Washington, D.C., October 2, 2015 – In response to a new standard on ozone pollution announced yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
“The Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement of new ozone limits simply does not go far enough. These new standards are insufficient to protect our planet, our health and our well-being. Last year, EPA scientists recommended setting the new standard to 60 to 70 parts per billion of smog-causing pollution. The new EPA standard, at a disappointing 70 parts per billion, is only a small decrease from the 75 parts per billion standard set in 2008. It does not reflect the urgency of the climate crisis our planet faces.
“Smog from ozone emissions affects the air we breathe, causing health issues and disproportionally impacting children, the elderly and the sick. As we prepare to celebrate Simchat Torah and begin again our Torah readings with the story of Creation, we are reminded of God’s commandment to tend and till the Earth (Genesis 2:15). That imperative is more pressing now than it has ever been.
“We call on both the Obama administration and Congress to take bolder steps to combat climate change and protect our environment, including through stronger ozone standards, helping to ensure the health and welfare of our generation and generations to come.”
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.