In response to President Donald Trump and Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke’s proposal to auction off nearly every piece of America’s coastline to private oil companies, 310 state religious leaders from across the U.S. urged the Administration to invest in renewable energy instead of expanded fossil fuel exploration. The joint letter from The National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE) comes at the end of a 60-day federal comment period that has seen heightened opposition to the Administration’s coastal offshore drilling plan. The alliance is composed of independent faith groups across a broad spectrum of religions, including Catholic, Evangelical, Protestant, and Jewish.
As reported by The Scope Weekly, over 1.35 million comments have been registered to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) opposing the offshore drilling plan. The deadline to submit a comment is this Friday.
The NRPE letter states: “We urge the Trump Administration to focus on investments in renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar, as well as maximize our energy efficiency, instead of looking to expand fossil fuel exploration in God’s ocean. God entrusts us to be good stewards of God’s oceans and coasts. We should honor this sacred duty and position our country as a global leader in energy stewardship.”
You may read the letter here.
The signers include state leaders from many coastal states including South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maine, and Florida. Signers include Bishop Darin Moore, Mid-Atlantic Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Bishop Bud Cederholm, Episcopal District of Massachusetts, Rev. Russell Meyer, executive director of the Florida Council of Churches, and Rev. Jennifer Copeland, head of the North Carolina Council of Churches.
The 300 plus signers represent diverse religious denominations including the Presbyterian Church (USA), Episcopal Church, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and African Methodist Episcopal Zion church.
The message to the Administration from the religious leaders is an urgent one: “Offshore drilling could produce perilous consequences like oil spills that can poison the God’s oceans, including wildlife and clean water. No oil company or Administration can guarantee the safety of drilling offshore.”
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