I share the concerns of many Kentuckians over the need to implement policies that protect our environment and the species that inhabit it. As citizens of this country, we have a responsibility to be good stewards of its resources. I have always strived to support legislation and proposals that balance conservation of our environment with the need to grow our economy and protect jobs. During the 111th Congress, I plan on continuing these efforts to ensure we enact policies which preserve our environment for future generations without unnecessarily adversely impacting businesses and consumers during tough economic times.
The issues of global warming and climate change have quickly moved to the forefront of the national debate over the state and future of our environment. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, on which I serve, has jurisdiction over legislation regarding climate change and global warming. The Committee is currently debating a discussion draft of legislation to address climate change and promote "green energy" technologies. While climate change may be one of the most urgent problems facing our country, the economic impact of the way this proposal affects our production of electricity and the production of the fuel we use for our transportation needs in America may very well dwarf our climate change problems. It is essential that as we move forward to produce cleaner energy we balance the need for cleaner fuel sources with the need for protecting jobs in the U.S. and keeping our country competitive in the global market place. Furthermore, developing countries, such as China and India, must be part of any long-term strategy for dealing with these issues.
Last Congress I co-sponsored the Carbon Capture and Storage Early Deployment Act. This bipartisan legislation would establish a $1 billion annual fund, derived from fees on the generation of electricity from coal, oil and natural gas. Grants from the fund would be awarded to large-scale projects advancing the commercial availability of CCS technology. CCS is a method of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by capturing and injecting underground the carbon dioxide emitted from electricity generation plants that use fossil fuels. Legislation such as this is critical to finding ways to utilize energy sources we depend on in a more environmentally friendly manner. I am pleased that this proposal has been incorporated into the climate change legislation currently being debated by Congress.
Cleanup at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant
I am committed to the cleanup at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant to ensure a safe and healthy environment for future generations. I have supported a number of measures to provide money for cleanup at the Paducah plant. This year, I am developing legislation that would, among other things, reauthorize the Uranium Enrichment Decommissioning and Decontamination Fund to make certain that it is adequately funded to address the legacy of environmental damage in Paducah and at similar sites across the country.
Throughout my tenure in Congress, I have supported a number of measures to protect our land, water and wildlife. I supported the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008, which included 62 public land protection measures; the Great Lakes Legacy Reauthorization Act of 2008, which re-authorized Great Lakes Legacy programs through 2013 and provided support for contaminated sediment remediation and aquatic habitat restoration; as well as legislation to protect wildlife and pets. In addition, I have supported measures such as the Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act of 2008 to promote energy conservation.
Land Between the Lakes
I was pleased to help establish the 170,000 acre National Recreation Area at the Land Between the Lakes (LBL) and secure nearly $80 million to ensure the continued operation and maintenance of the site. In 1998, I introduced the Land Between the Lakes Protection Act to transfer the management of LBL to the U.S. Forest Service. The provisions of the Act were included in the FY 1999 Omnibus Appropriations Bill and included $7 million to facilitate the transfer. By taking this action, I was able to protect both the short and long-term security of LBL while guaranteeing the continuation of its missions in the areas of conservation, recreation and environmental education.
Recently, the group Republicans for Environmental Protection released their annual congressional scorecards which rate the environmental performance of Republicans in Congress. I am pleased to say I received the highest rating of anyone in the Kentucky Congressional Delegation for my support of legislation which protects many of our national parks, wildlife refuges and wilderness areas and promotes conservation and energy efficiency.