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Jewish Groups Praise New EPA Rules

Washington, DC – The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) today applauded the Environmental Protection Agency’s release on Friday of a revised standard limiting carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants.

“Carbon dioxide emissions are the leading cause of climate change, which is one of the great moral challenges of our time. This proposal takes an important step towards addressing the effects that our electricity generation can have on the Earth and human health,” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow.

These effect have been shown to have a disproportionate impact on communities of color, youth, the elderly and those living in poverty.

COEJL and the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism collected hundreds of signatures from the Jewish community in favor of the original rule proposed last year. The new rule responds to concerns raised in public comments to the prior proposal by setting separate standards for emissions from coal plants and natural gas plants and providing flexibility for industry while achieving similar outcomes.

“We hope that these revised regulations will be made final after the comment period and implemented without delay,” said Gutow.

“These rules were released during the holiday of Sukkot,” said Sybil Sanchez, Director of COEJL. ”Ecclesiastes Rabbah (1:4) reminds us that ‘One generation goes, another comes, but the Earth remains the same forever.’ Eating and sleeping outdoors in our sukkot makes us appreciate some of the many gifts we receive from the Earth — clean, breathable air, and fertile land in a stable climate. But we are confronted by the fact that the Earth is changing before us, and these resources will not be here for future generations unless we act now. Adopting these rules is an important part of that action.”

The release of the proposed standards is a key point in the implementation of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which he announced in June at a speech in Washington, DC attended by COEJL and JCPA.

“We look forward to the release of standards for existing power plants, as well,” said Sanchez.

More information can be found at www.coejl.org.

JCPA, the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community, serves as the national coordinating and advisory body for the 14 national and 125 local agencies comprising the field of Jewish community relations.

The Coalition on the Environment in Jewish Life (COEJL), an initiative of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), deepens and broadens the Jewish community’s commitment to stewardship and protection of the Earth through outreach, activism and Jewish learning.

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