Issue Position: Protecting Our Environment
An avid backpacker, Bob Schaffer's years in both public service and in the private sector have been devoted to protecting the environment and preserving Colorado's natural resources. As Bob campaigns throughout the state, Coloradans consistently express their beliefs that Colorado can continue its economic growth and simultaneously protect the state's environment.
As a former business executive for an independent Denver-based energy company, Bob worked on a balance of renewable wind-power and natural energy projects. He has always promoted better technologies and techniques for smarter natural-resource management in the private sector and in government. As Colorado's next U.S. Senator, Bob will help ensure Americans are meeting our obligation to be good stewards of God's creation for future generations.
Know the Difference:
-Supports conserving Colorado's scarce water resources through the Animas-La Plata project, water storage, increases to existing storage and conservation. (Pueblo Chieftain, 7/22/00)
-Supports updating the Endangered Species Act to better protect species consistent with private property rights.
-Opposes Udall plan to store nuclear waste on Colorado's eastern plains.
-Supports management and preservation of Colorado rivers by Coloradans rather than Washington-based agencies or interest groups. . (New York Times, 12/26/99)
-Supports transferring nuclear waste out of Colorado to appropriate, safe facilities. (Rocky Mountain News, 7/9/02)
-Supports healthy forest initiatives to mitigate against beetle-kill, reduce fire threats and protect water supplies. (H.R. 1524, Introduced 04/22/99; H.R. 5376, Introduced 09/12/02)
-Supports a well-regulated, environmentally sensitive energy industry under tough American environmental standards and supervision.
-Supports creation of safe nuclear-waste repository. (H.J.Res. 87, RC Vote #133, 5/8/02)
-Supports clean-coal technology along with Governor Ritter. (Governor Ritter Press Release, 2/23/08)
-Supports increased conservation, incentives for alternative and renewable energy such as ethanol and solar as well as conventional energy sources from America. (H.R. 4, RC Vote #320, 8/2/01)
-Opposes conserving Colorado's scarce water resources through the Animas-La Plata project, water storage, increases to existing storage and conservation. (Pueblo Chieftain, 7/22/00)
-Opposes updating the Endangered Species Act to better protect species consistent with private property rights. (H.R. 3824, RC Vote #506, 9/29/05).
-Supports his own plan to store nuclear waste on Colorado's eastern plains. (Mark Udall Letter to Secretary Richardson, 3/25/99; Rocky Mountain News 5/3/99)
-Cosponsored a federal water bill which would restrict management and preservation of Colorado rivers by Coloradans.
(H.R. 1356, Introduced 3/17/05, Mark Udall original cosponsor.)
-Opposes transferring nuclear waste out of Colorado to appropriate, safe facilities (S.1287, RC Vote #63, 3/22/00)
-Opposes healthy forest initiatives to mitigate against beetle-kill, reduce fire threats and protect water supplies. (H.R. 1904, RC Vote #200, 5/20/03)
-Supports drilling off the coast of Florida but only in Cuban waters under Cuban jurisdiction. (H.R. 3182, Introduced 7/25/07)
-Opposes creation of a safe nuclear-waste repository. (H.J.Res. 87, RC Vote #133, 5/8/02)
-Opposes clean coal technology. (H.R. 4503, RC Vote #241, 6/15/04)
-Opposed the 2001 energy bill which improved conservation, provided incentives for alternative and renewable energy such as ethanol, solar, hydropower and conventional energy sources. (H.R. 4, RC Vote #320, 8/2/01)
Bob Schaffer's Vision for Protecting the Environment:
Bob has made several policy presentations to citizen groups and civic organizations throughout Colorado over the past year on the topic of protecting the environment. Following are some of the ideas Bob has proposed on the campaign trail:
* Conserve water. Coloradans progressively get smarter and more efficient in how we use water. Bob supports increases to existing water storage, as well as agricultural practices, management techniques, storage efficiencies and technology investments that responsibly reduce water consumption.
* Maximize the use of existing water storage. Bob wants the federal government to play a more supportive role in helping Colorado improve its long-term water storage strategies. Expanded storage investments mean more precious resources for consumers, smart growth, land-management objectives and a healthier environment.
* Use Colorado's water smarter. Maximizing the use of existing storage is good for the environment as well as Coloradans. And smart reservoir operations can provide environmental benefits without sacrificing water storage, clean hydropower and recreation. The best science, technology, planning and engineering should be deployed to enhance the quantity and quality of Colorado water.
* Promote private land stewardship. Private landowners are the best and most dedicated stewards of the land. Bob adheres to the Western ethic that private land ownership is the best way to preserve the environmental integrity of the West. Bob supports incentives for private landowners aimed at preserving open space and rare species.
