PNS Daily Newscast - June 20, 2019 

The Trump administration finalizes a coal-friendly emissions rule for power plants. Also on today's rundown: A new development in the debate over the 2020 Census citizenship question; and why "Juneteenth" is an encore celebration in Florida and other states.

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Pollution, Faith and Care for Creation

Some faith leaders believe they have a moral obligation to educate communities about climate change. (Don Christner/Flickr)
Some faith leaders believe they have a moral obligation to educate communities about climate change. (Don Christner/Flickr)
September 27, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio – As a U.S. District Court begins to hear opening arguments in a case challenging the EPA's Clean Power Plan, faith leaders in Ohio are speaking out on climate change.

At a gathering in Columbus today, people from diverse faith backgrounds will pray for creation and call on elected leaders to act to address methane pollution.

Shantha Ready Alonso, executive director of Creation Justice Ministries, described methane as a powerful, heat-trapping gas and a dominant contributor to climate disruption.

"If we don't get methane under control now, we are looking at a much sicker, warming planet than we thought we were and we won't be able to adjust our human behaviors to care for God's creation quickly enough to conserve what God has given us," she said.

The EPA recently released guidelines to reduce methane emissions from new oil and gas infrastructure, but the faith groups contend regulations also are needed for existing sources. The gathering on climate change and methane pollution begins at 10 a.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbus.

Toxic pollutants are released along with methane from oil and gas operations that are linked to serious health impacts including asthma. And Alonso said low-income and vulnerable populations often live in close proximity to oil and gas operations, bearing the brunt of the pollution.

"Religious communities are often on the front lines of coping with the health impacts, and we are involved in the pastoral care," Alonso explained. "We are involved in seeing how it hurts families, so health is of utmost concern."

Alonso added that faith leaders have a moral obligation to promote environmental justice and educate communities about climate change.

"It's fundamental to our faith traditions," she added. "It's really our first job. God calls on us to till and keep the earth in the creation narrative, and that's the first thing we were asked to do as humanity."

The faith groups sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency applauding its leadership in addressing climate pollutants, and calling for additional action to tackle methane emissions.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH