October 9, 2017
WASHINGTON — In response to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s announcement that the Trump administration will repeal the Clean Power Plan, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis, and wider Reform Movement:
“We are deeply disappointed by the decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan. The plan was a landmark policy that provided critical tools to address the dangers of climate change, improve air quality, protect public health, and promote clean energy investment.
“The Reform Jewish tradition teaches that the saving of a life, pikuach nefesh, is the ultimate Jewish ethical obligation. The decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan represents a gross failure to protect the health of people who live near fossil fuel-fired power plants, and fails to protect the lives of all who will face the effects of climate change. We are acutely aware that, due to their locations, these power plants often hurt people of color and low-income people the most, perpetuating environmental racism and inequality.
“Our tradition teaches ‘Do not stand idly by while your neighbor’s blood is shed’ (Leviticus 19:16). We reject as utterly unethical and dangerously irresponsible a decision that will cause a projected 3,600 premature deaths each year due to exposure to air pollution. We will continue to work ceaselessly for the well-being of our neighbors and the health of our planet.
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 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.