If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it.
--Lyndon B. Johnson

Fort Worth Religious Leaders Testify at Cement Kiln Hearing, Call on EPA to Protect Our Health, Without Delay

Fort Worth Interfaith Power & Light Leaders Testify at Nation’s Only Public Hearing to Consider the Delay and Weakening of Toxic Air Pollution Emission Standards for Cement Kiln Plants

August 16, 2012

Fort Worth, TX – Members of Fort Worth Interfaith Power and Light (FWIPL) testify today in Arlington, TX at the Environmental Protection Agency public hearing on the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for cement manufacturing.

The new proposed EPA rules would weaken regulations on particulate matter, or soot, from cement kilns and would delay implementation of new emissions standards by two years. Particulate matter emissions cause asthma attacks, heart attacks, and strokes and may cause lung cancer. A two year delay of this standard endangers the lives of as many as 5,000 people.

“Our faith traditions demand not only charity, but also that we protect people from harm,” Fort Worth IPL member Melissa Ashmore, who attends Fort Worth First Congregational United Church of Christ said. “Fort Worth IPL calls on the EPA to safeguard the health of our community by implementing emission standards on toxic cement kiln pollution, without weakening them, and without delay.”

Reverend Paul John Roach, Senior Minister of Unity Church of Fort Worth, said, “One of the greatest challenges in our world is environmental degradation and global warming—and weakening these cement kiln standards would be a step in the wrong direction.” About Fort Worth IPL’s involvement at today’s hearing, Rev. Roach said, “Each of us is called to step up to the plate, to be engaged in life in ways that challenge and inspire us—and speaking out to protect our local community from more pollution is one way that we, as people of faith, can work together to make a difference.” 

_________________________________

Fort Worth Interfaith Power & Light is a local affiliate of Texas Interfaith Power & Light, which is a program of The Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy. Texas IPL seeks to engage faith communities in environmental stewardship through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. www.txipl.org

Interfaith Power & Light has 39 state affiliates and is mobilizing a religious response to global warming in more than 14,000 congregations. www.interfaithpowerandlight.org

_________________________________

For more information contact 
Rev. Paul John Roach: 817-480-0995 (mobile) or pauljohnroach@yahoo.com
John Barnes: 817-308-8304 (mobile) or jbarnes@ix.netcom.com

 

Creating a Local, Interfaith Environmental Network in San Antonio - TXIPL Presentation October 11, 2012

Texas is a big state! In order to provide an effective religious response to our shared environmental challenges, we need local teams on the ground in cities and regions across the state. Texas Interfaith Power & Light (TXIPL) supports the development of local, interfaith environmental networks—and is coming to San Antonio to start the conversation.

Amanda Yaira Robinson, Coordinator of Texas Interfaith Power & Light (TXIPL), will offer a presentation on Thursday, October 11th about creating a local, interfaith environmental network in San Antonio. Come be part of the conversation! Details are below.

Thursday, October 11, 2012, 7:00 p.m.
First Unitarian Universalist Church, Fellowship Hall
7150 W. Interstate 10
San Antonio, TX 78213**
 
**This address does not always map accurately with GPS devices. For mapping software, it's usually best to enter "Gill Rd & Beryl Dr, San Antonio, TX 78213"

Click here to get directions to the church, and here to see a campus map.

To RSVP or ask questions, e-mail Amanda.

_____________________

Want to invite friends and colleagues? Great!

Here's some language you can use for an e-mail:

Dear friend,

I am writing to invite you to participate in a conversation about how the faith community can work together to create a local, interfaith environmental network in San Antonio. Amanda Yaira Robinson, Coordinator of Texas Interfaith Power & Light (TXIPL), will offer a presentation on Thursday, October 11th about local networks--and facilitate a discussion about how San Antonio can faithfully organize around the environmental challenges we face.

Please join us, and invite others from your religious community!

Thursday, October 11, 2012, 7:00 p.m.
First Unitarian Universalist Church, Fellowship Hall
7150 W. Interstate 10
San Antonio, TX 78213

For more information, visit the TXIPL story about this opportunity: http://txipl.org/content/creating-local-interfaith-environmental-network-san-antonio-txipl-presentation-october-11-20

If you have questions, would like more information, or if you’re ready to RSVP, please e-mail Amanda: amanda@texasimpact.org. Thank you,

Your name here

(Photo "Earth Hour 2010" by User Cornelia Kopp used under a Creative Commons-Attribution License.)

TXIPL Webinar: ENERGY STAR and Portfolio Manager for Congregations

Click here to download the slide presentation.

Join us on Wednesday, August 29th from noon-1pm central time for a special webinar to learn how houses of worship can use the free, online Portfolio Manager tool to measure and track energy use. Register for this free webinar here.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has tools and resources that can help your congregation take serious steps toward reducing its carbon footprint. According to the EPA's ENERGY STAR for Congregations program, most congregations can cut energy costs by up to 30% by investing strategically in efficient equipment, facility upgrades and maintenance.

