July 30, 2014

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The Cornwall Alliance Warns Christians EPA Regulations Do Not Carry a Pro-Life Banner

(December 22, Washington, DC)—“Yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave Americans a lump of coal in their Christmas stockings,” said Dr. E. Calvin Beisner, National Spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. “The unwanted present? A likely 11.5 percent hike in electricity rates, costing the average household more than $160 extra next year.”

The gift came in the form of EPA’s newly announced Utility MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) rule setting new restrictions on mercury emissions from power plants. EPA estimated the new rule would cost the economy $9.6 billion per year.

“That’s a low-ball estimate,” Beisner said, “trotted out by regulators eager to minimize the real costs of regulation. One recent NERA study suggests a cost of $21 billion annually. Another estimates the mercury MACT will force an 11.5 percent hike in electricity prices, and if that happens the total cost will be over $40 billion a year.” NERA Economic Consulting is one of the world’s most respected economic forecasting firms.

“I share the concern of members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that the new rule will not only raise electricity prices—hurting America’s poor the most—but also eliminate over 180,000 jobs each year,” Beisner said.

The Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) ran a $250,000 radio, television, and billboard advertising campaign in nine states and the District of Columbia supporting the rule, claiming it would protect unborn babies from “devastating, … permanent brain damage.” One of the ads said, “…being pro-life means protecting the unborn from mercury pollution.”

“That’s a tragic misuse of the term ‘pro-life,’” said Beisner. “If EEN wants to support mercury-emission reductions, let it do so honestly and above board, but not under the pro-life banner. It’s simply not an issue of life or death. The pro-life movement is rooted in opposition to abortion. But the risk from mercury and the risk from abortion aren’t in the same ballpark. They’re not even in the same universe.

“Abortion doesn’t cause a temporary, almost undetectable reduction in brain development, it stops it—dead. Abortion doesn’t result in a healthy child that only the most expertly trained neurologist could distinguish from any other; abortion results in a dead baby. Not 1 in 1,000 but over 1 in 5 pregnancies in America, 1.2 million a year, end in abortion. Since 1973, because of abortion, over 54 million babies—equal to over 1 in 6 of today’s population—in this country have been dead on arrival.”

The Cornwall Alliance published a major scholarly paper, The Cost of Good Intentions: The Ethics and Economics of the War on Conventional Energy, this fall that included detailed refutation of EEN’s exaggerated claims about mercury’s risks to the unborn. The paper is available on Cornwall’s website at http://www.cornwallalliance.org/docs/Cost_of_Good_Intentions_1.pdf.

The world’s leading evangelical voice on environmental stewardship and development, The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation is a network of theologians, pastors, ministry leaders, scientists, economists, and policy experts committed to bringing Biblical worldview, theology, and ethics together with excellent science and economics to promote environmental protection and restoration, economic development for the poor, and the proclamation and defense of the gospel of Jesus Christ.