Energy and Environment
Ensuring Americans have access to reliable, affordable, and environmentally sustainable energy supplies in the coming decades will be a tremendous challenge, but it also provides many opportunities for innovation, economic growth, and green jobs.
I have worked throughout my service in Congress to clean up the environment, protect our remaining wilderness areas, preserve our planet’s wildlife, and facilitate the adoption of more sustainable, less environmentally harmful energy supplies and technology.
PRESERVING WILDLIFE AND WILDERNESS: I have repeatedly voted to prevent logging in roadless areas of our national forests to ensure they are protected for generations to come. I have voted against opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Great Lakes to oil exploration. I have opposed efforts to gut the Endangered Species Act, and I have supported national and international efforts to promote biodiversity and protect endangered species from poachers and smugglers.
FIGHTING POLLUTION: I have consistently fought against weakening the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. I have voted against Bush Administration efforts to weaken restrictions on arsenic in our drinking water. I have opposed efforts to weaken the federal toxic release inventory, and I have supported efforts to strengthen the standards on which toxic releases must be reported to the federal government. In addition, I have voted repeatedly against bills that would allow exemptions to environmental protection laws for various government agencies.
DEVELOPING GREEN ENERGY: I have been working to enact federal policies to promote conservation, energy efficiency, greater reliance on alternative and renewable sources of energy, and a significant reduction in greenhouse gases. I support massive federal investments in the research and development of alternative energy technology that will greatly decrease the global warming gas emissions and toxic byproducts of our power plants and vehicles. I have strongly supported increases in the Department of Energy's research and development budget to help fund the development of technologies that produce energy but have little or no emissions as a byproduct. In fact, I am a co-chairman of the Distributed Generation Caucus and a member of the Fuel Cell Caucus.
CLEANING UP OUR COMMUNITIES: I have worked hard throughout my service in Congress to provide the tools that rustbelt communities like ours need to clean up and redevelop “brownfields” – old industrial sites. I have also worked to substantially expand federal assistance for water infrastructure improvements – and to provide federal assistance to Allegheny County communities for bringing their outdated, undersized sewers into compliance with federal anti-pollution laws.
CLIMATE CHANGE: In the 111th Congress (2009-2010), I worked closely with Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey to put together legislation (HR 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act) that would have reduced the emissions of global warming gases by 80 percent by the year 2050. This bill would have created millions of new clean energy jobs, saved consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs, and enhanced America's energy independence - while ensuring that our economy was not damaged and that America didn't "go it alone."
The American Clean Energy and Security Act was approved by the House in 2009, but it died in the Senate at the end of the 111th Congress. With the change in control over the House there is little chance that similar legislation will be approved any time soon, but I will continue to support efforts to curb global climate change.