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ERLC’s Land backs coal-fired power plantscomment (0)

April 9, 2009

Coal-fired power plants have received the blessing of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) top lobbyist for social and moral concerns, who is urging opposition to a market-based attempt to limit greenhouse-gas emissions.

Friends of Coal, a volunteer organization with ties to the West Virginia Coal Association, is running an article on its Web site that includes a link for readers to enter their ZIP code and send an e-mail to their senator opposing a “global- warming tax” it said would raise energy costs.

The link goes to the Web site of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, where the agency’s president, Richard Land, warns in an article that Democratic Senate leadership plans to move ahead with a “cap-and-trade” bill.

The bill would limit the amounts of greenhouse gases industries can emit and punish them with fines if they exceed those limits. But it would also allow them to pay less-polluting industries for the right to increase their emissions.

“Such a bill would put the brakes on our already slowed economy, forcing industries and businesses to slash jobs and to pass their taxes onto individuals and families in the form of price increases on commodities and energy,” Land wrote. “This would make it even more difficult for America to climb out of its current economic troubles.”

What’s worse, Land contended, is that the whole basis behind the policy — that it will help avoid catastrophic, human-induced global warming — “is not even settled among scientists, who are growing increasingly skeptical, especially since we have been experiencing a decadelong cooling trend.”

“Christians should take every reasonable step to care for God’s creation,” Land said. “But rushing into environmental policies based on questionable science that will create greater economic hardships on every American, especially the poor, is the wrong approach.”

Christian anti-global-warming activists disagreed with Land’s reasoning.

Jonathan Merritt, national spokesman for the Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative, said Christians who care about God’s creation and recognize that something must be done about the global energy and environmental crisis “are growing increasingly weary of those claiming to represent us who preach relentlessly about what [they] oppose yet refuse to offer policy alternatives.”

He added, “I find it curious that we are first in line to support the coal industry that is polluting our air and destroying the Appalachian Mountains, yet when it comes to actual pro-environmental legislation, we are nowhere to be found.”     (ABP)

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