As a Member of the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, enacting policies that assist us in our ongoing fight against climate change, and working to protect our oceans, lands, wildlife and national parks has been, and will continue to remain, a priority of mine.
During the 112th Congress, a great deal of the debate has surrounded environmental regulations. Throughout America's history, we have often been presented the challenge of protecting and preserving the environment while maintaining growth and responsible industrial progress. I believe that today, we can do both. Through prudent policy, we can ensure that our earth is protected for future generations.
With that in mind, in April, I cast my vote against H.R. 910, legislation which amends the Clean Air Act to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gases in order to address climate change. I believe that it is irresponsible and shortsighted to prevent the EPA from enforcing the Clean Air Act and regulating greenhouse gases; we all know that they won’t disappear on their own. If we want to stop the harmful effects of climate change, we must start acting. The U.S. should be a leader in reducing pollution levels in the world.
I am a strong proponent for sensible conservation efforts that would protect our diverse environmental legacy. From our vast oceans to our precious national parks, all aspects of our environment must be considered. We must not only protect these lands for the wildlife that inhabit them, but also for the clean water and natural resources we rely on. We were reminded the importance of this issue when the BP Oil spill created the worst environmental tragedy in the history of this country. As oil polluted the gulf region, it strained the local economy and created an ecological catastrophe.
To help prevent a disaster like this from happening again, I worked with my colleagues to advance the Safer Oil and Natural Gas Drilling Technology Research and Development Act (H.R. 5716) during the 111th Congress. This legislation would provide new technology that would promote accident prevention, worker safety, and lower the environmental impact of oil and natural gas drilling. Additionally, I supported the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act (H.R. 3534). The CLEAR Act would improve safety standards and hold corporations accountable, to ensure that we not only prevent future environmental disasters, but also protect the lives and livelihoods of those located in these areas.
As our ongoing economic recovery efforts continue, it is also critical that we help industries achieve consistent standards of compliance, protect public health, reduce harmful emissions, and create jobs. Toward that end, I sponsored the Formaldehyde Standards in Composite Wood Products Act (H.R. 4805), which set national standards for formaldehyde in domestic and imported composite wood products. Enacted into law on July 7, 2010, this legislation applied the rule adopted by the California Air Resources Board in cooperation with industry, regulatory authorities, and public interest groups to lower limits for formaldehyde emissions in most composite wood products. It provided the Environmental Protection Agency with the necessary oversight to prevent faulty foreign wood products from entering our markets and placing U.S. manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage.
In 2009, the House of Representatives approved, with my support, the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act (H.R. 2454), which represents a comprehensive approach to America’s energy policy. H.R. 2454 contains provisions I authored that would address flood protection and transportation planning in the context of climate change. It would chart a new course towards a clean energy economy by providing strategic investments in clean energy infrastructure, creating new American jobs, protecting against the dangers of flooding, and building upon the progress being made to build a clean energy economy in communities like Sacramento. The bill would reduce carbon emissions that cause global warming.
I will continue working to uphold environmental regulations, protect wildlife sanctuaries, and to improve the quality of our air and water.