved communities bear the brunt of environmental harms--whether sudden or ongoing--due to historic disenfranchisement and racist policies. This injustice also affects nations that have contributed little to the climate crisis; we watched with horror as one third of Pakistan was flooded and millions of people were robbed of homes and livelihoods. As Americans and as faith leaders, we must hold ourselves and our nation accountable and make amends for the choices that have harmed other people and the larger global community.
These frightening disasters are part of the overall trend of more frequent and fierce extreme weather phenomena exacerbated by climate change. Despite these worsening disasters and the ever-worsening destruction and deaths they exact on our nation and the world, some legislators refuse to recognize the dangers of continued American and global reliance on fossil fuels. We are fearful that the permitting bill will be revived in the next few days and included in must-pass legislation such as the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act or a year-end omnibus spending bill. This bill and its harmful provisions must not be included in must-pass legislation.
As people of faith committed to our shared call to care for the vulnerable and protect our common home, we will work to ensure the permitting bill does not renew historic legacies of injustice and inequity. Instead, we will continue to organize and advocate for further legislative action to turn the tide of the climate crisis and ensure environmental justice for all Americans. We embrace partnership with all who seek the only moral outcome--a clean energy transition and future in which all can flourish, where no one is left behind or exploited in the name of progress. We pray that our leaders in Congress will reject the permitting bill's inclusion in must-pass legislation and give us more for which to be grateful.
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