Greeting from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi upon Receiving the Environmental Leadership Award from Bluewater Network
September 10, 2004
San Francisco - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today upon receiving the Environmental Leadership Award from the Bluewater Network:
"Thank you to the Bluewater Network for presenting me with your Environmental Leadership Award. It has been my great pleasure over the course of many years to work in concert with Russell Long and Bluewater Network to protect the environment, and I will treasure this award.
"Unfortunately, pressing matters in Congress and my role as Democratic Leader prevent me from being with you in person tonight to celebrate the great work we have done and successes we have had together.
"To name just a few examples, in 1998 Bluewater Network sought my assistance in ensuring stronger regulation of the use of personal watercraft, usually known as jet skis, in national parks. The National Park Service was in the process of developing new regulations to control the use of jet skis, which as you all know can be harmful to wildlife and unpleasant to park visitors because of the pollution and noise that they emit.
"I wrote Bruce Babbitt, then Secretary of the Interior, in support of stronger regulation of jet skis. Unfortunately, after a detailed back-and-forth discussion with the Park Service, the new regulations were not strong enough, because they exempted 21 parks from the ban on jet skis.
"But Bluewater Network did not give up the fight. You took it to the courts, and you achieved a major victory. The remaining 21 parks were also required to ban jet skis, unless they went through a rulemaking process and came to the conclusion that personal watercraft would not harm the parks. The fight is not over: the Bush Administration is allowing jet skis in some parks. And together we will continue the fight.
"We also worked together on Bluewater's historic effort to pass the world's first legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles. Members of the California Democratic Congressional delegation and I wrote to then-Governor Davis and the State Legislature supporting this crucial effort which began in California and we expect will spread nationwide.
"And together we succeeded in bringing clean ferries to San Francisco Bay. Thanks to Bluewater Network, the San Francisco Bay Area Water Transit Authority is in the development stage for a fuel cell-powered ferry that will set the standard for the entire world. I was proud to help obtain $100,000 in the 2002 Transportation Appropriations Bill for the fuel cell ferry project, and another $2.5 million in 2003. I look forward to the day we come together again to celebrate the launch of that ferry.
"Sadly, there is not much to celebrate these days on the national level when it comes to the environment. The Republican leadership in Congress is relentlessly anti-environmental. It has rammed through massive tax cuts that ensure that environmental initiatives are left unfunded or under funded, and they prevent good environmental legislation from coming to the House floor.
"Meanwhile, President Bush has engaged in a relentless assault on the environment from the moment he took office. Quietly but quickly, he is rolling back 30 years of bipartisan environmental progress.
"After years of giving lip service to upholding the Roadless Rule while consistently working to undermine it, the Bush Administration has finally admitted that it has no intention of protecting our national forests. Having repeatedly failed to defend the regulations in court - in fact agreeing with the rule's opponents - and having already exempted Alaska's magnificent forests from protection, the Bush Administration is now throwing the door wide open to unlimited exploitation of national forests in every state.
"Last year, the Bush Administration issued proposed regulations on controlling mercury from power plants that would put off real reductions for years to come. The Bush regulations probably are not legal under the Clean Air Act, but the main goal of the polluters is to simply to delay.
"The Administration has also proposed regulations to remove millions of acres of wetlands and streams from protection under the Clean Water Act. The list of rollbacks goes on and on. There are literally hundreds.
"In San Francisco, the environment is a core value, not just an issue, and we are privileged to have so many outstanding national leaders on the environment, and so many committed residents.
"I salute Bluewater Network and your visionary founder for your ongoing campaigns to prevent global warming, clean up cruise ships, and protect public lands. With a small but energetic staff, and many loyal supporters, you are making a difference in the Bay Area, the United States, and the world.
"Together, we will fight for an Administration and a Congress that are committed to protecting our health and to preserving our most precious natural resources. It is our shared responsibility, a global responsibility, and I am proud to say that San Franciscans and Bluewater Network are leading the way."