A group of leading evangelical and conservative leaders have sent a letter urging senators to reject a climate bill that they say will cost jobs, raise energy costs and lead to higher food prices.
The letter signed by 70 religious leaders, economists, scientists, state legislators and public policy advocates was welcomed Tuesday by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Environment & Public Works Committee.
The letter is an "outright rejecting the economic reckoning Lieberman-Warner bill," said Inhofe in statement.
Topping the list of names in letter were Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council ; and Gary Bauer, president of American Values.
The Lieberman-Warner Climate bill, which addresses global warming and America's energy security, seeks to cut greenhouse emissions by up to 65 percent by 2050. The measure would enforce a cap-and-trade system on power plants, large manufacturers and the transportation sector, requiring them to pay to pollute.
Supporters of the legislation say this generation must take steps to reduce greenhouse emissions to ensure that future generations have clean air and the poor don't suffer from adverse impacts of climate change.
Opponents of the measure argue it would lead to higher energy prices, which would hamper production and deal a blow to the economy.
Land and others said in the letter that the legislation would lead to "imperceptible" changes in temperature "while doing grave harm to our economy, the poor, and U.S. competitiveness."
"In particular, the letter states their concerns over the severe economic impact on American families as a result of millions of job losses, skyrocketing energy costs, as well as increased price of food, especially on the poor," said Inhofe.
The purpose of the letter was also to "dispel" the myth that leading evangelicals support the climate bill, he added.
Issues surrounding environmental protection and global warming have in recent years caused a rift between evangelicals.
While a strong number of evangelical leaders are opposed the Lieberman-Warner bill, a different influential crowd of "green" evangelicals have enthusiastically backed such efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
At the end of last year, the Rev. Jim Ball, president of the Evangelical Environmental Network, applauded the bill's passage to the Senate floor.
Ball is also one of 117 signers of the Evangelical Climate Initiative's "Call to Action," a landmark statement which declared global warming a real problem and supported the reduction of carbon emissions. Megachurch pastors Rick Warren of Saddleback Church and Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church have also signed the statement.
The Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), is also an active advocate in the environmental protection campaign.
Both sides are expected to be closely watching as the Senate takes up the climate bill in the coming months. The legislation is sponsored by Senators Joseph I. Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and John W. Warner (R-Va.), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Private Sector and Consumer Solutions to Global Warming and Wildlife Protection.
The signers of the letter opposing the Lieberman-Warner bill are:
• Richard Land, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention
• Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council
• Gary Bauer, American Values
• Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, Chairman, Traditional Values Coalition
• Barrett Duke, Co-Chair, Cornwall Stewardship Agenda
• Paul Weyrich, Coalitons for America
• Gary Palmer, Alabama Policy Institute
• Sadie Fields, Chairman, Georgia Christian Alliance
• Anthony Verdugo, Founder and Executive Director, Christian Family Coalition
• Harry Valentine, Capitol Hill Prayer Alert
• Gary Jarmin, President, American Service Council
• Jeff Mazzella, President, Center for Individual Freedom
• Dr. Jerome Corsi, WorldNet Daily
• George Landrith, Frontiers of Freedom Institute
• Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
• Tim Phillips, Americans for Prosperity
• Amy Ridenour, Americans for the Preservation of Liberty
• Kelsey Zahourek, Property Rights Alliance
• Ken Blackwell, Coalition for a Conservative Majority
• Jim Martin, 60-Plus Kevin Kearns, U.S. Business and Industry Council
• Chuck Muth, Citizen Outreach Project
• Don Irvine, Accuracy In Media
• Colin Hanna, Let Freedom Ring
• Ron Pearson, Council for America
• John Kuapisz, American Council for Immigration Reform
• Demos Chrissos, National Voters Alliance
• Richard Faulknor, Blue Ridge Forum
• Larry Gill, President, First Person, Inc.
• Dee Hodges, Maryland Taxpayers Association
• Joyce E. Thomann, President, Republican Women of Anne Arundel County-MD
• Kerri Houston, Institute for Liberty
• Jack Rohrer, Free America
• Drew Thorney, Texas Public Policy Foundation L.
• Arnold, Alaska Defenders League
• Rep. Lawrence Miller, Connecticut General Assembly
• James Poesl, Senior Environmental Policy Analyst, Decisive Action
• Tim Nytra, Environmental Manger, Allied Waste Industries, Inc.
• Ron Richard, Associate Dean, University of Mississippi
• Dr. Howard Maecabee, Director, Doctors for Disaster Prepardness
• Paula Easley, RDC, Inc.
• Dr. Vincent Gray, NZ Climate Coalition
• Peter K. Seldin, Managing Partner, Centennial Energy Partners, LLC
• Robert Ferguson, Science & Public Policy Institute
• Dr. Brian Haynes, AISA
• Academy J. Scott Armstrong, Professor, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
• Tom Mullins, Engineering Manager, Synergy Operating LLC
• Paul Spite, President, AFD Consulting
• Brian Lovelle, Attorney, North Carolina Craig Rucker, Executive Director, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow
• Meredith McCain, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow
• Barry Schwartz, NOAA Research, Ret. Joseph D'Aleo, Executive Director, Icecap.us
• Rep. Ralph Watts, Iowa General Assembly
• Paul Sanders, Engineer, Ret. M.R. Fox, Scientist, American Nuclear Society Viv Forbes, Chairman, Carbon Sense Coalition
• Harold Shurtleff, The New American
• James Huffman, Professor, Lewis & Clark Law School
• Bryan Wermat, Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
• Linda C Ruebeck, State Senator(Ret.), Minnesota
• Barbara Anderson, President, MFI
• Ryan Nichols, Campus Programs, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow
• Sen. David Hann, Minnesota State Senate
• Sen. Chris Gerlach, Minnesota State Senate
• Baran Mitre, Liberty Institute
• Amy Hagerstrom, Director, Americans for Prosperity, Michigan
• Jeff Kropf, Director, Americans for Prosperity, Oregon
• Robert Hodson, Director Emeritus, Dept. Marine Science, University of Georgia
• Rep. John Stahl, Michigan House
• Roy Cordato, VP for Research/Economist, The John Locke Foundation
• Roy Innis, National Chairman, Congress of Racial Equality
• Ron Arnold, Executive Vice President, Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise
• Stuart Barton, American Seniors Association