On August 29th, we will learn more about the ENERGY STAR for Congregations program and how Texas congregations can access its tools and resources.

As always, we will have some time for callers to ask questions, share ideas and connect!

August Interfaith Environmental Webinar

     Wednesday, August 29, 2012, 12:00-1:00 p.m.

     Click here to register.

Questions? Please e-mail Amanda. Feel free to invite others to participate!

In our monthly environmental calls, we seek to connect faith leaders around the state who are engaged in the work of caring for Creation; provide updates about environmental legislation and advocacy opportunities; keep you current on new programs and initiatives; and create a space for sharing hopes and frustrations, plans and ideas, stories and prayers.

TXIPL in Fort Worth August 13th: Preparing for the EPA Hearing on Cement Kiln Regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Friday, August 3rd that it will hold one public hearing to collect input on its proposed two-year delay of implenting new cement kiln emissions rules. That hearing will be in Arlington, Texas, on Thursday, August 16, 2012. Details and links to more information about the proposed regulations and the public hearing are below.

On Monday, August 13th, Fort Worth Interfaith Power & Light will devote part of its regular meeting to preparing people of faith to speak at the hearing. Bee Moorhead, Executive Director of Texas Impact and Amanda Yaira Robinson, Coordinator of Texas Interfaith Power & Light, will offer messaging training for people of faith, beginning at 7:00 p.m.

All are welcome to attend--and please bring a vegetarian dish to share for our regular potluck.

Monday, August 13th, 2012, 6:30 p.m.
First Congregational Church
4201 Trail Lake Dr
Fort Worth TX 76109
 
About the Public Hearing
The EPA's public hearing will be held at the Arlington Municipal Building in the City Council Chambers located at 101 W. Abram Street, Arlington, Texas 76010.
 
The hearing will convene at 9:00 a.m. and will continue until 7:00 p.m. A lunch break is scheduled from 12:00 p.m. until 1:00 p.m. The EPA’s Web site for the rulemaking, which includes the proposal and information about the hearing, can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/pcem/pcempg.html.
 
Sign Up to Speak at the Hearing
To present oral testimony at the public hearing, please contact Pamela Garrett by email: garrett.pamela@epa.gov. The last day to sign up in advance will be Tuesday, August 14, 2012.
 
In your email, please provide the following information: The time you wish to speak (morning or afternoon), name, affiliation, address, email address and telephone and fax numbers. Time slot preferences will be given in the order requests are received. Additionally, requests to speak will be taken the day of the hearing at the hearing registration desk, although preferences on speaking times may not be able to be fulfilled.
 

The Keystone XL Pipeline: An Update

The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is back in the news. The U.S. State Department is indicating that it will not include climate change among the top impacts of this dangerous project that would destroy Canada’s boreal forests while unlocking some of the most polluting oil on Earth.

Ten leading climate scientists wrote Secretary Clinton recently, noting how "the vast volumes of carbon in the tar sands ensure that they will play an important role in whether or not climate change gets out of hand." If objective scientists are alarmed enough to speak up, then we, as people of faith, must act. The science is clear: This project poses an unacceptable risk to God’s creation.

The Interfaith Power & Light movement has steadfastly opposed the Keystone XL pipeline on moral grounds because of its extraordinary threat to our climate, as well as North America's food and water supply. To learn more, read on.

____________________________

“Tar Sands Pipeline” Keystone XL Update

Last fall, Texans of faith came together to speak out in opposition to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline when the State Department held a public hearing in Austin. Then in January, we thanked President Obama for opposing a fast-tracked permit for the project.

Since then, TransCanada has resubmitted a bid for the permit it needs to build across the U.S.-Canadian border, but the Obama administration has put off its decision until after the November 2012 election. Meanwhile, in March 2012, the President voiced support for expediting construction of the Keystone leg extending from Cushing, Oklahoma to Port Arthur, Texas, calling it a “national priority.”

"For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals; for all is vanity." -- Ecclesiastes 3:19       

A Tragedy in the Making

The Keystone XL would be used for transporting bitumen, or “tar sands oil,” from Alberta, Canada to Port Arthur, Texas. While standard crude is pumped from deep reservoirs in the earth, tar sands oil is found mixed throughout sandy soil just beneath the Boreal forest floor. The most common method of extraction requires clearcutting and strip-mining the land, leaving behind a desolate wasteland covered with toxic pools. This has damaging effects on communities in the area, many of which are First Nation peoples, and on untold numbers of plant and animal species native to the region. Learn more in a 2009 National Georgraphic article on "The Canadian Oil Boom."

