As religious leaders from across the Commonwealth, we are writing to express our alarm at the state of environmental stewardship here in Virginia, and nationwide. For us as people of faith, this is an issue of basic fairness and justice; not only because we are called to care for Creation, but because of who will be most harmed by inaction: the poor and voiceless.
Specifically, we are asking you to extend the renewable energy production and investment tax credits this session.
Wind energy now powers the equivalent of nearly 13 million homes across the country, creating a future with less climate change and air pollution, and supporting local jobs. However, Virginia is still far too dependent on dirty energy sources that are damaging our climate and making people sick. Landfills and toxic plants are predominantly placed in low-income communities of color, causing health problems and perpetuating the cycle of poverty. Virginians pay for dirty energy with our health: more children born with asthma, and more elderly getting lung cancer. Something must be done.
That said, we are mindful that it is our brothers and sisters in the poorest communities around the world who will be hit hardest of all by global climate change. They face a precarious future: flooding in coastal areas, loss of cultivable land to desertification, sharp declines in available water, massive migration, even starvation.
To prevent the worst impacts of climate change, we in the United States must shift to a clean energy economy that harnesses the blessings of the wind and the sun. You can lead on this issue by voting to extend critical clean energy tax credits this session.
We teach our congregations to seek justice and the common good. We encourage them to be good stewards of the planet and to consider the impact of their decisions on future generations. We encourage them to do what is right even when it isn’t easy, and even when others aren’t doing so. As the opportunity to invest in renewable energy comes up in the Senate, we ask you to follow these principles as well.
With blessings for your work,