Vermont Interfaith Power and Light

A faith-based response to global climate change

US faith communities denounce anticipated EPA decision to weaken nation’s clean car standards

 Interfaith Power & Light affiliates from around the country respond to threat of increased pollution

In response to the anticipated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) move to weaken national clean car standards, a network of Interfaith Power & Light religious communities from states across the nation have issued the following statement:

“As faith-based organizations that are deeply concerned about the health of our communities and God’s Creation, we condemn the decision by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to weaken the nation’s vehicle emissions standards.

These standards protect communities against air pollution, especially the most vulnerable: our children, the elderly, and those living near freeways and high traffic areas. We know vehicle pollution is not harmless, we see it destroying the health and wellbeing of communities across the country, leading to sickness and even premature death. On behalf of the 25 million Americans, including six million children, who suffer from asthma, we oppose this rollback as a shameful injustice.

The EPA’s move to saddle Americans with high-polluting vehicles that contribute to climate change is unconscionable. We have the technology, here and now, to make cleaner cars in a cost-effective manner. Withholding superior technology that’s proven to save lives is morally wrong. We call on the administration to rescind this order now.

In the absence of federal leadership, we urge the coalition of clean cars states to continue to lead the fight against polluting vehicles in the name of their own residents, and for the good of their neighbors and all of Creation.”

Rev. Susan Hendershot Guy, President, Interfaith Power & Light (national)

Rev. Alison Cornish, Director – Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light

Rabbi Glenn Jacob, Director – New York Interfaith Power & Light

Rev. Richard H. Hibbert, Board Chair– Vermont Interfaith Power & Light

Vince Maraventano, Director – Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light

Joelle Novey, Director – Interfaith Power & Light of Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia

Lisa Locke, Director – Delaware Interfaith Power & Light

LeeAnne Beres, Director – Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light

Britt Conroy, Policy Director – Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon/Oregon Interfaith Power & Light


“Those bearing the burden of pollution are most often low-income communities and communities of color. It is a matter of environmental justice to speak up for clean car standards to protect the most vulnerable among us, the very neighbors that our diverse religious traditions call us to care for.”

– Rev. Susan Hendershot Guy, President – Interfaith Power & Light (national)

 “Vermont Interfaith Power & Light is made up of people of faith who care about human health, our climate, and God’s Creation. We are called to care for our neighbors and for the most vulnerable among us, and we must not pollute our neighbors’ air. This is a moral calling. The EPA must not reverse our country’s clean car standards.”

  – Rev. Richard H. Hibbert, Board Chair – Vermont Interfaith Power & Light

 “Maryland’s faith communities are committed to going green in our sanctuaries and homes and we’re proud that the state is a national leader in environmental protection. We’re committed to science-based climate pollution targets through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, and are the first state sitting on shale gas to ban fracking before drilling began. We reject efforts to bring national car standards down; we’re already leaders in doing right by our neighbors and the natural world; rather than putting obstacles in our path, the EPA should be following our lead.”

  – Joelle Novey, Director – Interfaith Power & Light of Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia

 “Car manufacturers were at the table as stakeholders and partners when these achievable and important standards were drafted. They participated in setting an important benchmark — one that would reduce current harm to our neighbors, children and elders in neighborhoods that bear the brunt of our combustion-powered transportation systems. We were thankful for the ways that they leaned into the good, toward justice. What has happened to that commitment which we so rightly celebrated?”

  – Rev. Alison Cornish, Director – Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light

 “Clean cars states like Massachusetts have long had the right to maintain safeguards that protect their citizens from vehicle pollution. If they move forward, Washington D.C. is ignoring the good of the many in favor of the profits of a few. Massachusetts is already suffering from pollution coming from states to our west and south. Any move that prevents us from protecting the health of our citizens is a moral outrage.”

  – Vince Maraventano, Director – Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light

 “Religious leaders in Washington State are dismayed by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to weaken vehicle fuel efficiency standards. Transportation fuels are responsible for nearly half of the climate and air pollution in Washington State, and clean car standards are vital to protect the health of our families and neighbors. Rolling back these protections goes against religious values of stewardship, justice, and care for creation.”

  – LeeAnne Beres, Director – Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light

 “Congregational members and friends of Delaware Interfaith Power & Light are impassioned, informed and determined — we showed up to protect the Clean Power Plan, we rallied to stop offshore drilling and we will join forces once again to oppose any weakening of the clean car standards.”

  – Lisa Locke, Director – Delaware Interfaith Power & Light

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