Midweek Message

LABC Update – August 9, 2022

Jim Hopkins

August 8, 2022


Last week, as the US Senate was moving to passage of Inflation Reduction Act, a bill which contained some very important environmental legislation, I was asked to draft this statement for the Interfaith Council of Alameda County. My colleague, the Reverend Dr. David Wheeler, says that all of us need to be evangelists for the environment. I hope my words are an expression of that.

Pastor Jim

No Coal in Oakland

The Interfaith Council of Alameda County affirms that clean air and clean water are basic human rights. We affirm that the need to work together for environmental justice unites the diverse faith traditions of Alameda County.

The need for environmental justice in Alameda County is clear. The Executive Summary of the recently released Interim Report of the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans notes that “Due to residential segregation, African Americans have lived in poor-quality housing throughout American history, exposing them to disproportionate amounts of lead poisoning and increasing risk of infectious dis-ease. Segregated Black neighborhoods have more exposure to hazardous waste, oil and gas production, automobile and diesel fumes, and are more likely to have inadequate public services like sewage lines and drinking water pipes.”

If coal is brought to Oakland by rail, it will clearly negatively impact the health of many African-American, Latinx, Native American, and Asian American residents of our county. As such it is an expression of environmental racism and needs to be resisted.

That working for environmental justice is a matter of faith is also clear. Our traditions are united in teaching that the world in which we live is a gift of our Creator. Our faith traditions are united in teaching that an essential way of caring for the world is to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. If we love our neighbors, we do not insist that they breathe air that has been contaminated by the transport and storage of coal.

Thus, we continue to call on the City of Oakland, the business interests involved, and all interested parties, to reach an equitable legal agreement that protects the environment by keeping coal out of Oakland.

Tonight on LABC Zoom – Bible Study with Pastor Jim 6:00

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