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House acts to protect the national landscape
Washington, April 10, 2008 – Faith groups and individuals from around the country sent encouraging messages to Congress yesterday as the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Landscape Conservation System Act by a vote of 278 to 140.
A similar bill, S. 1139, which would also protect the 26 million acres of public lands, is awaiting a vote in the Senate.
The House vote came as 11 faith-based organizations (listed below), including the National Council of Churches USA, delivered a letter supporting the act to every member of the House. In addition, nearly 800 individuals sent letters to their representatives asking them to support the bill.
“Lands are an essential part of God’s creation,” said Jordan Blevins, assistant director of the NCC eco-justice program office.
“Through the land, God nourishes life; provides the foundation of terrestrial ecosystems and human communities; supplies blessings of sustenance like soil, water, timber and minerals; and offers natural space for prayer and spiritual renewal,” Blevins said. “By voting to make permanent the National Landscape Conservation System yesterday, the House to an important step toward assuring that these spaces would exist for people of faith of future generations.”
“Lands, wilderness, and open spaces have always been central to the Judeo-Christian tradition, playing a vital role in the spiritual journeys of Biblical individuals from Moses to Jesus Christ,” Blevins said, “and this legislation helps ensure that these spaces will continue to be available for people of faith of future generations.”
The National Landscape Conservation System includes national monuments, national conservation areas, wilderness, wilderness study areas, wild and scenic rivers and national scenic and historic trails.
The National Council of Churches, representing 35 communions and 100,000 congregations, has focused on creation care for more than 30 years. Among the highlights of the Council’s eco-justice work are education and worship resources on land stewardship, available at www.nccecojustice.org .
Faith Based Organizations Endorsing the System:
● United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
● Brethren Witness/Washington Office
● Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
● Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
● Presbyterian Church (USA) Washington Office
● National Council of Churches of Christ, USA
● Union for Reform Judaism
● Disciples Home Missions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
● Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
● United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society
● Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Justice Peace/Integrity of Creation Office
NCC News contact: Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228, NCCnews@ncccusa.org
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