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PJC Statement at EPA Coal Ash Hearing

(For details about this event, please click here.)


Good morning. I am Kyle Crider, Program and Policy Director for The People’s Justice Council (PJC) and Alabama Interfaith Power & Light (ALIPL). ALIPL is both a program of PJC and a chapter of national Interfaith Power & Light. ALIPL and PJC are both interfaith organizations working at the nexus of energy, climate, and justice. We appreciate the opportunity to comment on this issue.


Ezekiel (34:18-19) asks, “Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet? And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet?” This likely was written six centuries before the common era even began, and yet we continue to ignore sound advice that is approaching 3,000 years old.


Every major religion on Earth emphasizes the importance of what many of us know as “the Golden Rule,” that is, treat others as we ourselves wish to be treated. In Christianity, this is phrased as, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In Judaism, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.” (And I love this next line:) “That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.” (And yet, how often do we manage to get lost in the commentary.) In Islam, “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.” The Golden Rule is also present in other religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, and more (New World Encyclopedia). If this is not a prime example of “the wisdom of crowds,” I don’t know what is. Yet how many of us who claim to follow one of these religions actually put this in practice, especially when it really, really counts?


Amos (5:24) tells us, “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” This certainly means keeping coal ash out of our waters and ever-flowing streams. It is also worth noting that the word Gehenna, often translated as hell in the Bible, comes from the Hebrew ge Hinnom, or “the valley of Hinnom.” Reputed to be a site where children once were sacrificed, at the time of Jesus Gehenna was Jerusalem’s garbage dump. So please, in this 21st century of the common era, isn’t it time to stop sacrificing our children and bringing hell-on-Earth?


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