calendar May 25, 2011 in Faith in action

Lutheran Testifies for Mercury Limits


The Rev. Leah Schade was one of a number of clergy who joined physicians and industry representatives invited to testify on proposed federal rules to limit mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s coverage of the Tuesday hearing before an EPA officer focused on the involvement of clergy.  Faith-based groups have been outspoken on this rule because of strong scientific evidence that mercury affects brain development and even a small exposure can be dangerous for pregnant women and children.

Schade, a PhD student at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, testified to her experience as a lover of fishing as well as a pastor.

“Since I was 12 years old, I have fished the Susquehanna River, the Yellow Breeches Creek in York County, and the Little Tuscarora in Huntingdon County, as well as numerous lakes and ponds in the Poconos,” Schade said.  “Imagine my distress as a pregnant mother learning that I had to limit theconsumption of the fish I caught because of the mercury hidden in their bodies.  And even now, I’m afraid to take my children fishing and let them eat what ought to be the clean bounty of our state streams and rivers because I worry about how it will affect their brain development and overall health.”

“I firmly believe that failure to implement these regulations would cause harm to God’s creation and exacerbate the already difficult situations for millions of our most vulnerable citizens, especially  pregnant women, unborn fetuses, infants and young children,” she said. 

The EPA is accepting comment on this rule until July 5.  Click here to learn more about the proposed air toxics rule from the ELCA Advocacy Network. Go to the "Take Action" link to provide your feedback to the EPA.