A Crossroads of Conscience

As people of faith, we understand that caring for other people and safeguarding God’s creation are important parts of living a just and righteous life. The mining of this kind of oil in Canada’s pristine boreal forests is incredibly destructive for habitat, wildlife and human life—and it significantly increases greenhouse gas emissions at a critical time in our effort to combat global warming.

“Tzedek, tzedek, tirdof! – “Justice, justice, you shall pursue!” –Deut. 16:20

Texans’ Water Source Endangered

Keystone would cross the vital Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, which is estimated to provide drinking water for over 12 million homes across 60 Texas counties. A tar sands oil spill in this fragile aquifer would be disastrous. We must ensure access to a safe, reliable water source as part of creating and sustaining healthy communities—and this pipeline puts our water and health at unnecessary risk.

Statements Against the Keystone XL

Interfaith Power and Light Statements on Tar Sands

Austin's Interfaith Environmental Network Statement on Keystone

Top Climate Scientists to State Department: Keystone XL Review Should Consider Climate Effects

Take Action

Write a letter to the editor of your local paper or host an educational forum at your congregation. Please contact us for more ways to take action, and stay tuned here for updates.

Faith in the Process: The EPA Carbon Proposed Rule

 

Right now, the public has a golden opportunity to let its voice be heard on a key resolution that would pave the way for cleaner air in coming years. From now, until June 25th, 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is gathering comments on a proposal that would limit the CO2 emissions of coal plants constructed after the new standards go into effect. No such limits exist today on the national level and the proposal would not affect existing plants or those built within the next twelve months.

Please take a moment to voice your support for these standards here, or continue reading to learn more.    

According to the EPA, reducing CO2 (or carbon) emissions from coal-burning energy plants is vital for improving overall air quality because, as the EPA puts it, “Power plants are the largest individual sources of carbon pollution in the United States…”[1] Limiting CO2 emissions is important because, in addition to rising smog levels in urban centers and the need for Ozone Action Days to protect the public, mounting evidence links increased CO2 levels to the destructive effects of climate change and a number of health-related threats (asthma, heart disease, and other respiratory complications to name a few).

Given these dangers, the moral dimensions of today’s energy choices are apparent. Decisions made today will affect future generations, the health and wellbeing of other species, and life on this planet as a whole.   

Drawing inspiration from differing sacred traditions, our faiths share common themes of responsible stewardship, compassion for the defenseless, and voluntary restraint from excessive consumption. Along with these, our faiths support the pursuit of justice, respect for the dignity of others, and a sense of shared responsibility within our communities. All of these come into play when considering the caustic potential of unchecked emission limits.

Grounded in the teachings of our various traditions, we recognize the need to make ecologically prudent choices for the protection of all, even when this means sacrificing what may come easiest or cheapest. If you agree, please voice your support by signing the above petition.   

 

To view a quick fact sheet published by the EPA, click here.

 

To read the entire proposal, click here.

 

 

June Interfaith Environmental Conference Call: The EPA, Global Warming, and You

Click here to listen to the archived recording of this call

Our June interfaith environmental conference call will be Wednesday, June 20th from 12 to 1 p.m. For this call, we are excited to welcome guest presenter Tyler Edgar, the Assistant Director of the Climate and Energy Campaign from the National Council of Churches’ Eco Justice Program. Tyler heads the Council’s work to address global warming, is a seasoned organizer, and was a UPS Scholar at Dartmouth’s Tuck Business School Non-Profit Bridge Program. She holds a B.A. in environmental policy from Colby College and is an active Episcopalian.

Tyler will be giving us information about the higher carbon emission standards recently proposed by the EPA why their adoption is so vital for America’s future. We will also learn about the many health implications linked to high carbon emissions, along with ways people can engage such issues on local and national levels.

This month’s call will also feature a guest facilitator—our very own Sarah Macias! Sarah serves on the steering committee for Austin’s Interfaith Environmental Network, the local chapter of Texas Interfaith Power and Light. Following a twenty five year career in park management, Sarah has now begun her second year in the Master of Divinity program at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She has a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Austin Community College, a Certificate in Spiritual Formation from Columbia Theological Seminary, and has recently completed the requirements for a Certificate in Environmental Ministry and Leadership from McCormick Theological Seminary. 

Given their backgrounds, the conversation between these two is bound to be both rousing and informative!

Depending on interests and questions, we also intend to cover starting local, interfaith, environmental networks for those interested. There will also be time for callers to ask questions, share ideas and connect!

 

June Interfaith Environmental Conference Call
     Wednesday, Jne 20, 2012, 12:00-1:00 p.m. 
     Dial-in number: (712) 432-3066  
     Conference Code: 424548
 

To RSVP for the call, receive a copy of the call's agenda or request notes from the call, please e-mail Sarah. As always, feel free to invite others to participate! 

