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Issue Position: Protecting Our Environment

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Improving Vehicle Mileage & Reducing Greenhouse Gases

California leads the nation in passing progressive environmental policies. Brad Sherman has worked to make sure that the federal government does not prohibit California from implementing those policies. In 2007, the Bush administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rejected California's request to regulate motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.

Congressman Sherman introduced the Right to Clean Vehicles Act (H.R. 609) to force the EPA to allow California to regulate vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. Shortly thereafter, the Obama administration's EPA reversed the previous decision and allowed California to maintain its regulations.

Subsequently, the Obama administration issued new nationwide rules designed to reach reduction levels similar to those adopted by the State of California. The new rules will begin to be phased-in beginning in model year 2012 for cars and light trucks (pickups, vans, and SUVs). The rules are estimated to increase fuel economy standards to as much as 35.5 miles per gallon by model year 2016. The standards will require cars, SUVs, minivans, and other light trucks to meet combined emissions levels that the agency estimates will average a 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions compared to current levels.

Spill, Baby, Spill

Brad Sherman is working to ensure that BP pays to clean up the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Congressman Sherman joined with his colleagues to pass S. 3473, a bill that amends the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and authorizes more money to go to clean-up efforts. President Obama signed this bill into law on June 15, 2010. Brad Sherman has also cosponsored the SPILL Act (H.R. 5503) which passed the House in July. The bill will reform maritime liability laws to ensure that the families of those killed or injured in the BP spill and other such tragedies are justly compensated for their losses. The bill awaits action in the Senate.

To help prevent future spills, Congressman Sherman joined with his colleagues to introduce the Deepwater Horizon Inquiry Commission Act (H.R. 5241), which would establish an independent, non-partisan commission to investigate the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and provide recommendations to avoid such disasters in the future. President Obama issued an executive order modeled on this legislation to establish a commission. Congressman Sherman joined with his colleagues to introduce H.R. 5481 to give the commission subpoena power as part of its investigation. The bill passed in the House on June 23, 2010 and is now awaiting action in the Senate.

For many years, Brad Sherman has been a leader in the fight against drilling off the coast of California. Congressman Sherman joined with his colleagues to introduce the West Coast Ocean Protection Act (H.R. 5213), which would permanently prohibit offshore drilling in federal waters off the Pacific Coast. This bill is pending before the Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.

The Santa Monica Mountains and the Rim of the Valley

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is a national treasure right in our backyard, and it is the world's largest urban national park. Over the years, Brad Sherman has secured more than $20 million to enhance and maintain this scenic area. These funds have enabled the construction of the Backbone Trail and acquisition of the King Gillette Ranch -- the future home of the National Park Services' Anthony C. Beilenson Visitor Center.

The Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee approved $3.75 million this summer to purchase core habitat in Zuma and Trancas Canyons in the Santa Monica Mountains. This funding was one of the National Park Service's highest priorities for land acquisition because the land provides wildlife corridors and was in danger of development.

As part of Congressman Sherman's efforts to protect the Santa Monica Mountains from development, the Congressman joined with his colleague Adam Schiff in introducing The Rim of the Valley Corridor Study Act, which became law in 2008. This law directs the Secretary of Interior to study the feasibility of expanding the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to include the area known as the "Rim of the Valley Corridor." The Rim of the Valley Corridor includes areas within the Santa Susana Mountains, just north of Granada Hills and Northridge. The study will explore ways to protect wildlife populations, establish connections along the Rim of the Valley trail system, preserve access to open space and recreation, and respect the needs of nearby communities.


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