Jan 152015
 

Many old factories, foundries, plants and other manufacturing facilities have been abandoned after outgrowing their usefulness, going out of business, or succumbing to offshoring. Often polluted, these underutilized properties are called brownfield sites. These sites are usually contaminated with low levels of hazardous waste or pollution such as solvents, pesticides, lead and asbestos. The concentrations of these pollutants are too low to qualify as a Superfund site but the high cost of cleanup has prevented many local governments from doing so. Besides creating problems for the surrounding environment, these eyesores are blights on the landscape and obstacles for communities attempting to redevelop inner city areas.

Pending Legislations:

S.491 & H.R.2896 – Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current brownfield sites policy and wish to defeat S.491 & H.R.2896

I support establishing a program to provide multipurpose grants to carry out inventory, characterization, assessment, planning, or remediation activities at brownfield sites in a proposed area, giving consideration for grants to waterfront brownfield sites, and wish to pass S.491 & H.R.2896

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Cancer kills more children than any other disease. After accidents, cancer is the second leading cause of death for children under the age of 15. The incidence of childhood cancer continues to increase at the alarming rate of about 1% per year. Nearly 13,000 children are expected to get cancer in 2014, and more than 1,400 are expected to die. This is despite treatment advances that have enabled 80% of children with cancer to survive 5 years or more – up from 60% in the mid 70’s. However, the exact causes of childhood cancers are unknown. Health advocates say a child’s physiology and metabolism are much more sensitive to the harmful effects of pollution exposure than adults. It is suspected these cancers could result from environmental exposure to toxins such as pesticides, solvents, fire retardants or other household chemicals. Researchers are now studying whether others factors including parental exposure to radiation or chemicals, maternal diet during pregnancy, early postnatal feeding patterns and diet, or maternal reproductive history may be responsible for contributing to the increase in these cancers. There are now more than 360,000 survivors of childhood cancer. However, many of these children will face additional health problems growing up as a result of previously having cancer and the treatments required to cure it. More than 7 million American children also suffer from asthma, a disease that inflames and narrows the airways leading to, or within, the lungs. Asthma is the most common chronic illness in children under the age of 18. Much like cancer, the causes of asthma are not precisely known and its incidence is also on the rise, although asthma deaths occur much more often in adults than children.

Pending Legislations:

S.50 – Strengthening Protections for Children and Communities From Disease Clusters Act

H.R.1007: Asthma Management Plans in School Act

I oppose reforming current child pollution protection policy and wish to defeat S.50 and H.R.1007

I support investigating suspected or potential disease clusters, environmental pollutants or toxic substances associated with such clusters; establishing and operating Regional Disease Cluster Information and Response Centers and Regional Disease Cluster Information and Response Teams; authorizes any person to submit a petition to the EPA that requests that a Response Team conduct an investigation or take action to address the potential causes of disease clusters; authorizing grants to groups of individuals that may be affected by such clusters, and wish to pass S.50

I support awarding grants to schools for the development and implementation of asthma management plans, purchase asthma medications, devices and other supplies necessary for the relief and treatment of affected students, and wish to pass H.R.1007

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

There are nearly 260 million passenger vehicles on our roads today. The exhaust from these carbon dioxide-emitting vehicles is regarded as a primary cause of climate change. Advocates say the next best thing to eliminating internal combustion engines and burning fossil fuels is to increase vehicle efficiency and burn clean fuels. Critics cite the cost of pollution control technology to consumers. Supporters warn of the increasing number of vehicles on the road each day. Most say that continued reduction of vehicle emissions will be difficult to achieve without the development of new fuel technologies. Biofuels are fuels produced from living organisms such as plants. Sometimes, fermentation is used to extract sugars and starches in crops such as corn to produce ethanol. However, it is debated whether emissions from the production and use of ethanol are less than from oil. There is also concern over the price of food, as a third of our corn crop is diverted to ethanol production. Algae that are used in the production of biodiesel are an example of an advanced biofuel. The most promising of these advanced fuels could be cellulosic biofuels, high energy fuels derived from low nutrient, high yield plants such as woody biomass, energy gasses, forest slash and agriculture waste.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.1462 – RFS Reform Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current vehicle emissions policy and wish to defeat H.R.1462

