— Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Wednesday’s votes on Capitol Hill show us that it is possible to win the battle for clean air, but also how hard that battle will be.
We commend the Senate for voting against measures to prevent the EPA from doing its job of protecting the public from air pollution. At the same time, we are greatly disappointed by the House vote to block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.
Over the 41 years since it was first enacted, the Clean Air Act has contributed to improving our air quality, saving and enhancing untold lives that would otherwise have suffered with respiratory and other pollution-related ailments such as asthma, heart and lung disease.
Despite these successes, some in Congress are determined to strip the EPA of its ability to regulate greenhouses gases under the Clean Air Act; putting polluters ahead of people. The Senate’s vote should be the start of an effort to ensure stronger energy and environmental policies – not a weakening of the laws that have been a keystone of American environmental and human health.
These attempts to undermine the Clean Air Act are an affront to the values and teachings that inspire us as Jews, chief among them the knowledge that it is our responsibility to till and tend the earth and not to exploit it. Now is the time to come together and urge, in the strongest possible terms, that Congress and the President enact and enforce effective energy and environmental policies, for ourselves and our children’s future.