June 24, 2015
United States Senate/House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20510/20515
As Chair of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I write to urge you to oppose legislation and appropriations riders designed to reverse efforts to implement a national standard to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants.
Our Conference has long spoken out on the importance of prudent action to address the growing impact of global climate change. In a July 30, 2014 letter to the EPA, Bishop Richard Pates, former Chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, and I expressed support for a national standard to reduce carbon pollution and offered moral principles to guide all, including the EPA and states, as they take steps to reduce carbon pollution. These principles include: care for creation, promotion of the common good, respect for the human person, social and economic justice, and a priority for those who are poor and vulnerable.
As we stated in our July letter, “We welcome the EPA’s proposal of a national standard to reduce significantly carbon pollution and call upon our leaders in government and industry to act responsibly, justly and rapidly to implement such a standard.”
In his encyclical on ecology issued last week entitled Laudato Si’, Pope Francis called on all people to care for God’s creation and our common home for the well-being of current and future generations. He reminds us that “[t]he climate is a common good” and that, “[w]hether believers or not, we are agreed today that the earth is essentially a shared inheritance, whose fruits are meant to benefit everyone.” (nos.23, 93)
The U.S. bishops stand united with the Holy Father in his call to protect creation. The Pope stresses: “Today, in view of the common good, there is urgent need for politics and economics to enter into a frank dialogue in the service of life, especially human life.” (no.189). As government leaders, we ask you to resist any effort to impair the development of a national carbon standard and instead to support our nation’s ability to address this urgent global challenge confronting the human family.
Most Reverend Thomas G. Wenski
Archbishop of Miami
Chairman, Committee on Domestic Justice
and Human Development