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Energy, Environment and Water
George is the former chair of the House Natural Resources committee and is a recognized champion on behalf of California’s fresh water resources, a clean environment, and strong protections for our national parks and forests.
Climate Change and California Water Issues
George believes that we must act now to respond to the threat of climate change. Failure to do so will directly harm our children, threaten future generations, and weaken the economy. As President Obama said in his Second Inaugural Address, we can no longer ignore devastating fires, crippling drought, dangerous storms, and rising sea levels. George agrees. He is committed to reducing carbon pollution, preparing for the effects of climate change, and finding workable solutions. Because innovative energy policy can combat climate change and create new jobs, he supports legislation designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through renewable energy and more efficient cars, trucks, and buildings. George also believes that new Environmental Protection Agency regulations capping greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and a carbon tax are important steps to protect the environment and revitalize the economy.
As a long-standing recognized leader on California water issues, George believes that it is crucial to protect the health of the Bay-Delta ecosystem and restore the state’s once-thriving salmon fisheries. That is why George passed a historic federal water reform law requiring a balanced use of California’s water supplies and a federal requirement to protect and restore fisheries— a vital part of local economies along the West Coast. George believes that any current measure to ensure water reliability by the state must balance the health of the Delta with a reliable water supply to be successful. In solving California’s water issues, alternative water supplies like water recycling must be considered because these supplies can preserve river and groundwater supplies, create jobs, and drive innovative technologies.
Learn more about George’s views on energy, environment and natural resources issues below.
California Water Policy and the Bay Delta
George is a recognized leader on California water issues and the San Francisco Bay Delta. One of his top priorities in coming to Congress was to ensure the residents of Contra Costa County had access to clean and reliable sources of water. Then and now he is working to create a sustainable future for the San Francisco Bay Delta. In 1992, he authored the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, a historic California water reform law that requires the balanced use of our state’s scarce water supplies, including requiring the federal government to protect and restore salmon and other wild fisheries. Today, George insists on protecting the Bay Delta as an area of National significance, much like the Florida Everglades or the Chesapeake Bay.
George understands that the California water system is dramatically oversubscribed and has called for prompt and aggressive steps to protect the health of the Bay-Delta ecosystem and restore the state’s salmon fisheries. He supports the 2009 state law requiring statewide water solutions that reduce dependence on the Delta and balance the “co-equal goals” of a restored Bay-Delta ecosystem and a reliable water supply for California.
He has been closely monitoring the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) process, which he believes must meet those co-equal goals to be successful. He has called on local, state, and federal agencies to allow for adequate scientific study before implementing policy decisions.
In addition, George has led the effort in Congress to expand alternative water supplies in California and is a longstanding proponent of water recycling as a means of drought-proofing the state. Water recycling allows local water managers to treat wastewater and use the clean, recycled water for other uses. Water reuse and recycling projects help preserve river and groundwater supplies, create jobs, stretch water supplies, and drive the development of innovative technologies.
In 1992, Miller helped to put the tools for federal-local water recycling partnerships in place with the Reclamation Projects Authorization and Adjustment Act of 1992, which featured a provision now known simply as the “Title XVI” (Title 16) water recycling program. There are now several water recycling projects up and running in the Bay Area – read more about the Bay Area Recycled Water Coalition (BARWC), a partnership of fourteen San Francisco Bay Area water recycling agencies that proactively pursue highly leveraged, locally-managed projects that will help ensure the security of water supplies in the Bay-Delta region.
Climate Change and Renewable Energy
George is known in Congress for his commitment to the environment and to this country’s natural resources. He is committed to working with his colleagues in Congress to reduce carbon pollution, prepare for the effects of climate change, and find solutions to this increasingly serious problem. He believes that a strong commitment by the federal government and the private sector to curb global warming is necessary.
George knows we should focus on a new direction when it comes to energy policy – one that promotes energy independence, strengthens national security, lowers energy prices, and addresses the impacts of climate change. He knows that if done right, innovative energy policy creates new jobs, spawns industries, and at the same time reduces the impact of warming.
That’s why George supports legislation designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including through renewable energy and through more efficient cars, trucks, and buildings.
George is a long-time leader in Congress on wildlife, conservation, and other environmental issues. He led the effort, with Sen. Barbara Boxer, to create the highly successful “dolphin safe” label to allow consumers in the United States to purchase tuna that is harvested without harm to dolphin populations.
George authored legislation that became law in 2000 to provide federal funding for the Great Ape Conservation Program. The program, using matching private funds, has been directly responsible for numerous gains in great ape conservation around the world, including the discovery of the Cross River Gorilla, a subspecies previously thought to be extinct. The Program, and George’s support of it, has earned the praise of numerous organizations, including the Jane Goodall Institute. In 2010, he introduced legislation to strengthen the program. Read more about the Great Apes Program.
In 2007 and 2009, he introduced the Protect America’s Wildlife Act, or PAW Act with 105 bipartisan cosponsors, to protect wolves, bears, and other wildlife from the unethical, unscientific, and unsportsmanlike practice of airborne hunting. The PAW Act closes a loophole in the 1971 Airborne Hunting Act that outlawed airborne hunting across the nation. Alaska officials have exploited that loophole to permit individual hunters to shoot and kill more than 1,000 wolves using aircraft in the past six years. Read more about the PAW Act.