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
Jan 152015
 

Earth’s population has recently surpassed 7 billion people. Over the last 6 decades, our population has increased by about one billion people every 12 years. It is estimated that our planet can safely sustain a maximum of about 9 billion people before it becomes overpopulated. However, there are many definitions of overpopulation. Most definitions relate to the amount of resources available to a population and the sustainability of the land on which that population resides. A United Nations report blamed overpopulation and over-consumption as the main causes of damage to Earth’s ecosystems. Population control proponents say many people in developing countries want help controlling their fertility. Many opponents of birth control are opposed to providing this assistance because of religious or ethical reasons. Among other things, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) works in developing countries improving women’s reproductive health. It provides birth control supplies and services to those in need and also treats HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. The UNFPA has recently been recognized for its worldwide campaign against obstetric fistula and female genital mutilation.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current overpopulation policy

I support international population control programs and wish to contribute to the United Nations Population Fund

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Much of our drinking water comes from rivers and lakes that have wastewater treatment plants located on them. Besides stormwater sweeping contaminants into these waterways, there is concern that our sewage plants are also allowing dangerous contaminants to be passed into them. Our wastewater treatment plants treat the water that is drained and flushed from nearly all American communities. Traditional treatment facilities kill pathogenic microorganisms but there are many other contaminants they cannot remove. Wastewater also contains many chemicals, pharmaceuticals and hormones, many of which remain biologically active after being discarded. These ‘emerging contaminants’ include ibuprofen, caffeine, estrogen, testosterone and drugs that lower cholesterol and inhibit seizures. Hormones such as estrogen appear to alter aquatic organisms. Some of these chemicals can disrupt human endocrine systems, causing health problems such as infertility and cancer. Health advocates are also concerned about the effects on people of ingesting mixtures of these substances. Our EPA claims the levels of these substances that they have detected in our drinking water are not high enough to harm us. However, critics say the effects of long term, low level exposure to these contaminants are not known, especially in regard to fetal exposure and other sensitive populations. Studies have shown technology exists to remove many of these emerging contaminants with the use of microfilters and reverse osmosis procedures.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current emerging contaminant policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to require wastewater treatment facilities to also treat or remove emerging contaminants including chemicals, pharmaceuticals and hormones, among others

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Covering only 6% of the planet’s surface, rainforests are tropical rain-soaked regions that are home to half of Earth’s plant and animal species. Latin America contains nearly 60% of all tropical rainforests, one third of them in Brazil alone. Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and West Africa contain the remainder. Some rainforests have existed for 100 million years. Several plants identified as promising cancer treatments are found only in these areas even though less than 3% of all rainforest species have been chemically analyzed. About 25 million acres of rainforest are destroyed each year, and at present rates of destruction, this valuable resource will vanish by 2040. Many forces such as logging, farming, ranching, mining and oil extraction contribute to worldwide deforestation. Climate change is also having a powerful effect. Several efforts to protect rainforests have been successful, including those that have significantly reduced the rate of destruction of Amazon’s rainforests. Purchase-to-protect and adopt-a-forest programs have had mixed results at preventing logging and farming. One reason is that rainforests provide subsistence to a growing number of indigenous people. Advocates say community-managed natural forests may hold the best promise for rain forest preservation. Applying this method, native people own their own land and manage it sustainability. Restrictions are placed on the age and type of trees that may be harvested. Invested in their environment, local owners fight forest fires, reduce illegal wood and wildlife trafficking, and harvest non-timber products such as pepper, date palm and gum.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current rain forest protection policy

I support rain forest preservation and wish to identify advocates who can help manage rainforest protection programs including the use of community management programs

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The Great Lakes contain 20% of our planet’s fresh water and at least 40 million Americans depend on these impressive bodies of water for their water supply. The Great Lakes also support many fragile ecosystems and sustain large shipping, fishing and tourism industries that greatly affect the economy and people of its eight surrounding states. These industries are now threatened by invasive species, pollution and low water levels resulting from diversion and increased evaporation. As with many American lakes, our Great Lakes are experiencing increased algae and weed growth. Sometimes excessive algae growth can be caused by too many nutrients polluting a lake. Invasive species can cause devastating declines in the diversity of native species. Discharges from the ballasts of ships entering the Great Lakes contain invasive species such as zebra muscles, spiny water fleas and round gobies. These invaders have damaged the lake’s fishing industry and helped algae flourish. Environmentalists are threatening to sue the EPA for the fourth time since the 90’s to tighten its restrictions on these discharges. They say several technologies exist to treat ballast water including filtration systems and ultraviolet light. The Asian carp is another invasive species that threatens the Great lakes. In 1990, these fish escaped from aquaculture farms into the Mississippi River and worked their way northward, wreaking havoc with the sport fishing industry. Environmentalists warn Asian carp populations have the potential to expand rapidly and change the composition of our Great Lakes ecosystem.

Pending Legislations:

H.R.600: Great Lakes Nutrient Removal Assistance Act

H.R.985: Asian Carp Prevention Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current Great lakes pollution policy and wish to defeat H.R.600 and H.R.985

I support providing grants to Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin and municipalities in such states to upgrade eligible municipal wastewater treatment plants with nutrient removal technologies, with priority given to plants at which nutrient removal technology upgrades would produce the greatest nutrient load reductions at points of discharge, result in the greatest environmental benefits to the Great Lakes System, and help meet the objectives related to nutrients outlined in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and wish to pass H.R.600

I support carrying out projects to prevent the spread of Asian carp in the Great Lakes and its tributaries including installing electric, acoustic, air bubble, and other barriers; applying pesticides, improving locks, and taking actions at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam; implementing measures recommended in the dispersal barrier efficacy study to prevent aquatic nuisance species from bypassing the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Dispersal Barrier Project and dispersing into the Great Lakes, and wish to pass H.R.985

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The 1972 Clean Water Act protects all our nation’s waterways from pollution. The Act’s original goals were to totally eliminate chemical discharges into our lakes, rivers and streams by 1985. The Clean Water Act gives our EPA broad jurisdiction in setting water quality standards. It enforces these standards by penalizing those responsible for pollution and helping states construct water treatment facilities. However, for the past couple of decades, the quality of our nation’s waters has been getting worse not better. An EPA report found that the majority of our streams can’t support healthy aquatic life. It reports that 55% of our waterways are in “poor” condition and another 23% are just “fair.” Only 21% of our rivers are considered “good” and “healthy” -but this number has been steadily declining. Stormwater run-off is responsible for some of this pollution. However, the millions of gallons of toxic waste water generated each day from hydrofracking operations have contaminated many groundwater supplies. Fracking fluids are sometimes reused and pumped back into the ground during new fracking operations, but a growing amount is being stored in evaporation lagoons. These open pits can leach contents into groundwater supplies, spill into waterways or degrade air quality. The fracking industry is not regulated under the provisions of the Clean Water Act due to an exemption awarded it by the Bush administration. Advocates say this industry should be held accountable for any environmental damage or adverse health effects caused by fracking operations.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.1175 – Focused Reduction of Effluence and Stormwater runoff through Hydrofracking Environmental Regulation Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current Clean Water Act policy and wish to defeat H.R. 1175

I support allowing the EPA to regulate the use and discharge of water used in fracking operations; amending the Clean Water Act to repeal provisions prohibiting the EPA from requiring or directing a state to require a permit under the national pollutant discharge elimination system for discharges of stormwater runoff from mining, oil, and gas operations or transmission facilities, and wish to pass H.R.1175

 Posted by at 12:00 am