"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 imminent, but already present. We are 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.
The American Clean Energy and Security Act is a ground-breaking effort to provide energy independence and fight global warming while keeping energy prices low. Taking effect in 2012, it would cap greenhouse gas emissions and then allow companies to trade their permits to emit so that market encourages the cheapest reductions to be made. It would initially distribute some permits for free, and use the proceeds of selling some permits to reduce energy costs for low-income households and invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy. The American Clean Energy and Security Act, passed the House on June 26, 2009 by a vote of 219-212.
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 tighter regulations.
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 commissioned 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. You can read his testimony by clicking here. The study is scheduled to be complete by September 2011.
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. The Multinational Species Conservation 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.
In the 111th Congress, Congressman Schiff supported 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. Congressman Schiff voted for the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act when it passed the House on April 21, 2009. 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.
During the 111th Congress, Congressman Schiff also cosponsored legislation that would develop an alternative source of funding for the Multinational Species Conservation Funds. The Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Act would establish a stamp which would be offered at a cost of the price of a first class stamp at the time of the purchase and at least an additional 25 percent. Proceeds from the sale of the stamp would be split evenly between the conservation funds for African and Asian elephants, great apes, marine turtles, rhinoceros and tigers.
Strengthening the Endangered Species Act
In the last months of the previous administration, so called "midnight regulations" were used to weaken protections for endangered species without congressional approval. One new regulation would remove the provision from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that federal agencies undertake "independent scientific reviews" before construction or drilling can occur in an endangered species' habitat. Instead federal agencies could determine themselves whether a project presented a threat to an endangered species. Since the ESA went into effect in 1973 this critical provision has rarely threatened worthy projects, but has protected countless endangered species.
Congressman Schiff believes that the ESA must remain a cornerstone of this nation's efforts to protect our environment. That is why he is a cosponsor of House Joint Resolution 18 in the 111th Congress which states that Congress disapproves of the Endangered Species Act rule change and that the rule will have no force or effect. Congressman Schiff also sent a letter to the Interior and Commerce Secretaries objecting to the weakening of the historic roles the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service have played in protecting endangered species by ensuring that federal projects are not a threat to fish, wildlife and plants. 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."