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Faith Leaders Support EPA’s Light-Duty Vehicle Standards as a Step Towards a Zero Emissions Future

Mar 20, 2024 | Press Releases |

Faith Leaders Support EPA’s Light-Duty Vehicle Standards as a Step Towards a Zero Emissions Future

For Immediate Release: March 20th, 2024

Contact: Jessica Quinn, Communications Manager, jessica@interfaithpowerandlight.org or (603)731-7088

Washington, DC – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency announced its newest set of light-duty vehicle standards for model years 2027 through 2032. According to the EPA’s own analysis, the transportation sector accounts for approximately 29% of greenhouse gas emissions—more than any other sector in the U.S.—and is the fastest growing emitter of climate pollution.

We applaud the consistent efforts of the Administration to move us toward a better climate future. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the new rules will cut more than 7 billion tons of carbon emissions and provide nearly $100 billion of annual net benefits to society, including $13 billion of annual public health benefits due to improved air quality and $62 billion in reduced annual fuel costs. At the same time, we are concerned about the stringency of the final rules and believe that we can, and should, go further in our commitments to protect all people and our Sacred Earth. As people of faith and conscience, we know that strong clean car standards are central to reducing emissions, mitigating the impacts of climate change on our most vulnerable neighbors, and fulfilling our moral obligation to leave a habitable world for current and future generations. These standards are critical for protecting the health and safety of all Americans, especially BIPOC communities and low-income communities.

Interfaith Power & Light celebrates this final light-duty vehicle rule as a critical step forward while acknowledging the need to continue working to eliminate unnecessary loopholes that unfairly benefit the oil & gas industry and automakers at the expense of our communities and Sacred Earth. 

Rev. Susan Hendershot, Executive Director of Interfaith Power & Light: “People of faith and conscience have been eagerly awaiting the newest set of light-duty vehicle emissions standards, and are grateful to see these rules advance us in the right direction. However, the rules do not provide the stringency required to address the emergent climate and public health crises in our country. We have a moral opportunity 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. The strongest possible clean car standards are a critical part of our work against climate change, and we thank President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan for moving us in the right direction while acknowledging the work that lies ahead.”

Sister Joan Brown, OSF, Executive Director of New Mexico and El Paso 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. As people of faith and conscience, we believe that clean car standards at the national level can rapidly address climate change and pollution. Addressing this climate justice concern by transitioning our transportation system to cleaner fuel is important for our sacred communities and Earth.  We have a moral obligation to work to protect people and the planet from the harmful impacts of unmitigated air pollution.”

Terri Eikel, Executive Director of Connecticut Interfaith Power & Light: “While these standards are a step in the right direction, we acknowledge the continuing work we need to do across the country to ensure equitable access to clean transportation. The strength of state-based vehicle standards is now even more critical to protecting our communities and Sacred Earth.”

Susan Stephenson, Executive Director of California Interfaith Power & Light: “With climate change ravaging our communities with heat waves, fires, and floods, the time for half measures has passed. We need strong clean car standards to cut pollution from our vehicles now.  As people of faith called to love our neighbors and protect all of Creation, we are deeply concerned about the impacts of global warming and the risk it poses to the most vulnerable among us. If the federal government won’t do it, states like California must step up and take moral action to protect our communities and our world.”

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. While these standards are a step in the right direction, Michiganders need even stronger rules to curb climate pollution and save lives in the next five years. The strength of these standards is critical to advancing environmental justice across the country.”

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Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) is a national organization that inspires and mobilizes people of faith and conscience to take bold and just action on climate change. IPL works in all 50 states and U.S. territories with a broad national network of state- and regional-level affiliates. For more information please visit www.interfaithpowerandlight.org. 

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