Last week, the national Interfaith Power & Light personnel and board members gathered for our annual DC Conference and Lobby Day. Held at the Kellogg Conference Center on the scenic historic grounds of Gallaudet University – the nation’s first university for the deaf and hard of hearing — state leaders attended workshops, delved into priority legislation and shared best practices. Those who have served the Interfaith Power & Light movement for several years were glad to reconnect with other colleagues who have now become friends, and meet new colleagues from around the nation.
Several pieces of legislation – some that have been critically important for years – were raised to House members from all over the country. IPL priority legislation consisted of: continued support for the Green Climate Fund, which provides financing for mitigation and adaptation projects in developing countries most impacted by the effects of climate change; support for the EPA’s suite of methane reduction rules governing the oil and gas industry; and opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 6,000+ page treaty among the U.S. and Pacific Rim countries that empowers fossil fuel corporations to undermine climate policies.
IPL continued to express support for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and encouraged key Republican House members to sign on to the Gibson Resolution which would commit the House of Representatives “to working constructively… to create and support economically viable, and broadly supported private and public solutions to study and address the causes and effects of measured changes to our global and regional climates, including mitigation efforts and efforts to balance human activities that have been found to have an impact.”
Love and responsibility for neighbor and care for the vulnerable especially the poor, women, children, elders, and refugees are principles and commitments shared by all major faith traditions that were expressed during meetings with House and Senate members. An overwhelming issue was the concept and implementation of climate justice. The Green Climate Fund is important to many people of faith because developed nations like the U.S. are responsible for most of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that are wreaking havoc on vulnerable nations and thus have a moral responsibility to ensure developing countries have the resources to prepare for and address the risks and impacts of a warming world.
CIPL staff and members of the national staff attended 31 meetings with California House and both Senate members’ staff. The majority of legislative offices visited were in support of the Green Climate Fund and Methane Rules. Many of the Democratic House members visited had opposed a fast-track vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership last June and were thanked for their actions to protect workers and the environment. Some members on both sides of the aisle were still waiting to see the final version of the treaty before deciding which way to vote, and a few were still in favor of the treaty. There is much speculation of when, and if, the TPP will come up for a vote before the November elections as there is little appetite from Congress.
Please look for updates on these key legislative priorities and opportunities to make your voice heard in the next several weeks.