August 22, 2018, Adrian, Michigan – In response to recent rollbacks of regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters has issued the following statement:
The elimination of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules aimed at reducing air pollution from coal-burning power plants not only continues the Trump Administration’s dangerous assault on efforts to address the long-term impacts of deleterious climate change – it also presents a clear and present danger. According to news reports, the rollback of rules could lead to as many as 1,400 deaths, 15,000 cases of respiratory problems, and up to 180,000 school days missed annually by 2030.
This decision comes on the heels of an EPA rollback of fuel-efficiency rules intended to double the fuel economy of US-made cars by 2025, which would have significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions and tailpipe pollution. It, in turn, follows the Trump Administration’s decision last year to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.
These troubling actions move us, as a people and nation, away from the “new and universal solidarity” that is required to address the existential threat of global climate change. That solidarity, as Pope Francis wrote in Laudato Sí, is with the whole community of life on God’s Earth. “We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the Earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters” (Laudato Sí).