In our monthly environmental calls, we seek to connect faith leaders around the state who are engaged in the work of caring for Creation; provide updates about environmental legislation and advocacy opportunities; keep you current on new programs and initiatives; and create a space for sharing hopes and frustrations, plans and ideas, stories and prayers.

May Interfaith Environmental Conference Call: Changes to the Open Beaches Act

Click here to listen to the archived recording of this call.

The Texas Open Beaches Act has guaranteed public access to Texas beaches for decades, but a recent Texas Supreme Court ruling prioritizes private property rights over public access in some cases when the beachfront moves inland. Given that global warming conditions mean that storms will be more frequent and severe, and that coastlines in general will be moving inland, this new ruling poses some interesting questions about our beaches.

For our May interfaith environmental conference call, we are excited to welcome Dr. Richard McLaughlin, Endowed Chair for Marine Policy and Law of the Harte Research Institute, Gulf of Mexico Studies at the Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi. Dr. McLaughlin will offer a briefing about the Texas Open Beaches Act--its history and purpose, and the recent changes it's seen in court. Together, we'll wonder what these changes mean for the future of Texas beaches.

As always, we will have some time for callers to ask questions, share ideas and connect!

May Interfaith Environmental Conference Call

     Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 12:00-1:00 p.m.

     Dial-in number: (712) 432-3066 

     Conference Code: 424548

To RSVP for the call or request notes from the call, please e-mail Amanda. Feel free to invite others to participate!

In our monthly environmental calls, we seek to connect faith leaders around the state who are engaged in the work of caring for Creation; provide updates about environmental legislation and advocacy opportunities; keep you current on new programs and initiatives; and create a space for sharing hopes and frustrations, plans and ideas, stories and prayers.

Texans Can Save Sales Tax on Energy Efficient Appliances

The opportunity for Texans to save money on energy efficient appliances is fast approaching. The state’s annual ENERGY STAR® Sales Tax Holiday is from Saturday May 26 through Monday May 28, 2012
 
“As Texans focus on their household budgets, they can save twice on energy efficient appliances purchased during Memorial Day weekend,” Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said. “Shoppers do not have to pay sales tax on the appliances, and those energy efficient products will also help them save on their utility bills.”
 
The sales tax break applies to ENERGY STAR® qualified air conditioners priced at $6,000 or less; refrigerators priced at $2,000 or less; ceiling fans; fluorescent light bulbs; clothes washers; dishwashers; dehumidifiers; and programmable thermostats.
 
Estimated annual energy and water savings for eligible products are as follows.
 
ENERGY STAR® Appliance vs. Conventional
Appliance Type Energy Savings Water Savings
Central Air Conditioners 14%  
Room/Window Air Conditioners 10%  
Refrigerators 20%  
Ceiling Fans 50%  
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs 75%  
Clothes Washers 30% 50%
Dish Washers 10% 12%
Dehumidifiers 15%  
Source: U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
 
The federal government does not apply ENERGY STAR® certification to clothes dryers. There is more information on the sales tax holiday at www.texaspowerfulsmart.org/incentives/taxfree.php.

TXIPL in Houston - May 8, 2012

Texas is a big state! In order to provide an effective religious response to our shared environmental challenges, we need local teams on the ground in cities and regions across the state. Texas Interfaith Power & Light (TXIPL) supports the development of local, interfaith environmental networks—and is coming to Houston to start the conversation.

Amanda Robinson, Coordinator of Texas Interfaith Power & Light (TXIPL), will offer a presentation on Tuesday, May 8th about creating a local, interfaith environmental network in Houston. This program is co-sponsored by Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston.

Come be part of the conversation! Details are below.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012, 7:00 p.m.
Congregation Brith Shalom
4610 Bellaire Boulevard
Bellaire, TX 77401
713-667-9201

To RSVP or ask questions, e-mail Amanda.

_____________________

Want to invite friends and colleagues? Great! Check out the event page on facebook here.

Here's some language you can use for an e-mail:

Dear friend,

I am writing to invite you to participate in a conversation about how the faith community can work together to create a local, interfaith environmental network in Houston. Amanda Robinson, Coordinator of Texas Interfaith Power & Light (TXIPL), will offer a presentation on Tuesday, May 8th, co-sponsored by Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, about local networks--and facilitate a discussion about how Houston can faithfully organize around the environmental challenges we face.

Please join us, and invite others from your religious community!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012, 7:00 p.m.
Congregation Brith Shalom
4610 Bellaire Boulevard
Bellaire, TX 77401
713-667-9201

For more information, visit the TXIPL story about this opportunity: http://txipl.org/content/txipl-houston-may-8-2012

If you have questions, would like more information, or if you’re ready to RSVP, please e-mail Amanda: amanda@texasimpact.org. Thank you,

Your name here

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