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Public Statements

Issue Position: Energy and Environment

Issue Position

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I share a deep appreciation for the natural environment and am greatly concerned about the dangers of climate change. That is why I am committed to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, promoting policies that keep our air and water clean, protecting our environment through conservation, and working to connect communities with the outdoors.

Because of my work on these issues I received a 100% lifetime rating by the League of Conservation Voters. My priorities to protect America's environment include:

Protecting the San Gabriel Valley's Natural Resources
Defending Clean Air and Water, and Public Lands
Supporting Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Creating Green Jobs
Opposing Reckless Exploitation of Our Natural Resources

Protecting the San Gabriel Valley's Natural Resources

The San Gabriel Mountains are, for many, the only place that the two million, urbanized residents of the San Gabriel Valley can go to hike, camp, and enjoy the outdoors. These rugged mountains provide over 70% of LA County's open space and host over 3 million visitors a year. That's almost as many as major national parks like Yosemite and the Grand Canyon!

But as beautiful as these mountains are, they are in critical need of support and assistance, and are lacking safe and proper facilities, clean up efforts, and educational programs. San Gabriel Valley residents and environmental groups have pushed for additional conservation, resources and park facilities in the Mountains and throughout the San Gabriel River Watershed to protect the few natural resources we have left and expand recreational opportunities throughout the region.

My efforts to protect San Gabriel Valley's natural resources include:

* Expanding federal resources and protections for the San Gabriel Mountains. In response to legislation introduced by former Rep. Hilda Solis, the National Parks Service commissioned a special resource study of the San Gabriel River Watershed and the San Gabriel Mountains. A strong supporter of the National Parks, I am continuing to work to ensure the prompt completion of the National Park's study and I have urged for a comprehensive National Recreation Area to provide additional protection and resources for the San Gabriel Mountains.

* Revitalizing the San Gabriel Watershed. For decades, the San Gabriel River has quietly performed essential flood protection, drinking water recharge and storm water conservation functions. Residents have expressed a growing desire to rediscover the river and offer more of its benefits to all the communities along its route. That's why I introduced the San Gabriel Watershed Restoration Act (H.R. 4200) in the 111th Congress to study how we can improve the river and expand its use. The study would look at revitalizing the San Gabriel River Watershed, focusing on ecosystem restoration, outdoor recreation enhancements, and ways to conserve rainwater and keep our water clean.

I have also cosponsored legislation to protect and preserve nature, in line with President Obama's Great Outdoors America initiative.

* The Angeles and San Bernardino National Forest Protection Act of 2011 (H.R. 113) protects additional wilderness under the Cucamonga and Sheep Mountain Wilderness Areas in the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests in California. This designation would protect those areas from certain activities in order to keep these last remaining lands wild.
* The National Forest Roadless Area Conservation Act of 2011 (H.R. 3465) conserves 58.5 million acres of pristine wild forests by making law the Roadless Area Conservation Rule to preserve wild lands while still allowing certain commercial activities and providing abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Defending Clean Air, Water, and Public Lands

I am continually pressing House leadership and the Administration in support of robust air and water pollution standards called by the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. I am a champion in Washington, D.C. for Los Angeles River revitalization as well.

This Congress, the House of Representatives has pushed through legislation attacking the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) authority to protect Americans from pollution under the Clean Air and Water Acts.

Pollutants in the air significantly threaten public health and the environment. They seep into water sources, contaminating the water people drink and the fish people eat. Reducing pollution in our air and water will lead to trillions in savings because of fewer healthcare costs and lost work days, less environmental cleanup, and less environmental damage down the line. It also creates jobs as more equipment is needed as facilities upgrade. That is why I have spoken out numerous times against these anti-environmental bills and policy riders, and opposed the following legislation:

* The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for 2012 (H.R. 2354) set a new record for anti-environmental attacks. This bill sought to declassify endangered species, open the Grand Canyon to uranium mining, and strip regulations that limit air and water pollution.
* The Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2012 (H.R. 2584) went above and beyond to hurt the environment. This bill sought to gut the Land and Water Conservation Fund, abolish the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) Climate Service, and stop the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that could create 1.5 million American jobs.
* The EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 (H.R. 2250) that repeals EPA rules to limit mercury pollution. This bill repeals the existing EPA rules on industrial boilers and incinerators to reduce the levels of mercury and other toxic air pollutants that they release. This subjects Americans to air toxins and billions in increased healthcare costs, days of school and work missed, and bureaucratic waste.
* Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (H.R. 2273) rolls back EPA authority to address toxic pollution from coal ash. This bill cuts off the EPA's rule-making process after years of study and public commentary. It eliminates the EPA's authority to set standards for managing coal ash produced by industrial activity, which contains many dangerous carcinogens and neurotoxins like mercury, arsenic, and lead.

Supporting Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Creating Clean Energy Jobs

I am committed to supporting clean energy development in America, and have made the switch to reduce my own impact on our environment and energy security by driving a hybrid vehicle.

The U.S. pioneered many of the clean energy technologies -- like wind and solar -- that are growing around the world. Now, we need to reinstate our leadership in this cutting-edge field to help rebuild our economy and create new, skilled jobs, spur energy savings for American families, and reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil. Even our Department of Defense has recognized that we cannot afford to let the Green Revolution pass us by.

I support modernizing our electric grid in order to manage our energy usage more intelligently and efficiently, and incorporating greater energy efficiency into our buildings and build materials. I also support incentives for clean technologies, research, and innovation so that we can achieve meaningful breakthroughs that will make clean energy affordable and available to all Americans. And I support building a robust, competitive clean energy workforce.

That is why I am cosponsoring:

* The Security in Energy and Manufacturing Act (H.R. 724, or the SEAM Act) to encourage clean energy manufacturing. This bill would extend and improve the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit program by providing a 30% tax credit for the creation of new manufacturing facilities that produce clean energy components.
* The Renewable Energy Partnerships (REAP) Act (H.R. 288) helps train the Green Collar workforce of tomorrow. This bill offers renewable energy workforce training grants to partnerships between community colleges and four-year institutions to help a new generation join the 3.1 million-American-strong clean energy economy, and bring America back into the lead globally.

Opposing Reckless Exploitation of Our Natural Resources

Healthy oceans are an integral part of a healthy environment. Our oceans and coasts are also major contributors to our economy, food supply, and recreation opportunities for local communities and visitors alike. In California, our active coastline is one of our greatest natural treasures, and a critical source of business through trade, tourism, and fishing.

That is why I have consistently opposed offshore oil drilling in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic waters around the United States. These are fragile yet volatile environments where oil spill mitigation is most difficult and no measures are currently in place to provide a rapid, adequate response in an emergency. An oil spill in the Pacific would ravage our shipping and fishing lanes, and oil on our shores would cripple our booming tourist economy.

Likewise, new or expanded oil drilling into protected public lands like the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge would hurt communities that thrive off a robust tourist economy, and destroy priceless American landscapes, for which we are renowned.

I believe in exploring alternatives, instead of oil, and I believe America has the ingenuity to lead the way.


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