Press Release March 18, 2019: Faith Leaders Speak Out Against EPA’s Proposal to Weaken Mercury Safeguards

Mar 15, 2019 | In the News, IPL News Highlights, National Press Clips, Press Releases, What's New

NEWS RELEASE         March 18, 2019                   

Contacts: Susan Stephenson, executive director  (510) 444-4891; (510) 484-7198

Avery Davis Lamb, federal policy associate (on site in D.C.), (785) 217-6784

Faith Leaders Speak Out Against EPA’s Proposal to Weaken Mercury Safeguards

Sounding Alarm Through Prayer and Public Witness

Washington, D.C. – Faith leaders are alarmed by the EPA’s proposal to undermine the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, and put the health of Americans, particularly pregnant women, infants, children, and communities of color in jeopardy. On Monday, 18 faith leaders from across the country will testify against the proposed revisions, speaking from numerous Christian denominations and four faith traditions.

The current mercury pollution standards reduce dangerous levels of mercury, heavy metals and other toxic air pollution released from coal- and oil-burning power plants.

The proposed changes would create a higher threshold for future regulations in the rule-making process by narrowing the range of benefits the agency can consider —excluding most of the public health benefits from consideration.

“As a mother and as an ordained minister in the Christian tradition, I find this to be morally unacceptable,” Rev. Susan Hendershot wrote in The Hill last week. Rev. Hendershot is president of Interfaith Power & Light, a national organization with affiliates in 40 states mobilizing a religious response to global warming.

“As I read the Scriptures of my own faith, we are called to follow the example of Jesus Christ, who protected the poor, the marginalized and the vulnerable — and advised the mighty and the powerful to do the same. As people of faith and conscience, we have a moral obligation to defend the vulnerable and care for future generations. Wheeler’s willingness to poison our children goes against the very mission of the agency and is anathema to the moral principles embraced by diverse religious traditions,” Hendershot continued.

In addition, diverse people of faith, some with young children, will gather near the EPA headquarters in DC on Monday morning at 8:30 am to pray for children and all those most vulnerable to mercury pollution, and for those providing witness to the harm of dismantling these safeguards.


8:30 am: Multi-faith Prayer Circle for Clean Air & Water for God’s Children
EPA on 12th St NW between Constitution and Pennsylvania Ave.

8:00 am – 6:00pm:  EPA Hearing on proposed revisions to Mercury and Air Toxics Standards

EPA’s William Jefferson Clinton Building at 1201 Constitution Ave NW


The following religious leaders are among those scheduled to testify on Monday at the hearing:

8:30-9 am        Mirele Goldsmith                Jewish Climate Action Network

9-9:30 am        Patrick Carolan                    Franciscan Action Network

9-9:30 am        Rev. David Ensign              Clarendon Presbyterian Church

10-10:30 am    Rev. Mitch Hescox              Evangelical Environmental Network

11:30-12 pm    Melody Zhang                       Sojourners, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action

11:30-12 pm    Tori Goebel                            Young Evangelicals for Climate Action

1-1:30 pm        Joelle Novey                          Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA), Jewish

1-1:30 pm        Rev. Susan Hendershot      Interfaith Power & Light, Disciples of Christ

2-2:30 pm        Priscilla Martinez               Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA), Muslim

3:30-4 pm        Avery Davis Lamb              Interfaith Power & Light, United Methodist

3:30-4 pm        Sue DeVall                           West Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, Buddhist

4-4:30 pm        Laura File Long                 Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA), Methodist

4-4:30 pm        Sam Saltonstall                 Maine Interfaith Power & Light, United Church of Christ

4-4:30 pm        Rev. Laura Martin             Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ

5-5:30 pm        Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb    Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation

There will be additional speakers from the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), Creation Justice Ministries, and the National Association of Evangelicals.


Interfaith Power & Light is mobilizing a religious response to global warming in congregations through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.


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