* Preserve open space. Bob supports using incentives to promote long-term private landownership to preserve open space. Some 95% of threatened and endangered species inhabit private lands.
* Oppose Udall's proposal to store nuclear waste in Adams County. Bob maintains his firm opposition to Rep. Mark Udall's (D-Boulder) proposal to dump nuclear waste in Adams County, Colorado.
* Encourage sustainable living. Bob supports federal tax advantages (such as tax credits and green bonds) for homeowners and builders who incorporate alternative energy systems and conservation technologies into new construction.
* Technology, not taxes. Bob will support technological improvements, not tax increases to clean up the environment.
* Entrepreneurs, not bureaucrats. Bob will support efforts to cultivate and unleash our entrepreneurial spirit on conservation issues, not more feckless bureaucratic mandates.
* Innovation, not litigation. Bob believes environmental lawsuit abuse has gotten out of hand. Too often sound environmental projects end up in the courts. If American environmental agencies could spend as much time and innovation doing their jobs instead of fighting in court, the environment would be much better off. Bob supports limits on litigation filed by special interest groups.
* Favor clean energy production. Bob believes it is better to derive energy resources from well-regulated and environmentally conscious American sources rather than from nations that lack comparable environmental standards, such as Cuba and Russia.
* Make it easier for citizens to clean up abandoned mines. Bob believes people should be shielded from environmental lawsuit abuse if they take on the public goal cleaning up an abandoned mine site. Congress should encourage community groups, individuals and other private entities to clean up mines without being subject to harsh liabilities. This can be done under state supervision.
* No exemptions on international climate treaties. Bob believes none of America's industrialized competitor nations should be exempt from any climate treaties considered by the U.S. Senate. The proposed Kyoto climate-change treaty, for example, exempted 132 of 166 of the world's nations including China and India.
* Focus soil conservation efforts on erosion control. Bob believes the Conservation Reserve Program's emphasis should remain on protecting fragile grasslands and highly erosion-prone acreages.
* ESA reform. Bob believes the Endangered Species Act should be implemented on the basis of sound science and pragmatic recovery outcomes. Moreover, ESA administrators must be held accountable for achieving recovery goals.
* Utilize space platforms to enhance environmental land management. An advocate for America's preeminence in space, Bob believes America's space-research programs should expand opportunities for mapping, surface research and environmental management.
* Utilize beetle-killed tree waste to produce energy and useful forest products. Federal policy should aggressively encourage private removal and use of trees lost to infestation and other vestiges of poor forest-management practices.
* Revive an environmentally friendly forest-products industry. Bob believes the U.S. Forest Service must reclaim the vision of its founder Gifford Pinchot to rely on partnerships with private citizens toward multiple uses, sustained yields, federal accountability and sufficient earned revenues to manage healthier forests.
* Favor active forest management. Forest management by neglect is the greatest threat to America's National Forest System. The forestry profession should get back to its core mission of actively managing public lands rather than allowing them to decay into fire hazards and water-quality hazards.
* Encourage renewable energy development. Bob believes American policy should encourage all promising renewable technologies thereby creating a race to the marketplace based upon the best science, research, financing and efficiency. The federal government should encourage research in renewable energy and support the development of sustainable alternatives that will succeed in the marketplace. An aggressive approach to renewable technology development is essential to leading America's conversion to an energy economy based on domestic renewable energy resources.
* Push the military toward alternative fuels. A new Defense Department position should be created to manage the military's overall energy needs. The U.S. Air Force, for example, uses about 2.6 billion gallons of jet fuel a year -- 10% of the domestic aviation fuel market. The entire military should be pushed to employ all manner of energy-saving measures, including using lighter metals, hybrid engines - even shutting off lights and lowering thermostats at bases. To free up billions in research investments, Congress should allow long-term military contracts with alternative fuel suppliers, engine manufacturers and other alternative technology providers.
* Pursue other strategies to help improve the environment. Bob supports more dynamic strategies to protect the environment - some may be added to this list at a later date. If you have further ideas on how to protect the environment, please share them with Bob's campaign.
Bob Schaffer's Record on Protecting the Environment:
* Bob authored legislation to create the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site in Colorado. The Senate companion bill was signed into law. (H.R. 5371, Sponsor: Rep. Bob Schaffer, Introduced 10/30/00; S.2950, Sponsor: Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Introduced 7/27/00, P.L. 106-465).
* Bob authored the "Grassland Reserve Act" that was signed into law as part of the 2002 Farm Bill. This legislation helps promote conservation of our nation's grasslands by providing financial compensation to farmers and livestock producers for maintaining their land as open-space and wildlife habitat while keeping tracts of land in agriculture production. (H.R. 1689, Sponsor: Rep. Bob Schaffer, Introduced 5/15/01; H.R. 2646, RC Vote#123, 5/2/02)
* In the House, Bob requested, and the Congress funded, $40 million in additional expenditures to achieve the expedited clean-up of the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant in Colorado. (Baca Weekly 6/10/98).
