In the last century, two Republican presidents helped lay the foundation of our country's commitment to protecting the environment. President Teddy Roosevelt proposed a network of National Parks, allowing generations to enjoy pristine American wilderness. President Nixon signed the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts into law, improving the quality of life for all Americans and preventing incalculable damage to the health of our people and our economy.
All Americans need clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. We enjoy the fruits of healthy soil and recreation in outdoor places. Protecting our environment shouldn't be a partisan cause, because responsible stewardship is an American value. We used to understand that. In fact, two Republican presidents – Teddy Roosevelt and Richard Nixon - helped lay the foundation of our country's commitment to protecting the environment.
Each generation inherits the responsibility to preserve our environment for the next, and I am deeply committed to continuing this promise.
Protecting our Land, Air and Water
Long Island Sound and its watershed are national treasures. I love spending time on the beaches from Greenwich to Bridgeport. The wooded, rolling hills of Southwest Connecticut define the character of many of our towns and have been protected by generations of dedicated citizens.
The Housatonic River, seen from Webb Mountain in Monroe
In Congress, I have consistently support legislation to keep our air, water and land clean. I'm proud of my stellar ratings from the League of Conservation Voters (my 2011 rating was 97%). I helped protect more than two million new acres of wilderness and parks nationwide with my vote for the Public Land Management Act, the most significant conservation bill in decades. I led the effort to secure support for Long Island Sound conservation programs, including clean river and harbor projects in Stamford, Norwalk and Greenwich. And I have resisted efforts in this Congress to strip away the environmental protections we all enjoy, voting against proposals to allow pesticides to be dumped in our water or toxic emissions to be pumped into the sky.
Businesses in Connecticut, including our tourism industry and fisheries like Hillard Bloom Shellfish in Norwalk, rely on a clean environment for their economic vitality. We protect our health and we protect jobs when we protect the environment.
Combating Global Climate Change and Powering the Future
Scientists agree that climate change will be the cause of violent storms, rising sea levels and extended droughts. Climate change costs money and lives.
To help combat global climate change, over time, we must reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Not only will we reduce our dependence on oil imported from unstable parts of the world, but we’ll improve our economy and environment. Decades from now, will we still be producing dirty energy? I don't think we have to. I envision a world powered by affordable solar energy, better wind turbines and alternative fuels. To me, the question is: who will produce the revolutionary technology to bring that to fruition? I want to see American entrepreneurs usher in the era of clean energy and create the millions of domestic jobs that entails. I intend to work to make the United States of America the envy of the world's green energy economy.
Supporting Local Environmental Initiatives
We're beginning to see all sorts of innovation that helps us keep the environment clean right here in Connecticut.
In Oxford, a company called Eemax makes state-of-art, on-demand water heaters that cut down homeowners' energy bills while reducing their carbon footprint. It's a brilliant win-win proposition, and helping Eemax grow means more Connecticut jobs and a cleaner environment. The company exports its products to more than 30 nations. I support the tax credits, free trade agreements and that help companies like Eemax grow, providing a better, greener way to heat water in homes across America and throughout the world.
Businesses and homeowners across Connecticut will be heating their homes with greener energy soon, too. Bridgeport Biodiesel recently began recycling cooking oil from local restaurants and turning it into home heating fuel. The grease is no longer poured down the drain. Instead, restaurants make money selling something they would have thrown away. Bridgeport Biodiesel's refined cooking oil produces a viable source of energy for heating homes – and jobs in Fairfield County's biggest city.
Those are just two examples of new ways to tackle old problems with greener, smarter thinking. I support policies to foster the innovative approaches we need to make sure we fulfill our promise to protect and preserve the environment while supporting new jobs and economic growth.
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