I support amending the Clean Air Act to revise the renewable fuel program to require ‘renewable fuel,’ be now defined as advanced biofuel; prohibiting the EPA from allowing the introduction into commerce of gasoline containing greater than 10% ethanol, and wish to pass H.R.146

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Military bases are exempt from federal and state environmental regulations. Critics say these exemptions have encouraged our military to discharge large amounts of toxic materials into our air, ground and water. They say this exemption has prevented cleanup efforts and endangered many people living on or near these bases. They claim our military should not be allowed to use its right of sovereign immunity to pollute our land, water and air. Our military is the world’s largest polluter, annually generating nearly 800,000 tons of toxic material worldwide. Every year, more that one-third of our nation’s toxic waste is generated by our Armed Forces. It is estimated there are now 27,000 toxic hot spots located on 8,500 American military properties in need of remediation. Health advocates say the Pentagon’s low-priority policy regarding the cleanup of military base pollution is resulting in increased rates of cancer, kidney disease, birth defects and miscarriage for those on or near these facilities.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current military site pollution protection policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill requiring military bases to conform to federal environmental pollution protection laws

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Electricity generation accounts for about 45% of our total carbon emissions including carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. These pollutants result from the burning of coal in our factories and 6,500 power plants. This situation has been improved by the emerging use of cleaner-burning natural gas which is replacing coal in some power plants. However, coal pollutants remain a leading cause of climate change and many other environmental and health problems. Besides its effects on global warming, burning coal creates smog, soot, acid rain and toxic air emissions. The dirtiest coal-fired power plants, many of which are older than 45 years, are mostly owned by our biggest energy companies. Removing some pollutants from coal-fired factories and plants can be accomplished with sulfur dioxide scrubber systems which remove harmful particulates and gases from industrial smokestacks. However, these scrubbers have been installed on only about half our power plants. Retrofitting the remaining facilities with this carbon capture technology is not economically feasible because of their age. Health advocates say the only way to reduce pollution from these plants is for utilities to develop adequate scrubbers or to replace these outdated facilities altogether. To this end, advocates feel a carbon tax is appropriate since it will encourage these corporations to reduce emissions one way or another. Supporters also say carbon taxes will make clean energy comparatively cheaper and will help address the problem of industrial polluters not paying the social costs of their emissions. The Obama administration is now requiring coal-fired power plants to reduce emissions by 20%. This will likely spur states to create cap and trade programs, forcing utilities to pay for the pollutants they emit. Critics claim a carbon tax could increase consumer’s utility bills.

Pending Legislations:

H.R.1486 – No Carbon Tax Act of 2013

S.332: Climate Protection Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current industrial emissions policy and wish to defeat H.R.1486 and S.332

I oppose the EPA from devising or implementing a carbon tax; on emissions, including carbon dioxide emissions generated by the burning of coal, natural gas, or oil; or coal, natural gas, or oil based on emissions, including carbon dioxide emissions that would be generated through the fuel’s combustion, and wish to pass H.R.1486

I support requiring EPA to impose a carbon pollution fee on any manufacturer, producer, or importer of a carbon polluting substance; and a carbon equivalency fee on imports of carbon pollution-intensive goods; requiring 50% of the amounts received each year as a result of this carbon tax to provide amounts to state and local programs that assist communities in adapting to climate change, improving the resiliency of critical infrastructure, and protecting environmental quality and wildlife, and wish to pass S.332

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is a 19 million acre wildlife refuge located on the coastal plain of Alaska’s North Slope. Environmentalists say that ANWR is one of the last pristine wilderness areas remaining on Earth and claim this extraordinary and untouched ecosystem must be protected forever. Wildlife such as polar, black and grizzly bears, caribou, Dall sheep, seabirds and golden eagles all call ANWR home. Advocates say that ANWR is our only conservation area with a complete range of arctic ecosystems including coast, tundra, mountains and taiga and boreal forests. It also boasts a network of 18 major rivers, two of our largest lakes and warm springs that support a variety of plant species unique to the Arctic region. The question of whether to drill for oil in this preserve has been an ongoing controversy for over 30 years. What is not controversial is the amount of oil that lies beneath this refuge. Estimates show that ANWWR contains about 10 billion barrels of recoverable oil and could yield more than 800 million barrels of oil per year. This amount is about 40% of our 2008 domestic oil production and easily exceeds the amount of oil we import from Saudi Arabia. Environmentalists say this must be weighed against the potential harm oil extraction might have upon ANWR’s environment and wildlife. Of particular concern are the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou where 40,000 caribou calves are birthed and nursed each year. Advocates claim environmental damage will occur not only during drilling operations, but when storing and transporting oil, disposing of wastes, and by constructing roads, buildings, airstrips and ports – to say nothing of the potential for oil spills. Drilling proponents say that great precautions were taken to protect the environment and wildlife during the construction of the Trans-Alaska pipeline. They claim most environmentalists thought caribou populations would greatly suffer by building this mammoth project. However, studies show the opposite occurred as caribou thrived in the heat radiating from the pipeline. Environmentalists disagree with industry representatives who say that oil can be safely extracted from ANWR in a way that does not destroy its beauty.

