Smith Scores Perfect 100% with Environment
At a press conference today at Windward Beach Park along the Metedoconk River, Environment New Jersey released its annual scorecard and honored Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton) for his 100%environmental rating during the 109th Congress.
"We have made great strides over the past several years to help better preserve and protect our environment. While much has been accomplished, more work needs to be done. As I have throughout my tenure in Congress, I will continue to promote legislative initiatives that will help secure safer and cleaner air and waters, help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and advance an overall healthier environment," said Smith.
"A majority of New Jersey's Congressmen, including Congressman Smith, time and again have stood up to the White House and done what's right for the environment," said Matt Elliott, Environment New Jersey's global warming and clean energy advocate.
Earlier this month, Rep. Smith supported and the House of Representatives passed HR 3221, the "New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act." HR 3221 is a comprehensive plan to combat global warming by increasing investment in renewable energy, providing national security by reducing dependence on foreign oil, help to better protect our natural wildlife, and offer international assistance to developing countries to promote clean and efficient energy technologies.
During debate of HR 3221, the House passed and Rep. Smith supported an amendment to require states to provide at least 15% of their electricity from clean, renewable sources like wind and solar power by 2020. Today's event coincided with a national campaign by Environment New Jersey to pass this legislation through both houses of Congress.
"The recent passage in the House to mandate a Renewable Electricity Standard is an important step forward to help ensure that we continue to pursue 21st century clean energy solutions to solve our energy needs," said Smith.
Also incorporated in HR 3221 was legislation to promote an international response to the threat of global warming that Rep. Smith helped to champion. The "International Climate Cooperation Re-engagement Act" (HR 2420), which was sponsored by Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Smith was passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee in May as a stand-alone bill was later included in its entirety as Title II to HR 3221.
"Climate change is a global challenge that must be addressed with a global solution. The legislation I worked to have incorporated as Title II in the energy bill calls for an active, dedicated U.S. re-engagement in the effort to reach a global agreement on climate change," said Smith
Specifically, the provision Smith worked on which was included as Title II of the energy bill:
* Creates an Office for Global Climate Change within the U.S. Department of State to be headed by an Ambassador-at-Large;
* Mandates a serious U.S. re-engagement in the effort to reach a global agreement that requires binding emissions mitigation commitments from all the major emitters including China and India;
* Authorizes $1 billion over five years for assistance programs to developing countries that will promote clean-energy production in even the poorest nations; and
* Creates the International Clean Energy Foundation to promote programs that serve as models for significantly reducing global greenhouse gas emissions through clean and efficient energy technologies, processes and services.
"The idea of designating an office within the State Department to focus attention and energy on climate changean idea I first proposed in a bill 17 years agowill move the ball forward on the issue of global warming by establishing a single point person for our diplomatic efforts to address climate change," said Smith.
"With its incorporation of HR 2420, HR 3221 represents an important stepboth domestically and internationallyto reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Legislative action by this Congress to promote investment in renewable energy development, availability and implementation will help ensure a healthy environment," said Smith.
In addition to the recent environmental votes, Rep. Smith is also a cosponsor of legislation in the 110th Congress to increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for cars and light trucks (HR 1506); to increase tax credits to make solar and wind power more affordable and accessible to all Americans (HR 1596); and to extend existing tax credits for solar and fuel cell property (HR 550).