As EPA Administrator and former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt moves ahead with a proposed end to the Clean Power Plan, his opponents and detractors are taking a cue from Pruitt’s own practices.
They’re resorting to religion. As E and E reporter Nina Heikkinen recently wrote, those who don’t want to see an end to the Clean Power Plan are appealing to Scott Pruitt’s “faith in God.”
Pruitt’s faith as a Southern Baptist is well known at least in Oklahoma. In Broken Arrow, he was an active member of his church and served as a deacon and taught Sunday School. After coming to Washington, he’s attended Bible studies with other Cabinet members.
Those offering public comments about the EPA’s decision to reconsider the Clean Power Plan are now challenging Pruitt , asking him to review the Bible’s teachings on the environment.
Reporter Heikkinen reviewed some of the 185,000 comments posted on the Federal Register.
Ferrato noted that citations in the Bible about care for the environment could be found from “Genesis to Revelations” and were supported by a range of Christian denominations, as well as non-Christian teachings.
Another who used the religious angle was a man identified as Greg Rockwell.
“This is a sin. Please repent, and follow God,” he wrote.
E and E noted that Pruitt often makes religious references in his public speeches and uses words like “prayerfully.”
Many comments filed with EPA began with the same phrase: “As a person of faith, I am very concerned about the impact of global warming on God’s Creation.”
Commenters pointed out that the Bible called for mankind to be “good stewards” of the Earth. That, they said, included protecting against the harmful impacts of climate change.
The Rev. Dr. Gail Cafferata, an Episcopal priest, said repealing the Clean Power Plan was undermining “vital health protections.”
“God has blessed us with this planet with its precious air, water, flora and fauna, and made us stewards of this wondrous creation. From this ethical perspective, any risky exploitation of the earth for human purposes like greed or power or national supremacy is immoral because it offends the Creator of heaven and earth,” she wrote.
To date, there are more than 185,000 comments posted on the Federal Register, and EPA had set a comment deadline of 11:59 p.m. Tuesday. The EPA recently extended the deadline to April 26 to allow comments after additional public “listening sessions” on eliminating the rule.
EPA’s first listening session of the year will be on Feb. 21 in Kansas City, Mo., followed by another on Feb. 28 in San Francisco. The final listening session will be on March 27 in Gillette, Wyo., according to EPA. The agency held its first listening session in November in Charleston, W.Va.