UCC environmental leaders “deeply disappointed” by Senate approval of Keystone Pipeline
In a move that has “deeply disappointed” United Church of Christ environmental leaders, the United States Senate has passed legislation that would approve construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Despite President Barack Obama’s promise of a veto, the Senate approved the bill with a 62-35 vote on Thursday, Jan. 29, after more than two weeks of debate on several amendments to the legislation.
“We are deeply disappointed that our leaders have moved to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline – infrastructure that paves our way to an unsustainable planet,” said the Rev. Meighan Pritchard, the UCC’s minister for environmental justice. “People of faith must cry out in protest over this vote. All over this country, individuals and congregations are making choices to reduce their own carbon footprint. We need leaders willing to follow this example. There is a better way.”
The U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the Keystone legislation on Jan. 9. Because the Senate amended the bill, the two chambers will have to agree on one version before it is sent to Obama. The bill essentially closes the environmental review process that has been underway at the State Department, which the Obama Administration says should be allowed to play out. News reports indicate that neither the House nor the Senate has enough votes to override a veto from the president.
While Republicans say the pipeline will strengthen the economy and provide thousands of American jobs, environmental advocates and some Democrats say the jobs would be temporary and increase the use of Canadian oil sands, which would result in more carbon emissions that would speed up climate change. Pritchard says the promises of jobs, economic growth and security are “empty” and will lead to an “apocalypse of our own making.”
“The majority of our members of Congress must have sold their souls to the god of money – or perhaps to the gods of greed and fear,” Pritchard said. “These legislators do not care about people, land, animals, water, or air – the very foundations of life.
“They may profess to be Christians, but they ignore the scriptural instructions key to both Christianity and Judaism that say we are to till the land and keep it,” she added. “Nowhere does the Bible give us license to rape and destroy the planet.”
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