Since being sworn into office, I have been a relentless advocate on behalf of the environment. Recently, I introduced two amendments to highlight the public health and economic costs of two separate Republican sponsored bills that would further weaken the Clean Air Act and remove additional oversight authority from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
I worked with Rep. Russ Carnahan (MO-3) and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) to introduce bicameral legislation to promote green infrastructure designed to address stormwater management in a way that enhances the natural environment and is economically cost-effective. H.R. 2030, the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act of 2011, would establish up to five Centers of Excellence charged with conducting research on green infrastructure that is relevant to the geographic region in which the center is located, and provide communities with training and technical assistance on how to implement green infrastructure best management practices. The legislation would also provide funding to help communities develop green infrastructure technologies.
I also joined with Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) to introduce a bipartisan bill that will improve air quality around infrastructure projects by making it easier and more cost-effective to upgrade construction equipment to meet diesel soot emissions standards. The legislation will help states reduce pollution within their borders and beyond, and will create jobs in environmental technology. Under H.R. 3122, the Clean Construction Act of 2011, contractors working on federal transportation infrastructure projects in regions of the country that are not in compliance with federal air quality standards will be allowed to use a portion of the budget to reduce pollution from their older diesel-powered equipment. The bill aims to achieve a priority set in the last surface transportation authorization by expanding access to federal dollars under existing transportation programs for diesel engine ungrades. Diesel fuel powers most heavy machinery and vehicles used on construction sites.
I have also been an outspoken proponent of cleaning and protecting the Chesapeake Bay and her tributaries, working with other Members from the Maryland Delegation and neighboring states to ensure funding for programs to reduce pollutants in water run-off, and to restore the oyster population and other vital indicator species in the Bay. The Chesapeake Bay is a local and national treasure that must be protected as we nurture it back to health.
As a lifelong supporter of environmental protections, I am concerned about recent setbacks in environmental policies affecting our air, water, land, and the global climate. The acceleration of legislation in the House to gut environmental regulations shows a tendency to promote the interests of industry over environmental protection. Despite this disturbing trend, I am committed to working to preserve our environment and respond to these ongoing attacks against the environment.