Issue Position: Energy / Environment / Climate Change
A growing number of scientists believe that human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, are leading to increased global temperatures. According to the Congressional Research Service, the most recent state-of-the-art computer models of the Earth's climate have projected a global average warming of almost 3 to 10.7 ˚F over the next 100 years, if greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere at the current rate. A warmer climate could have far-reaching effects on agriculture and forestry, managed and unmanaged ecosystems, including natural habitats, human health, water resources and sea levels.
I have long advocated for investing in the development of alternative sources of energy, such as hydrogen fuel cells. Hydrogen fuel could help improve fuel supply stability, while lowering or eliminating emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that lead to global warming. I have also cosponsored the Safe Climate Act (H.R. 1590 ) that would create aggressive requirements to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The bill would cap U.S. emissions in 2010, and then gradually reduces them by 2 percent per year until 2020; create a flexible, market-based, emissions trading program; establish new requirements for cleaner cars; and require more electricity from renewable energy.
I have also been named to the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming which will hold hearings and investigations locally, nationally, and internationally to gather information needed to protect our national security and the environment.
While the United States has made significant progress in cleaning up the air we breathe since the landmark Clean Air Act was passed 30 years ago, we must do more. Pollution in our air impacts the integrity of our atmosphere, our water supply, and the health of our children. It is vital that we set and maintain strong standards for the quality of our air, for this and future generations.
I am a cosponsor of the Clean Smokestacks Act of 2005 (H.R. 1451 ), which would set stronger limits for the emission of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide and mercury by all power plants, regardless of age. Currently, older power plants are exempted from most clear air standards. If passed, this bill would help states like Connecticut reduce the hazardous impact of power plant emissions.
When the Clean Water Act was signed into law in 1972, the United States took an important step towards eliminating pollution from all of our nation's lakes, rivers, and coastal waters. Studies have shown that the Clean Water Act keeps more than 900 million pounds of sewage and a billion pounds of toxic chemicals out of our waterways every year. Despite this success, a majority of Americans still live within 10 miles of polluted water that is unsafe for drinking, fishing or swimming. I will continue to fight in Congress for tough standards that prevent the illegal and dangerous pollution of our waterways.
I am a cosponsor of the Clean Water Authority Restoration Act of 2005 (H.R. 1356 ), which would give Congress the authority to regulate activity affecting all waters within the United States. Current law gives Congress the ability to regulate only the navigable waters of the country. If passed, this legislation would ensure that clean water standards can be used to protect every pond, lake and stream in the United States.