Pending Legislations:

H.R.139 – Udall-Eisenhower Arctic Wilderness Act

H.R.49 – American Energy Independence and Price Reduction Act

I oppose reforming current Artic National Wildlife Refuge policy and wish to defeat H.R. 139 and H.R.49

I support declaring the policy of the United States concerning protection and preservation of the wilderness ecosystem of the Arctic coastal plain; designating specified lands within Alaska in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as wilderness and components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, and wish to pass H.R.139

I support implementing a competitive leasing program for the exploration, development, and production of the oil and gas resources on the Coastal Plain of Alaska; repealing the prohibition against leasing or other development leading to production of oil and gas from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR); authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to designate up to 45,000 acres of the Coastal Plain as an area designated for directional drilling, and wish to pass H.R.49

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is a rule designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the fuels used by our transportation industry. This rule limits the burning of fossil fuels, such as diesel and gasoline, and promotes the use of biofuels, natural gas, propane, and electricity. California, Oregon and Washington have adopted LCFS rules in the past few years and a court of appeals has recently upheld the right of a state to enact these regulations. About a dozen other states are considering similar laws. In order to comply with the low-carbon standard, oil companies could blend more ethanol into gasoline products, purchase credits from electric utilities supplying electricity to electric vehicles, or sell hydrogen for vehicles that use this as a fuel. Environmentalists claim LCFS rules are a state-response to our federal government’s inability to pass legislation to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. They say that about 40% of our air pollution is caused by gasoline and diesel-burning engines. They claim that if our overall emissions are to be reduced, low carbon fuel standards must play a role. Opponents claim LCFS rules will drive up gasoline prices, and result in higher prices for other consumer goods in which transportation costs are a factor.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current Low Carbon Fuel Standard policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to formulate Low Carbon Fuel Standards that are modeled after guidelines of the California Air Resources Board

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Emissions trading, or cap and trade, is a market-based approach that uses economic incentives to reduce carbon emissions. California has recently enacted such a program. Factories, power plants and other large polluters receive permits that limit, or cap, the amount of greenhouse gases they are allowed to emit without penalty. These caps become more stringent over time, allowing less and less pollution, until the ultimate emissions reduction goal is met. The companies that are able to reduce their emissions below allowable limits can sell, or trade, their extra permits to companies that are unable to reduce emissions as easily. Opponents claim emissions trading will likely increase costs to industry and consumers. Supporters claim cap and trade systems guarantee a set level of overall reductions, reward the most efficient companies, and ensure the cap can be met at the lowest cost to the economy. Cap and trade would also create a substantial revenue stream if the government decides to auction emission permits to companies required to reduce emissions. Advocates suggest this revenue could be used to mitigate problems caused by climate change. They also say this cap and trade program is similar to the emissions trading program enacted by the 1990 Clean Air Act to reduce sulfur emissions and reverse the effects of acid rain. This goal was met at a much lower cost than either industry or government had predicted.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current cap and trade policy

I support a cap and trade program to reduce industrial carbon emissions and wish to identify a legislator who will reintroduce H.R.2454 – American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (111th Congress 2009-2010)

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Biodiversity has been defined as the variety of plant and animal species found within an ecosystem. Biodiversity is threatened by the loss of species habitat often caused by human activity –and this activity has taken a huge toll. Since 1970, it is estimated that half the world’s vertebrate species have sharply declined. Nearly 40% of all marine and terrestrial populations as well as an astonishing 76% of all freshwater species have been compromised. Advocates say this is not good news since the health of wildlife populations is a good indicator of the overall health of our planet’s ecosystems.

