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Saturday, October 13, 2018

A letter to the Quincy Herald-Whig

(printed around October 29, 2018)

The earth is God's gift to us and we want to pass it down to those after us in better shape than we received it. We should also not ruin other people's lives when we use it. Some people have fewer resources than we do to protect themselves from dangers. Such people usually bear the brunt of environmental disasters.

An international scientific report recently predicted that the weather disasters we have seen so far will be nothing compared to what will happen if we do not reduce carbon dioxide and methane emissions. Massive droughts will occur. The refugee flows that we now see will multiply all around the world. For example, as the Sahara Desert expands southward in Africa each year, more people are forced to leave what had been productive land. Where are they supposed to go?

The Clean Power Plan is a federal effort to put limits on carbon pollution from power plants. The current federal administration is planning to roll back many of its rules. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that such a rollback would cause thousands of premature deaths and asthma attacks in our country, not to mention what it would do to weather patterns that cause droughts and hurricanes.

We take extraordinary precautions to make sure that a child will not accidentally open something harmful. Opening pill containers becomes a challenge. Yet we ignore the probability that millions of children and adults will die of starvation and disease if we do not take precautions reasonably recommended by the scientific community.

We must not allow politics to trump science.

The EPA is taking comments during this month of October through its website: www.regulations.gov. Refer to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355. If enough people tell the EPA that the rollback is not a good idea, they will listen.

I'm a Franciscan priest, but I am writing this as a citizen with a degree in a scientific field. I don't preach this from a pulpit. I write it here so you can answer if you agree or disagree. Please do that. Thanks.

Joseph Zimmerman