Climate Action, Energy, and Environment
Addressing climate change is the greatest imperative of our time. The stakes are enormous for our environment, our economy, and our planet. Confronting climate change will require major investments in infrastructure, new technologies, well-paying jobs, and energy independence. Pursuing these projects will not only make progress on climate change- they will also make our country stronger, healthier, and more prosperous. As a climate leader and an original cosponsor of the Green New Deal resolution, these priorities are front and center in all my work for California’s Second District.
Thankfully, California has already taken bold steps to combat climate change, proving that climate leadership and economic prosperity can go hand in hand. I have worked on these issues since my time in the state legislature and am committed to advancing many of our proven California strategies at the federal level and doing even more.
In August 2022, Democrats and President Joe Biden had a major victory in the fight against climate change by signing the Inflation Reduction Act into law. This law is by far the most ambitious climate and clean energy legislation in U.S. history, with $370 billion for building a clean energy economy, cutting consumer energy costs, combating the climate crisis, advancing environmental justice, and enhancing climate resilience. This law also leans in on ensuring communities are prepared for climate impacts already here, by funding coastal resilience, drought mitigation, and tools to help communities make science-backed decisions.
Another transformative win for climate action under Democratic leadership is our Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act. This law delivers record support for upgrading the power grid to transmit more clean energy and withstand extreme weather, building a nationwide network of electric vehicle chargers, expanding public transit and passenger rail, investing in drought and wildfire preparedness, and cleaning up legacy pollution.
In the 116th and 117th Congresses, I served on the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis where my colleagues and I created a comprehensive Climate Crisis Action Plan, informed by years of work. This plan has served as a roadmap for members of Congress across all jurisdictions as we create policy that will build a greener, better future and will continue to be a guidepost in the years to come. To close out the 117th Congress and our work on the committee, we released a final report, which highlights our many wins and gives us a roadmap for the future of climate action in Congress. A two pager on the report can be found here.
Divesting from Fossil Fuels:
Ensuring a transition to clean energy and getting off the planet-killing fossil fuel roller coaster is one of the most important things we can do to combat climate change.
I joined Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley in introducing the Sustainable International Financial Institutions Act of 2021, which would tackle the problem of international financial institutions helping to finance fossil fuel projects that are accelerating climate chaos. We also teamed up with Members of the European Parliament in a trans-Atlantic effort to transition to clean energy and prevent new liquified natural gas (LNG) infrastructure.
Science says that we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground to protect the planet for future generations, which is why I introduced the Keep It in the Ground Act to reduce carbon emissions and break our nation’s addiction to fossil fuels by permanently barring new fossil fuel leases on all federal public lands and in federal waters.
We are in the midst of a plastic pollution crisis that is fueling climate change and worsening environmental injustice. Plastic production and consumption are on track to double in the next decade if we don’t act now to change this trajectory. Petrochemical, plastic production, and waste incineration facilities, which are disproportionately located in, or near, and low-wealth communities, release harmful air and water pollution that cause increased incidences of asthma, cancers, endocrine disruption, development disorders, and heart disease. Transitioning off fossil fuels only to replace that demand with more fossil-based plastic production is not a sustainable solution and will continue to perpetuate existing climate and environmental justice harms.
I joined New Jersey’s U.S. Senator Cory Booker in introducing the Protecting Communities from Plastics Act of 2022, which would directly tackle the plastic pollution crisis by cracking down on the plastic production process, addressing the harmful environmental justice impacts of this growing sector, and moving our economy away from an overreliance on single-use plastics.
I am pushing the Biden administration to hold this polluting industry accountable. In July 2022 I co-led a letter with Sen. Cory Booker to the EPA calling on the agency to fully consider climate and environmental justice impacts of chemical recycling, or “advanced recycling” technologies in its rulemaking on those processes. My push led to Congress including concerns over this technology in the FY23 appropriations bill. I also led letters to President Biden on the importance of the U.S.’s leadership at home and abroad with plastics and to GSA on reducing plastic purchases by the federal government.
Cryptomining facilities not only undermine our efforts to fight the climate crisis, but can also create air, waste, and other pollution for nearby communities. Granting this industry impunity to inflict such environment harm runs counter to numerous federal policies, including accelerating energy efficiency, tackling the climate crisis, and reducing e-waste.
That’s why I have led the charge with Senator Elizabeth Warren to push for oversight into cryptocurrency’s environmental and energy impacts, particularly on communities near crypto mining operations. We’ve gathered a coalition of congressional colleagues to call on EPA Administrator Michael Regan to evaluate these facilities’ compliance with the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, sent letters to OSTP, EPA, and DOE to share our findings on cryptomining’s environmental impacts, and worked to uncover exactly how much crypto is impacting energy consumption, emissions, and costs for Texans. Additionally, Senator Ed Markey and I teamed up to introduce The Crypto-Asset Environmental Transparency Act to require cryptomining facilities to report their carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act, as well as require a detailed interagency study on crypto’s environmental impacts – taking the first step to pull the curtain back on this industry.
Environment and Natural Resources:
Across the country, the irresponsible exploitation of our natural resources endangers the climate, tribal communities, and local economies. Since joining Congress, I have championed local public lands protections through the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act. I’ve led the fight against the hazardous Pebble Mine proposal in Bristol Bay, Alaska and fossil fuel exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and off the California coast. Invasive oil and gas extraction is an existential threat to Native Communities and endangered wildlife, prompting me to introduce measures like the Polar Bear Cub Survival Act to safeguard these ecosystems from destruction.
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