* Bob authored legislation that was signed into law to help make outdoor activities more accessible to persons with disabilities. (P.L. 105-359, 11/10/98)
* Bob cosponsored legislation to create the Spanish Peaks Wilderness. (H.R. 898, Introduced 3/2/99, P.L. 106-456)
* Bob was appointed chairman of the Western Caucus Water Working Group in the U.S. Congress. (Yuma Pioneer 6/26/97)
* Bob worked to secure $3.5 million in funding to complete construction of the National Wildlife Research Center facilities in Colorado. (Baca Weekly, 10/7/98)
* Bob supported legislation to create the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. (H.R. 5264, Introduced 9/21/00; H.R. 812, Introduced 3/1/01)
* Bob cosponsored legislation and helped to eventually pass a ban on commercial air tours over Rocky Mountain National Park. (H.R. 2859, Introduced 11/6/97; H.R. 1000, RC Vote #48, 3/15/00, P.L. 106-181, Rocky Mountain News 11/8/97)
* Bob successfully fought to protect the South Platte River from an executive order that threatened Colorado's ability to manage the river and preserve its most favorable qualities. (Editorial, Rocky Mountain News 6/20/98)
* Bob cosponsored legislation to promote forest management strategies that lead to healthier, more diverse forests and increased water supplies for agriculture and wildlife. (H.R. 2458, Introduced 9/11/97)
* Bob cosponsored legislation to establish a "flexible fallow" program for farmers. Under the program, farmers would be empowered to voluntarily idle a portion of their total crop acreage in exchange for higher loan rates on remaining production. The "flex fallow" program is more market-responsive than the idling programs of the past. The proposal adds a voluntary, conservation-use feature to the loan rate provisions of the Farm Bill. (H.R. 32, Introduced 1/3/01)
* Bob vigorously defended Colorado's right to establish progressive air-visibility standards in Class I areas of the state. (Letter to Browner, Colorado Statesman 4/18/97)
* Bob defended the Conservation Reserve Program's emphasis on protecting Colorado's fragile grasslands and highly erosion-prone acreages. (Denver Post 5/31/97)
* Bob fought for and secured $1.5 million for the construction of an endangered species support center near Fort Collins. (H.R. 4193, 7/23/98)
* Bob spearheaded expedited funding for $15.1 million to construct a new Mobilization and Training Equipment site on the grounds of Fort Carson. The new site saves fuel and energy and meets modern environmental and safety standards. Its more-centralized location eliminated a 14-mile travel route costing thousands of dollars in maintenance and fuel for expensive tracked vehicles. (P.L. 106-246, 7/13/00)
* Bob supported many other proposals to protect the environment throughout the time he served in the Colorado State Senate, the US House of Representative and in the private sector.
What Others Are Saying:
* League of Private Property Voters named Bob "Champion of Property Voters" for his defense of private property rights.
* The American Land Rights Association (ALRA) named Bob "Hero of Private Property" "Congressman Schaffer stood up to be counted in strong support of inholders, farmers, ranchers, sportsmen, and all private property owners," said Susan Walker, Associate Director of ALRA. "We thank him for voting in favor of Western interests."
* The Colorado Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation gave Bob the "Friend of the Farm Bureau" Award for his advocacy on issues including reforming the Endangered Species Act. Upon awarding Schaffer, Roger Bill Mitchell, the group's president said, "It sends a strong message to the citizens of Colorado that we have good people back in Washington working hard for our concerns and issues." (CFB News, 10/1998).
* "Voluntarily idled agricultural lands will be managed to retain or enhance many of the characteristics of rural landscapes valued by the public including: flood control, open space, and wildlife habitat." -- Dr. Andrew Seidl, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist -- Public Policy in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University on Schaffer's "flex-fallow" legislation.
* Thumbs Up "To U.S. Rep. Bob Schaffer for his work in the Disabled Access Study bill." "The study requires the agencies to plan ways to improve access for fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing, hiking, boating and camping." (Ft. Collins Coloradoan, 11/7/98)
* "Congressman Bob Schaffer made very persuasive arguments in favor of the increased funding for Rocky Flats. The project is one of the true success stories among environmental restoration programs and the local community can thank Bob Schaffer for his hard work and dedication." -- Congressman Duncan Hunter, Chairman of the House National Security Subcommittee on Military Procurement (6/10/98).
* "Rep. Bob Schaffer also had given support for the ban, and it was this longtime unified effort by Colorado's delegation that likely carried the political clout needed to get the flight ban into law." (Loveland Reporter-Herald, 11/3/98)