We have a sacred duty to preserve our natural environment and pass it to our children in better shape than we found it.
Whenever I am home in the district, I spend as much time as possible outdoors. The Fourth District offers nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts no shortage of places to explore. There are many miles of Long Island Sound shoreline beaches, from Tod’s Point to Calf Pasture to Seaside Park; and hundreds of acres of forests with trails to hike. When I spend time in these places, I leave with a renewed sense of gratitude. We can’t put them at risk.
All Americans need clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and food that is grown and harvested in a sustainable way. Protecting the environment is not a partisan issue.
The Long Island Sound and the surrounding watershed are a national treasure and an economic boon. The forests and wooded hills of Southwest Connecticut are among the most beautiful in New England, thanks to the vigilance of generations of dedicated citizens.
Since coming to Congress, I have remained champion for the environment, consistently voting for laws that keep our air, water and land clean. My vote in favor of the Public Land Management Act helped protect more than two million new acres of wilderness and parks nationwide. My co-sponsorship of bills such as the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2019 provides needed funding for the conservation and restoration of Native American wildlife preserves. My bill, the National Green Bank Act of 2019, sets to establish the U.S. Green Bank to finance climate change mitigation and adaptation projects at the state and local level by capitalizing regional, state, and municipal green banks.
I am also a leader in the continued efforts to secure support for Long Island Sound conservation programs, including clean river and harbor projects in Stamford, Norwalk and Greenwich. I helped secure an Urban Waters Small Grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to research and improve marine water quality at the Norwalk public beaches. This funding will protect the Sound and ensure safe, clean water for our families to enjoy. Most recently, I voted to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Act in July 2020. This particular act will help protect, develop and redevelop public lands such as Mill River Park in Stamford.
Combating Climate Change & Promoting Storm Resiliency
We have seen too many examples in recent years of the ravages of climate change. Scientists and experts agree that climate change will continue to be the cause of rising sea levels, prolonged droughts and dangerously strong storms, like Super Storm Sandy. While the Paris Climate Agreement provides a path forward for the global community, the victories in the fight against climate change have been few and far between. I spend much of my time in Congress simply trying to fight the rollback and repeal of existing environmental protections and laws.
Any plan to combat climate change must include a reduction in our dependence on fossil fuels. I look forward to the time when dirty energy is a thing of the past. Affordable solar energy, wind turbines, alternative sources of fuel – all of these green sources of energy are at our fingertips. The coal communities are not to be forgotten, however – in 2019, I co-sponsored a bill that expands the uses of the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund to provide support for the economic revitalization, diversification, and development in economically distressed mining communities. Specifically, this bill has created specified funds available to the Department of the Interior through FY2024 for distribution to states and Native American tribes for reclaiming and restoring abandoned mine lands and waters in such communities affected by coal mining carried out before August 3, 1977.
I am firmly committed to supporting the green energy economy, and I believe that American entrepreneurs are uniquely poised to be leaders in that field.
Supporting Local Environmental Initiatives
Some of the most exciting new “greentrepreneurs” are hard at work right here in Connecticut. Eemax makes state-of-the-art, on demand water heaters that reduce homeowners’ energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint. Eemax exports its products, and I support the tax credits and free trade agreements that help companies like Eemax grow – because their growth brings jobs to the state and a cleaner environment. Everybody wins.
Connecticut residents will soon be heating their homes and powering their businesses with greener energy, too. Bridgeport Biodiesel recycles cooking oil from local restaurants, and instead of pouring the grease down the drain, they turn it into home heating fuel. Bridgeport Biodiesel’s refined cooking oil is a viable, valuable source of energy for heating homes – and a source of jobs, too, in Connecticut’s largest city.
These examples are just two of so many innovators who are looking to solve old problems with smarter thinking. I pledge my support and my partnership to people like them, and I look forward to the day when we take for granted that business as usual and conservation aren’t mutually exclusive.