"As a Member of Congress, as an American, and as a father, I feel a keen sense of obligation to care for our environment and the other creatures that share the Earth with us. As President Theodore Roosevelt said, "The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.'" - Rep. Adam Schiff
Addressing Climate Change
Congressman Schiff believes that we face no greater challenge than climate change, and no greater environmental threat to the world's habitability. Unlike wars and struggles that we have faced before, this is not a challenge that one generation can face alone, but rather one that all generations will face for decades to come. Global warming is a crisis that is not only imminent, but already present. We are already witnessing the effects of our changing climate on agriculture and forestry, ecosystems and human health, water resources and coastlines - and these problems will only intensify in the coming years unless we take decisive action.
Though this is a worldwide problem, Congressman Schiff believes that we must show leadership here at home and develop technologies and policies that set an example for the rest of the world. He has sponsored the Climate Stewardship Act which would reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by establishing a market-driven system of tradable allowances that caps carbon dioxide emissions at a certain level and then let companies trade the right to emit carbon dioxide in order to make sure that the most efficient reductions are made. This legislation would also stimulate scientific research on the process of climate change to make sure that policy-makers have the most up-to-date information.
Ensuring Clean Water
Congressman Schiff has supported legislation to keep our drinking water clean for many years. The San Fernando Valley aquifer has been polluted with elevated levels of hexavalent chromium, or "chromium 6," for many years. Congressman Schiff has secured more than $1.5 million to upgrade a City of Glendale treatment plant to ensure that it can remove this chemical.
Congressman Schiff led an effort by the California Congressional Delegation to get the National Toxicology Program (NTP) to conduct a definitive test of whether chromium 6 in drinking water can cause cancer. In response, the NTP began a rodent study several years ago, and the preliminary report was released in May 2007. That report reached the preliminary conclusion that chromium 6 is a carcinogen in the rodent population studied. Congressman Schiff is now pressing the Environmental Protection Agency to include the results of this study in a new health assessment for chromium 6, the first step to creating a tighter regulation.
Protecting Wilderness Lands and Wildlife Refuges
Believing that wilderness lands are treasures to be preserved, Congressman Schiff has supported many efforts to preserve wilderness lands across the country. In the 110th Congress, he introduced the Rim of the Valley Corridor Study Act and spoke in support of his bill at a meeting of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forest and Public Lands in June 2007. This legislation would commission a study on the feasibility of expanding the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to include the mountains and canyons in the Rim of the Valley Corridor as defined by the State of California. The Corridor consists of parts of the Santa Monica Mountains, Santa Susanna Mountains, San Gabriel Mountains, Verdugo Mountains, San Rafael Hills, and adjacent connector areas to the Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests--in essence many of the hills and mountains surrounding Burbank, Glendale, and other communities in our area.
Congressman Schiff testified before the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands in support of the Rim of the Valley Corridor Study Act.
Congressman Schiff has also cosponsored the Udall-Eisenhower Arctic Wilderness Act, which would permanently protect the Artic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling and development. He believes that we can increase our energy security without drilling in environmentally sensitive areas.
Preserving Endangered Wildlife
Rep. Schiff strongly supports the protection of endangered species, wherever they live. One government program that works to preserve unique species around the globe is the Multinational Species Conservation Fund. This fund helps protect endangered African and Asian elephants, rhinoceros, tigers, great apes, and marine turtles from extinction. These animals are endangered due to habitat loss and poaching and this funding provides money for on-the-ground conservation programs around the world. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Congressman Schiff has strongly advocated fully funding this program for many years, most recently for Fiscal Year 2007.
In the 110th Congress, Schiff has cosponsored legislation that will broaden the types of rare species protected through the Multinational Species Conservation Fund. The Great Cats and Rare Canids Act would protect wolves and great cats such as lions, leopards, and cheetahs from habitat degradation and other threats. Many countries around the world do not have the resources to adequately protect these majestic creatures from human encroachment. Congressman Schiff believes it is our responsibility to preserve these animals for future generations around the world to admire.
Protecting the Diminishing Polar Bear Population
As the impacts of global warming are felt around the world, some of the habitats of the most beloved creatures on earth are in jeopardy. Congressman Schiff supports to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species act. Earlier this year, he signed on to a letter to the Supervisor of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, supporting public hearings around the country about protecting this species under the Endangered Species Act. Americans have a right to share what the polar bear means to them.
During the 1960s and 1970s, hunting was the foremost threat to the bears. While vigorous international effort has outlawed random killing of polar bears and to outlaw hunting from aircraft, the hobby still exists and is a danger to a species whose habitat is slowly shrinking. Congressman Schiff believes we must do all we can to preserve this magnificent bear. For this reason, he cosponsored the Polar Bear Protection Act of 2007. This act would close a loophole in the Marine Mammal Protection Act which currently allows American trophy hunters to bring the heads and hides of polar bears into the United States. This would ensure that Americans are less likely to further the decline of the polar bear population.