Jewish lawmakers favoring Obama power plants plan

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St. Clair Power Plant, a large coal-fired generating station in Michigan, United States.

St. Clair Power Plant, a large coal-fired generating station in Michigan, United States.  (Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (SDJW)–The Jewish delegation in Congress generally reacted with favor to an announcement from the Obama Administration on Monday, June 2, that states will be required to cut their emissions from power plants by 30 percent over the next 16 years.  Jewish organizations that take positions on environmental legislation also had positive reactions.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California): said: “The devastating effects of climate change are real and they are  happening today—and the causes are largely the result of human activity. Simply put, we are fundamentally altering the earth, and  without urgent action we face catastrophe. I strongly support the president’s decision to confront greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. These power plants  account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. emissions and need to be regulated. The EPA proposal offers an opportunity to address climate change while at the same time improving our electricity system. As states  consider how to meet these goals, I encourage them to look at  California’s cap-and-trade program.We need every tool at our disposal to solve the problem of climate change, and today’s action is a big step toward reaching that goal.”

Sen. Bernard Sanders (Independent- Vermont) said: “I applaud the EPA’s proposal for common-sense standards to reduce the carbon pollution that causes global warming. Much more must be done to avoid a planetary crisis, but reducing emissions from dirty coal-fired power plants is a good step. Shutting down old, dirty power plants and replacing them with solar, wind and other renewable and sustainable sources of energy will also create hundreds of thousands of jobs and save consumers billions of dollars.”  Sanders noted that
“Vermont is the only state not covered under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule proposed today because the state does not have any fossil fuel-fired power plants. Under the proposal, Vermont may collaborate with other states in the New England region to meet a multi-state goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said:  “American businesses, farmers, ranchers and families are experiencing the effects of climate change in the United States today. Inaction on climate change is no longer an option, so those who would criticize EPA’s plan have a responsibility to put forward their own ideas on how to move to a low-carbon economy. Climate change is the most important environmental challenge of our time. Without immediate action, its effects will only get worse. EPA’s proposed rule offers an opportunity to put our country on the road to lower emissions and put each state in the driver’s seat to determine its own best course.”

Rep. Susan Davis (D-California) commented:  “We have a responsibility to our children to leave them a planet with cleaner air. The President’s proposed goal of a 30 percent cut in carbon pollution emissions will mean the air we breathe will be  cleaner, resulting in a reduction in pollution-related health risks, a healthier planet, and a stronger economy.”

Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Illinois) said:  “Addressing the challenges presented by climate change requires concerted, long-term action, and the new EPA standards represent just that. Asking our energy sector to curb carbon pollution is a significant step forward in combatting climate change and modernizing how we power our nation for future generations. Reducing carbon pollution not only helps improve the air we breathe, it helps spur important investments in green technology that are critical to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Climate change is a real, pressing threat and by developing and harnessing green and renewable energy, we can continue to lessen the impact on the Earth’s climate and pass along a cleaner, healthier planet to the next generation.”

Among Jewish organizations, there was this reaction from Barbara Weinstein, director of the Commission on Social Action and associate director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism:

“We commend the Environmental Protection Agency proposal of  substantial carbon emissions limits for existing power plants.  Scientists and climate experts have long since determined that  carbon pollution poses significant threats to public health and  disproportionately affects low-income communities, people of color,
children and older adults.

“Additionally, carbon pollution is the primary cause of climate  change and the associated frequent and severe storms, rising sea  levels and crippling droughts. Each of these and other extreme  weather events are further evidence of what was affirmed in the recent National Climate Assessment report, which is that climate
change is already having an impact on communities worldwide. These new federal standards, which target a key source of carbon  pollution, mark an historic step in our commitment to protecting public health and curbing climate change.

“While mitigating the devastation of climate change is a political and economic challenge, in the Jewish community, climate change is a moral challenge as well. This week, we observe the holiday of  Shavuot, which marks the summer harvest and reminds us of our connection to the land, which is a gift from God entrusted to our care. This Shavuot, we strengthen our commitment to the earth,  both by making responsible environmental choices in our personal  lives and by advocating for strong measures to arrest the  consequences of climate change.

“We look forward to continuing to support and work with the EPA  and the Obama Administration to fully implement strict carbon pollution standards for existing power plants to protect the health and well-being of our planet and its inhabitants.”

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Preceding collated by San Diego Jewish World staff

2 Responses to “Jewish lawmakers favoring Obama power plants plan”

  1. Jerome C Liner says:

    What is to applaud in this abysmally stupid decision? Trillions of dollars, that could have been used to create jobs, will be taken out of an already weak economy. The CO2 contribution from the US is negligible compared to what China and India spew into the atmosphere. Wind currents do not respect international boundaries. China and India will continue, unabated, spewing CO2 into the atmosphere. The bottom line is we will cripple our economy with zero effect on the atmosphere. The perpetrators of this are either incredibly stupid or deviously evil. That so many of you are taken in by this is very depressing.

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