The Trump administration has announced its intention to roll back pollution controls on coal burning power plants in the United States by replacing the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan with the Affordable Clean Energy rule. By the EPA’s own admission, the new proposed rule would lead to as many as 1,400 premature deaths, 48,000 new cases of “exacerbated asthma,” and at least 21,000 new missed days of school every year.
The Affordable Clean Energy rule fails to protect human health and the environment – which is the stated mission of the EPA.
Coal is the United States' dirtiest energy source, from mining to burning to disposing of coal waste. The proposed rule runs counter to Pope Francis’ statement that "We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay" (Laudato Sí', #165).
The Clean Power Plan is the most significant federal action to protect the health and wellbeing of people in the United States and to mitigate climate change. In just the last two years, the United States has faced extreme weather events that are fueled by a warming world – stronger hurricanes, unprecedented flooding, and raging wildfires. We need to keep the Clean Power Plan to address the climate disruption that is hurting all of us.
Write a Letter to the Editor
From our friends at the Catholic Climate Covenant:
If your local newspaper has covered this issue recently, we ask that you consider submitting a Letter-to-the-Editor (LTE) expressing your concern with the new rule and highlighting the importance of Catholic values in guiding public policy including protecting human health and life, and promoting human dignity, especially of our poor and vulnerable neighbors. LTEs are read by public officials, contribute to community dialogue and can make a real difference!
Writing a letter to the editor is simple. You can follow this template (remember to personalize and make it YOURS!)
- Hook – About What Are You Writing (Reference the article you are responding to-Title/date).
Example: “I write in response to the article …. (title and date of article)
- Religious Connection – Why Is This Important to You AS A CATHOLIC?
Example: "As a Catholic, I agree with Pope Francis and the U.S. bishops that we need to care for our common home and our fellow neighbors by addressing climate change. We need to transition away from the fuels which harm human health and cause climate change.”
- Local Connection – Why Is This Important to You?
Example: “I am deeply concerned about climate change because (connect to an issue in your local community/state)"
- Call to Action –
Example: "The US Catholic Conference of Bishops and the Catholic Climate Covenant have urged the EPA not to revoke the Clean Power Plan, and, if repealed, that the alternative should meet or exceed the Clean Power Plan’s goals. Unfortunately, the Administration has done the opposite. The EPA’s own analysis finds that the proposed rule could lead to as many as 1,400 premature deaths, 48,000 new cases of ‘exacerbated asthma,’ and at least 21,000 new missed days of school every year.”
- Conclusion – End on a positive note!
Example: “I am hopeful that our nation will demonstrate the moral courage needed to protect public health and our common home from the current and future effects of climate change.”
- Check your local paper for their guidelines – typically, your letter should be 200-250 words long.
Please let the Catholic Climate Covenant know if you submit a letter to the editor even if it is not published. AND if your LTE is published, please send them a link to the article or scan the piece and email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for taking the time to submit a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. It is critical that we show our communities and public officials that Catholics support clean air and climate action.