Faith Leaders to the EPA: We Need Clean Car Standards Now

Sep 8, 2022 | Press Releases

For Immediate Release: September 8th, 2022

Contact: Bill Bradlee, National Organizing Director and Affiliate Liaison, bill@interfaithpowerandlight.org, 415-506-8063

Faith Leaders to the EPA: We Need Clean Car Standards Now

Hundreds of clergy and faith leaders highlight the moral responsibility for EPA to tackle air pollution by establishing national clean car standards for future vehicles

Washington, DC– Today, Interfaith Power & Light delivered a petition from more than 500 faith leaders and clergy members calling on President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan to establish clean car standards for model years 2027 and beyond. A new clean cars rule will put our nation on a trajectory to make all new cars and light-duty trucks zero-emission vehicles no later than 2035. These standards are critical for protecting the health and safety of all Americans, especially historically marginalized communities. Clean car standards are also one of our most effective policies against the advancing impacts of climate change.

The petition reads, in part, “Reducing climate pollution from our two most carbon intensive sectors – electricity and transportation – is essential. Cars and light-duty trucks account for more than 20% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, making the transportation sector the number one source of climate pollution in the country.”

“As faith leaders, we urge you to establish clean car standards for model years 2027 and beyond that puts our nation on a trajectory to make all new cars and light-duty trucks zero-emission vehicles no later than 2035, and we ask you to redouble efforts to announce the draft rule before 2023. We have a moral responsibility to act right now as a nation to do all we can to address climate change for our communities, future generations, and our Sacred Earth.”

Following the delivery to EPA Headquarters, leaders from faith groups who circulated the petition gave the following statements:

Rev. Susan Hendershot, President of Interfaith Power & Light:

 “We need President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan to make clean car standards a priority in order to protect our health, our environment, and our communities. We have a moral responsibility as a nation, and a sacred task as people of faith, to care for our climate, to advance environmental justice, and to leave a safe and thriving world for current and future generations. Clean car standards are a critical part of the fight against climate change.”

Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley, Board Chair, Interfaith Power & Light:

“The faith community is calling on President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan to deliver bold clean car standards that match the scale of the climate crisis and our communities’ needs. Clean car standards will safeguard Creation, mitigate the impacts of climate change on our most vulnerable neighbors, and fulfill our moral obligation to leave a habitable world for future generations.”

Susan Stephenson, Executive Director of California Interfaith Power & Light

“California is experiencing climate change now—extreme heat, wildfires, drought, and air pollution—and it’s the most vulnerable among us who are on the front lines.  People of faith are called to love our neighbors and protect all of Creation, and cleaning up the vehicles on our roads is one of the best ways to do that. Strong clean car standards are vital to safeguarding the health and well-being of millions of Americans. “

Bee Moorhead, Executive Director of Texas Impact/Texas Interfaith Power & Light

“Clear, consistent regulations are vital for businesses and consumers—and reducing transportation-sector emissions is vital to mitigate climate change. The Administration should move decisively to set clean car standards, so car manufacturers can get to work implementing these improvements that will safeguard Americans’ health and the health of the planet.” 

David Heayn-Menendez, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light:

“Nearly forty percent of Americans live in counties with unhealthy levels of air pollution, with people of color being sixty-one percent more likely than white people to live in dangerously polluted areas. With rising rates of heart disease, lung cancer, and other polluted-related diseases, it has become abundantly clear that we need long-term clean car standards. As people of faith and conscience, we have a moral obligation to protect our most vulnerable communities from the harmful impact of unmitigated air pollution.”

Leah Wiste, Executive Director of Michigan Interfaith Power & Light:

“Our climate, our communities, and our conscience compel us to demand the strongest possible clean car standards. With more Americans dying each year from tailpipe pollution than from car accidents, clean cars are critical for the health and wellbeing of current and future generations.”


Interfaith Power & Light is a national nonprofit with over 40 state affiliates, reaching 22,000+ congregations in all 50 states. IPL inspires and mobilizes people of faith and conscience to take bold and just action on climate change.

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