Thursday, November 7, 2013

EPA Carbon Hearing Testimony

Prayer and Statement Before the EPA Carbon Rule Hearing
remarks as prepared
November 7, 2013

Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, II

Delivered at the Creation Justice Ministries Rally
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC
Opening Prayer

Let us pray. Eternal Creator, author of our dwelling place, we thank you for the blessing of your creation. The beauty of the stars, moon and sun. The power of your wind, rain and fire. The life sustaining sources of water, seed, plants and animals. We are reminded of your provisions each time we see, hear, taste, touch and smell these life sustaining sources that only you can provide.

We are encouraged in your holy books, sermonic exhortations, and faithful accounts of creation stories to respect and honor all of these sources of life that you provide for us. We are called to faithful stewardship in order to protect our environment for future generations.

However, we stand here today in need of repenting for our greed that leads us to choose profiteering over prophesying. We damage your environment for the sake of financial gain and investment. Our leaders fail to govern appropriately to renew a commitment to sustaining your earth.

Photo Credit: Joey Longley, Sojourners
However, we come here today hopeful that this hearing to reduce carbon pollution from power plants - the largest stationary source of carbon pollution in the United States will be a new beginning for our nation and world. Help those who will testify, debate, deliberate and determine the way forward to see a vision that is possible to reverse the damage already done and aspire to a new and sustainable reality for the way ahead.

O’ Gracious God of the ages, our help in ages past and hope for years to come, we need you in this moment of history to make us what you call us to be for your Kingdom sake. In the name of the Sustainer of all human life and guardian of our calling to serve as people of faith in the name of our majestic Creator we pray. Amen


I am J. Herbert Nelson, Director of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness in Washington, DC. I am pleased to stand today with faith leaders affiliated with Creation Justice Ministries (formerly the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program); Environmentalist; Environmental Activist; and a host of others who are concerned about reducing carbon pollution. The United States historically has produced more greenhouse gasses than any other country in the world. On yesterday the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record in 2012. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, forty percent of the U.S. Carbon pollution and 67% of direct emissions reported under the Greenhouse Gasses Reporting Program.

A report approved by the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) entitled The Power to Change: U.S. Energy Policy And Global Warming states emphatically that we have both a spiritual and moral responsibility to address the issues related to global warming. In order to do this we believe that repentance is required. Repentance in our biblical understanding calls people-kind and nations to stop the actions that are contrary to God’s desires for the sustainability of human life, while turning to a new way of living that promotes life more abundantly. God can give us the power to change.

At the core of this understanding is the belief that the Psalmist was right in the bible when he wrote in Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it. Therefore, we call for the United States Congress and the Obama Administration to support.

  1. Encouraging decentralized and distributed power generation. Decentralized residential and renewable energy systems, and distributed generation from community wind farms can relieve pressure on the power grid, create new jobs, and empower local communities.
  2. A moratorium on all new coal fired and nuclear power plants until related environmental concerns are addressed.
  3. Limit exploration and exploitation of new fossil fuel supplies to parts of the nation where this can be done without adverse damage to people and the environment.

Photo credit: Joey Longley, Sojourners
Today, we believe that this Environmental Protection Agency Carbon Rule Listening Session is a great first step. We believe that all nations should share the burden of restoring creation to our Creators expectations. However, it is important that we who have damaged the environment the most be responsible for the greatest efforts toward restoring Creation. We in the United States must now set standards that lead the governments and peoples of the world to loving God through our love for God’s creation. To this end, let us remember the words of Jesus who spoke of his purpose for his coming into the world so that “all may have life, and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

To this end we stand here today in solidarity with partners on this important issue!