We strongly object to the recent decision of the Oak Park trustees to change to a “brown” source for the electric power in our community. We believe this decision is shortsighted, indicates a misunderstanding of economic costs, and is counter to the wishes of the vast majority of residents.

We are very concerned that by the burning of fossil fuels, humankind is radically changing the world’s climate. Our concern has grown in just the last six months as three major scientific reports have given emphatic warnings about the extreme dangers that humans and the rest of Creation will be subjected to — withering droughts and heat waves, deadly floods, destructive sea level rise and intense storms — if we do not rapidly transition from our use of dirty fossil fuels: coal, oil and natural gas.

In addition, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, all agree that continued climate change will have very serious consequences to the world’s economy if allowed to go unchecked, and that the sooner the transition to clean energy is made, the cheaper it will be in the long run.

It is widely accepted in economic circles that the energy from fossil fuels is “cheap” because its true costs are not reflected in its market price. Fossil fuel industries are allowed to pollute the atmosphere with their climate-changing gases for free, and they also leave the rest of society to pay for the health consequences of burning their dirty fuels.

We in the faith community refer the trustees to the Oak Park-River Forest Sustainability Plan — a plan in which we and all other segments of the community had a great deal of input — for some preferred solutions to our long-term viability and resilience. Those solutions include the increased use of clean energy sources, support for energy-efficiency programs, and green transportation options. In addition, we point out that at the public meetings regarding the new energy contract, all of the comments supported the continued use of green energy.

We strongly urge the trustees to reconsider their decision to move away from clean, green energy.

Shawn Schreiner

Rector, Grace Episcopal Church

Rev. Alan Taylor

Senior minister, Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation

Rev. Kathy Nolte

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Kent M. Organ

Interim Lead Pastor, First United Church of Oak Park

Rev. Marti Scott

Euclid Avenue United Methodist Church

Rev. Leah Fowler

Associate pastor, First United Church of Oak Park

Rev. Jenny Weber

First United Methodist Church of Oak Park

Adrian Fisher

Ministry and Care Committee, Oak Park Friends Meeting

Fr. Lawrence R. McNally

Pastor, Ascension Catholic Church

Rev. Sally Iberg

Senior pastor, Pilgrim Congregational Church

Rev. Wayne J. Myers

Senior pastor, Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church

Rabbi Max Weiss

Oak Park Temple

Rev. Carl Morello

Pastor, St. Giles Catholic Parish

Rev. Helice Greene

Unity of Oak Park

Rabbi Robin Damsky

West Suburban Temple Har Zion

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