Issue Position: Protecting Our Natural Resources
Protecting Our Natural Resources
Throughout my career I have fought for environmental protections and conservation of our natural resources. We have made our air cleaner to breathe and our water safer to drink, but environmental stewardship is an ongoing responsibility. From combating climate change to protecting our streams, forests, and wildlife, it is important that we continue to protect our environment for both current and future generations.
Experts from across the globe and throughout the United States have come to consensus: Global climate change is real. It is our most pressing environmental issue today, and without action, we put at risk the health of our families, the well-being of our coastal areas, the productivity of our farms, forests, and fisheries, and our homeland security.
Climate change cannot be overcome by any one nation; the United States must return to international negotiations to limit greenhouse gas emissions. With active leadership, we can ensure that the costs and benefits of stopping global warming are shared by developed and developing nations alike.
It is in our nation's best interest to confront global warming, not only to protect our planet, but to break free from dependence on foreign sources of energy. For far too long, energy policy in the United States has been written by global oil companies with their profits in mind. As a result, gas prices are soaring and global warming continues unchecked. It's a ticket to disaster.
Ohio can be a leader in the fight to reduce consumption of foreign oil and decrease our carbon emissions if we invest in clean energy development. We can bolster our economy and stimulate our manufacturing industry by developing and utilizing clean energy sources. Ohio's skilled workers should be building the solar panels, the fuel cells, and the wind turbines that go into the production of alternative energy.
In April 2009, I convened a roundtable on manufacturing and climate change in Perrysburg. Joining me were leaders from Ohio's energy intensive manufacturing industries -- many of whom will play an important role in rebuilding Ohio's manufacturing base while protecting our environment at the same time.
During the roundtable, we discussed how Ohio businesses have the technologies to use our natural resources to create markets for clean energy manufacturing, which can stabilize our nation's energy supply and reduce green house gases.
With the right investments, the right partnerships with private business and government, and with the support of Congress, we can turn Ohio into the Silicon Valley of Clean Energy manufacturing. Our state can lead the way to energy independence and begin a real and substantive effort to address global climate change.
Lake Erie is one of Ohio's crown jewels. From Put-In-Bay to the Port of Toledo to the vineyards of Ashtabula County, the lake is both a recreational center and a vital economic asset for the state. As a member of the Great Lakes Task Force, I am actively involved in ensuring that this invaluable resource is protected and continues to thrive.
While the health of the lake has improved over the years, more needs to be done. Invasive species are an ongoing--and serious--problem. We have spent billions of dollars to combat the spread of the zebra mussel and plants like flowering rush, but it has not been enough. We must also continue to be vigilant in regulating the discharge of ballast water by boats coming into the Great Lakes from other bodies of water, and I am hopeful that legislation addressing these interrelated problems will soon be addressed by Congress.