In letter to Trump, Episcopal bishops express opposition to EPA nominee

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Episcopal bishops of Massachusetts are coming out in opposition to President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Bishop of Western Massachusetts Douglas Fisher, along with four other current or retired bishops in the state, signed a letter to the President-elect stating that they will urge members of Congress to vote against the confirmation of Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator.

Pruitt is the current Attorney General of Oklahoma, and in that position has filed lawsuits against the EPA. He has also expressed a belief that the debate over climate change is not settled.

The bishops’ letter to Trump says that Pruitt’s history makes him an unacceptable choice to lead the agency.

“Our respect for our government leaders and our reverence for earth as God’s creation impel us to write to you to express our dismay at your selection of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency,” the bishops wrote. “We wonder why a person who has consistently and adamantly opposed all laws and policies that provide even minimal ‘protection’ to the environment should be entrusted with leading such an agency.”

The bishops went on to say that dismantling of EPA regulations would threaten the economy, and that global climate change is a threat to national security. They went on to say that they are praying for the new president, and that prayers for both the current president and president-elect will continue during their liturgies.

During the presidential campaign, Trump insisted that President Obama was running a “war on coal” and that the current administration’s environmental policies are costing Americans jobs.

The bishops’ complete letter is below:

Dear President-Elect Trump,

We, the Bishops of the Episcopal Church in Massachusetts, are glad to let you know that all of our 235 churches pray for you regularly in our liturgies with these or similar words: “For those in positions of public trust, especially Barack our President and Donald our President-Elect, that they may serve justice, and promote the dignity and freedom of every person.”

We also pray: “Give us reverence for the earth as your own creation, that we may use its resources rightly in the service of others and to your honor and glory.”

The Episcopal Church stands strongly for the protection of the environment. We respect the facts of science.  We support laws and policies that address the reality of climate change. We are in the process of divesting our financial interest in fossil fuels. Most recently our Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Michael Curry, joined Native Americans at Standing Rock in their effort to protect their water and their sacred land. Numerous other Episcopal Church leaders have likewise traveled to Standing Rock.

Our respect for our government leaders and our reverence for the earth as God’s creation impel us to write you to express our dismay about your selection of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. We wonder why a person who has consistently and adamantly opposed all laws and policies that provide even minimal “protection” to the environment should be entrusted with leading such an agency.

President-elect Trump, you have promised economic development. Like you, we value a stable and prosperous economy.  However, a thriving economy depends on a healthy environment. The more we weaken and dismantle the E.P.A.’s vital protections of our natural world, the more we threaten the common good.

You have also promised to strengthen our national defense. Like you, we value national security.  However, our country’s top military intelligence have concluded that climate change is a “threat multiplier” that is already creating instability around the world and will likely create significant security challenges in the years ahead.  If someone who casts doubt on the reality of climate change becomes the head of the E.P.A., our national security will be compromised.

As citizens of this beloved country, we intend to write our members of Congress, urging them to block the nomination of Scott Pruitt to lead the E.P.A. We will pray for a better choice.

And we will continue to pray for you as you assume this office of tremendous responsibility for the good of all.

Respectfully,

The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, Bishop Diocesan of Western Massachusetts

The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop Diocesan of Massachusetts

The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan of Massachusetts 

The Rt. Rev. Barbara C. Harris, Bishop Suffragan of Massachusetts (retired)

The Rt. Rev. Roy F. Cederholm, Bishop Suffragan of Massachusetts (retired)

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