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Latest from Climate Champs in Congress

13 May 2016  |   Jacob Glasser

Tags: Environmental Champions, Climate Change, Congress

Champions in Congress have continued to make progress on important environmental policies that combat climate change. Here is a recap of their most recent efforts.      

Senators Barbara Boxer (CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Edward Markey (MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), and Cory Booker (NJ) stood up to attacks on climate action at recent hearing in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. They called out Big Polluters and their allies in Congress who receive money from corporate polluters and block efforts to protect communities from pollution and tackle climate change. 

More than 200 current and former members of Congress filed an amicus brief to demonstrate their support of the EPA’s landmark Clean Power Plan. They joined a growing coalition of public health experts, faith leaders, cities, states, former EPA Administrators and others to argue that this regulation remains consistent with the Clean Air Act.  

Senator Harry Reid (NV) wrote an op-ed calling for continued investment in tax incentives for renewable energy and their importance to the state of Nevada. 

Senator Michael Bennet (CO), a strong supporter of wind energy incentives, welcomed the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) 2015 market report showing that the “U.S. wind energy now supports 88,000 well-paying American jobs, a 20 percent increase over 2014.” 

Senator Ben Cardin (MD) and Representative John Delaney (MD-6) led 145 members of Congress on a letter to President Obama in strong support of global action on climate change and the U.S. signing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Paris Agreement. 

LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld joined Senators Barbara Boxer (CA), Martin Heinrich (NM), Ed Markey (MA), Brian Schatz (HI), Next Gen and Clean Water Action to rally support for the Senate Republican leadership to do its job and hold a hearing and a vote on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. The courts play a significant role in our right to breath clean air, drink healthy water, and provide future generations with a healthy planet. 

Representatives Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Doris Matsui (CA-6), and Paul Tonko (NY-20), co-chairs of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), wrote an op-ed on Earth Day to celebrate the climate victories made by the US government, including the Paris Climate Agreement, Clean Power Plan, methane regulations, rejection of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and extension of clean energy tax credits. 

Representative Mike Quigley’s (IL-5) speech on the house floor highlighted the benefits of investing in clean energy to the environment and the economy. 

House Democrats, including Representatives Raul Grijalva (AZ-3), Dan Kildee (MI-5), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Stacey Plaskett (VI), Jared Huffman (CA-2), and Xavier Becerra (CA-34), released a video on Earth Day calling for Republicans to take action on climate change, clean water, and clean air. 

Representative Jared Polis (CO-2) proposed a bill to invest in small scale solar energy development, which would lead to not only reduced carbon pollution but also long term job growth.  

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) has continued to give his weekly “Time to Wake Up” speeches on the Senate floor to urge Senators to take action on climate change. One of his most recent speeches focused on the impact climate change will have on our ocean habitats and coral reefs. Another speech called out big polluters for saying one thing on climate change and then doing another. Charles Koch, for example, is now admitting climate change is real and made worse by humans, but is continues to spend large amounts of money to block all action. 

Senator Brian Schatz (HI) led on an amendment which received bipartisan support for increasing funding for clean energy research by nearly $150 million over five years. 

Senator Al Franken’s (MN) remarks in a Senate Energy Committee hearing reminded his colleagues that climate change is a serious crisis backed by science, and that if we don’t cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, future generations will not be able to enjoy a healthy planet. 

Senator Barbara Boxer (CA) wrote an op-ed discussing her new bill, the Climate Change Adapt America Bond Act, to help fight climate change through issuing bonds. The bill is based on the World War II war bonds program and would give the Treasury Department the authority to issue up to $200 million each year in Climate Change Bonds which Americans can buy. She wrote another op-ed with Representative Doris Matsui (CA-6) supporting larger investments throughout the country in clean energy to strengthen the economy and combat climate change.

We greatly appreciate the hard work of our congressional champions and look forward to working with them to foster further pro-environment action in Congress. 

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