I oppose the poisoning of our air and water. The air we breathe should not be contaminated. The water we drink should not be toxic.
We must also be crystal clear, 97% of all actively publishing scientists agree the climate change we are experiencing is caused by human activity.
This is not a fringe opinion. That percentage came from NASA. When 97% of peer reviewed data arrives at the same conclusion, on any topic, it is fool-hardy to disregard that data.
Obviously, any progressive position would include the endorsement of the Green New Deal and the support of rejoining the Paris Climate Accords.
Much has been made of the Green New Deal by its opponents and most of this opposition is not based on fact. The resolution advances initiatives on a broad scale, but most importantly it provides for investment in renewable energy technologies and supports the creation of jobs. The serious discussion of why we must do this, should always include the fact that, in addition to addressing environmental issues when we discuss “Energy Strategies,” we are talking about creating New Jobs for Americans. This is greatly needed and helps move our economy and our workforce into the future. The United States must take this initiative to ensure we are not left behind as manufacturers in the global marketplace. “Clean and Competitive” is how we save the world and advance our standing in it.
To that end, we must establish and expand the market for these new American goods. Rejoining and encouraging the goals of the Paris Climate accords will grow that segment of our new economy. We need strong leadership that understands this opportunity. Our current representative in TX-26 does not.
The negative effects of pollution, on the health of our citizens, are growing. These effects are obvious to anyone with asthma, emphysema and other respiratory conditions but they also reach much farther. We see these impacts exacerbated in highly polluted areas where cancer clusters are above normal and low birth weights are more common.
I support a carbon emissions tax on industries and corporations that continually produce higher than normal levels of pollution. As these pollutants contribute to the conditions I described, I believe these taxes should be used to help fund healthcare. If you make us sick, you’d better help us get well. I support an increasing scale to these taxes for offenders that do not adequately mitigate their damage to our air and water.
The Clean Water Act of 1972, was a monumental piece of legislation. Inspired by the burning of the Cuyahoga River, Congress moved to codify basic standards for safety, to be implemented by the EPA. The laws impact was long lasting, and it contributed greatly to reduction of pollutants, but it is due for many updates today. In April of this year, the Trump administration began rewriting sections of the act. The new codes allow Oil and Chemical companies to bypass regulations on building pipelines and restrict the ability of states to protect their water, from pollution, by denying permits. This was in direct response to the protests of the Keystone XL Pipeline and the action by brave activists at Standing Rock (DAPL). It is a dangerous move motivated by greed and has the potential to poison water sources and the people dependent on those sources. As such the law needs a rewrite that makes it harder to ease regulations that provide basic protection.
Our current environmental crisis requires greater protections for our existing wild lands. Luckily, this year, a bill was passed that provided for the expansion of public lands. I support legislation that protects wild lands from fragmentation and designates a greater areas for preservation. We can, through existing legislation like The Wilderness Act, protect more area from resource extraction and in the process allow nature to protect itself. I would additionally support incentives for private owners to support conservation and restoration efforts.
As mentioned in my answer regarding investing in infrastructure, I support design and materials that work with our environment, such as incentivizing LEED Certified building standards and designs that adequately collect and distribute water. The infrastructure we subsidize should work with the environment and also ensure and encourage non-motorized accessibility.
I support legislation that reduces dependency on fossil fuels — higher mileage standards — the closer we get to Clean Energy Independence the safer our country is.
I have worked in my town to protect the environment to protect the people from the poisoning of our air and water. As a commissioner on Planning and Zoning, I, along with two other commissioners, pushed the conversation on how close developers could put homes to gas wells. After a year, it came before the city to increase that distance from 250 to 500 feet. My speech is below at the 6:05:20 mark