Indonesia is one of Earth’s most biologically diverse and ecologically threatened regions. Its 17,508 islands not only contain 10% of the world’s rainforests, but also many coral reefs, atolls, mangrove swamps and ice field ecosystems as well. Indonesia is home to 17% of the world’s bird species, 25% of its reptiles and 12% of its mammals. It is also home to more endangered species than any other country, with a third of its species listed. The world’s demand for hard wood and palm oil is responsible for destroying much of Indonesia’s ancient forests. Logging has traditionally taken the heaviest toll on these forests but recently, much forest land has been cleared to make room for Indonesia’s massive oil palm plantations. The oil palm can produce fruit for 30 years and yields more oil per acre than any major oilseed crop. The UN predicts that 98% of Indonesia’s forest area could be destroyed by 2022 if this trend is not reversed. Advocates say international buyers such as China, India and the Middle East will continue to buy palm oil regardless of its environmental or social costs.

Much like its forests, Indonesia’s coral reefs are also in trouble. Indonesia is home to 16% of the world’s coral reefs, second only to Australia. Ocean acidification, overfishing, pollution and climate change are some of the daunting challenges facing not only Indonesia’s coral reefs, but those the world over. Perhaps one quarter of all ocean species are dependent on these ecosystems for food and shelter. Already more than a quarter of these reefs have been destroyed and it is feared all coral reefs could disappear in 20 years. Advocates say we need to study this problem and devise ways to counter these dire threats.

Pending Legislation:

S.839- Coral Reef Conservation Amendments Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current biodiversity policy and wish to defeat S.839

I support authorizing a national coral reef action study to include the effects of coastal uses and management, including land-based sources of pollution and climate change; and directing the Commerce Secretary to give priority to community-based local action strategies when awarding certain grants for conservation projects that include monitoring and assessment, research, pollution reduction, education, and technical support. Revises the project proposal approval process by directing the Secretary to consider criteria, including coral reef ecosystems (current law refers only to coral reefs) and biodiversity, international ecosystems, mitigation of coral disease, ocean acidification, and bleaching; and support for community-based planning with local governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and wish to pass S.839

I support establishing a long-term campaign to fund the protection of Indonesia’s rainforests and slow the expansion of its timber and palm oil industries

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

By a wide margin, 2012 was our hottest year on record. Over the past 150 years worldwide, 9 of the 10 hottest years have occurred in the past decade. The top 20 warmest years have all occurred during the last 25 years. The adverse effects of global warming are well documented. The relationship between man’s hydrocarbon emissions and climate change is unchallenged by nearly every scientist. Although this relationship has been known for decades, critics say that not enough has been done at our national level to mitigate the effects of excessive carbon in our air. However, some carbon reduction efforts have occurred at other levels. In 1997, representatives from 38 industrialized nations met in Japan to attempt to tackle our global warming problem. The results of these negotiations were the Kyoto Protocol Accords, an international agreement to reduce emissions 5% below 1990 levels by 2012. Our Senate chose not to participate in this accord and since its expiration last year nations have been unable to agree on a plan to reduce carbon emissions. Some say our focus seems to be shifting from preventing climate change to adapting to it. Many scientists believe that our carbon emissions must be cut in half by 2050 in order to prevent global temperatures from increasing by more than four degrees Fahrenheit. Such an increase could be catastrophic to many parts of the world. Environmentalists claim most industries have resisted reducing their emissions. Industry representatives say that carbon reduction can only be accomplished with significant costs to consumers. Advocates say the combined acts of individuals can greatly reduce carbon emissions by increasing the use of insulation materials and energy-efficient lights and appliances, and reducing the use of vehicles, heated water and climate control systems.

Pending Legislation:

S.570 – Clean Energy Race to the Top Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current carbon reduction policy and wish to defeat S.570

I support providing grants to develop and carry out clean energy and carbon reduction measures, such as renewable electricity standards, regional or statewide climate action plans, and participation in a regional greenhouse gas reduction program; establishing criteria for grants, to take into account regional disparities in the ways in which energy is produced and used, and the clean energy resource potential of the measures; modifying oil company tax loopholes to pay for this program, and wish to pass S.570

 Posted by at 12:00 am