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A Crucial First Step for our Environment, our Economy, and our Health

Saperstein: “Passage of this vital bill shows that we can tackle climate change in a way that protects our planet and the poorest and most vulnerable members of society, in our nation and around the world.”

Contact: Kate Bigam or Rachel Cohen
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 29, 2009 – Following Friday’s House of Representatives’ passage of comprehensive climate and energy legislation, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

“The Reform Movement has long called on Congress to take action on the climate and energy crisis. The historic House vote last Friday represents an important first step toward protecting our environment and all its inhabitants. Reform Jews across the nation worked to strengthen and pass this vital bill, and we applaud the 219 Members of Congress who voted last Friday on behalf of the long-term environmental, economic, and public health of our nation. While it does not go far enough, the bi-partisan American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) creates an important framework for drastically reducing global warming pollution, creating hundreds of thousands of good, green jobs, and increasing access to clean energy.

Our texts and our scholars teach of the need to be good caretakers both of God’s earth and its resources, and of the needy and vulnerable among us. While H.R. 2454 is a promising start, much work remains to be done. We are encouraged by the inclusion of strong consumer protections for low-income individuals and families, and by the addition of provisions that target traditionally underrepresented populations to benefit from the growth of the green economy. However, we remain disappointed by the failure to secure adequate resources to help the most vulnerable developing nations adapt to the effects of climate change, which they are already encountering daily.

We look forward to working with our colleagues in the Senate and Administration, and our allies in the faith, environmental, labor, and business communities to strengthen and pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation this year. Passage of this vital bill shows that we can tackle climate change in a way that protects our planet and the poorest and most vulnerable members of society, in our nation and around the world.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis.



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