Mitchell C. Hescox and Kyle Meyaard-Schaap: Limiting Pollution Should be an Evangelical Value

Evangelicals are famous (perhaps even infamous) for our passionate convictions. Our commitment to the authority of scripture, our defense of the sanctity of life, and our eagerness to share the good news of the gospel are all well-known.

Perhaps less well-known, though, is our commitment to a healthy environment.

Don’t believe us? Consider only the most recent example: more than 67,000 pro-life Christians have submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging them to preserve New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) methane pollution rules. That’s more comments than any other group.

These numbers are no anomaly, either. When the rule was first issued for comment in 2015, almost 92,000 of us sent comments of support—again, more than any other interested party. When the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) methane leaking and flaring rule was challenged in 2017, the late John McCain was asked to protect it by almost 8,000 pro-life Arizonans (and he did), and by over 87,000 others across the country. Earlier this year, another 44,000-plus pro-life evangelicals asked the Department of Interior to keep the BLM methane standard in place (they didn’t).

If all this seems strange, we assure you it is not. For years, pro-life Christians have been opposing harmful pollution from fossil fuel infrastructure, be it mercury, smog, or methane. The reason for this is simple: this pollution threatens human health, especially the health of vulnerable populations (children, the elderly, those with chronic illness) and the unborn.

Take methane. The process of extracting methane (natural gas) includes significant leaking, venting, and flaring of excess gas. This in turn leads to harmful pollutants like benzene and smog precursors being released into our communities. Medical studies have shown that these pollutants have a disproportionate impact on life in the womb.[ii] [iii] For pregnant women living near natural gas production sites, these emissions have been linked to birth defects, pre-term births, and low-birth-weight babies. In turn, these babies are at an increased risk of infant mortality, ADHD, asthma, and other adverse health outcomes.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Mitchell C. Hescox and Kyle Meyaard-Schaap