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

Jun 29, 2023 | Press Releases |

For Immediate Release: June 29th, 2023
Contact: Bill Bradlee, National Organizing Director and Affiliate Liaison, bill@interfaithpowerandlight.org, 415-506-8063

Faith Leaders to the EPA: We Need Clean Vehicle Standards Now
Hundreds of clergy and faith leaders highlight the moral responsibility for EPA to secure clean air and address environmental justice by establishing robust national light- and heavy-duty vehicle standards

Washington, DC– Today, Interfaith Power & Light delivered two letters from more than 400 faith leaders and clergy members from across the country calling on President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan to establish the strongest possible light- and heavy-duty vehicle standards. These new rules will put our nation on a trajectory to eliminate tailpipe pollution from all new vehicles by 2035, and implementing the strongest possible vehicle standards would deliver massive emission reductions and life-saving relief to frontline communities of color and low-wealth communities. 

The petition reads, in part, “Now is the time to maximize the impact of our national clean car standards—the most effective policy that the federal government has to reduce dangerous air pollution, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and save consumers money at the pump. As policymakers, you have a critical and sacred role in helping to achieve these goals. As faith leaders, we urge you to establish strong light-duty vehicle multi-pollutant emissions standards that put our nation on a trajectory to a zero-emissions transportation future, and we ask you to redouble efforts to announce the draft rule before the end of 2023. 

For more than a decade, people of faith and conscience have advocated for strong safeguards on greenhouse gas pollution from transportation. Since then, the climate crisis has only accelerated, taking an enormous toll on human life, our communities, and our world. 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.”

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. “

Terri Eickel, Executive Director of Connecticut 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.”

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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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