Throughout the stakeholder process, the Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement received more than 150,000 written comments and statements from 15 open houses and public meetings.
Creation Justice Ministries Executive Director Shantha Ready Alonso said of the Rule, “Since the Department of Interior announced its intention to review the Rule in 2009, religious communities have been monitoring it. We work closely with communities in Appalachian and Western states which have been directly harmed by previous disregard for water protection. This Rule is a step toward justice for communities which have not always been able to count on clean water to drink, fish, and grow crops.”
The Rule will offer protection for streams and watersheds against harmful mining practices long opposed by religious communities, such as mountaintop removal coal mining.
Rev. Jeff Allen, Executive Director of the West Virginia Council of Churches said of the Rule, "Over the years, the West Virginia Council of Churches has supported the highest level of protection possible for our streams. We believe that the Stream Protection Rule announced today is a significant step forward in protecting not only our streams and wildlife, but also the people and communities who live near them."
Rev. Marc Stewart, Conference Minister for the Montana-Wyoming Conference of the United Church of Christ said of the new Rule, “As a Christian, I believe water is sacred for life, and that all of God’s creation depends on clean, safe water. No short-term economic gain is worth jeopardizing future generations’ access to water. I welcome the new Stream Protection Rule as an important tool to safeguard God’s gift of water. As Montanans, we are counting on Senator Tester, Senator Daines, Rep. Zinke, and President-elect Trump to stand up for safe water in the years to come.”
Creation Justice Ministries represents the creation care policies of 38 Christian communions, including Baptists, mainline Protestants, Historically Black Churches, Peace Churches, and Orthodox communions. Learn more at www.creationjustice.org
“I am grateful to the Obama Administration for protecting water safety through the new Stream Protection Rule. Protecting clean water is vital to our faith because water is the sign of our baptism, cleansing us, and bringing us new life. All life depends on water. Support for public policies which safeguard water is an expression of Christian faith. Coloradans are counting on Senator Bennet and Senator Gardner to protect water.”
Adrian Miller, Executive Director, Colorado Council of Churches
“Following the example set forth by Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si’, the Franciscan Action Network applauds the Obama's administration announcement of the Stream Protection Rule. Keeping our water clean is another positive step forward for ensuring that our planet is inhabitable for future generations. It is our hope that the President-elect continues this forward progress.”
Patrick Carolan, Executive Director, Franciscan Action Network