Protecting the Environment
California’s 14th Congressional District faces immense losses and exorbitant costs if we don’t take immediate action to address the climate crisis. Sea level rise alone is projected to cost San Mateo over $39 billion over the next 50 to 100 years, and the Bay Area is not alone. As temperatures rise, the world will suffer from more extreme weather, rising sea levels, and an increase of airborne illnesses. Unless we take bold action, climate change will continue to cost countless lives and billions of dollars, produce a devastating loss of wildlife and species, generate climate-related migration, and destroy economies.
Given the dire threat of climate change, Congresswoman Speier believes that the United States must take radical action to become carbon neutral within the next ten years. She supports H.Res. 109, which calls on Congress to create a Green New Deal to meet critical emissions goals and invest in sustainable infrastructure. She also strongly opposes the President’s short-sighted and harmful withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. Rep. Speier was proud to vote for H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act, which would block funding from being used to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and require the Trump Administration to develop a national strategy for meeting the Paris Agreement’s goals.
Congresswoman Speier serves on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on Environment, which conducts oversight of climate change, natural disasters, public lands, air and water quality, oceans, and international agreements. She uses this platform to illuminate shortcomings in our federal response to disaster-stricken areas, explore the impact of climate change on disaster readiness, and conduct oversight of PFAS contamination. Congresswoman Speier also consistently votes against legislation to roll back environmental protections.
In recognition of the need to stimulate innovation in clean energy technology, Congresswoman Speier co-leads H.R. 2040, the Clean Energy Production Parity Act. This bill would bring investment tax incentives for linear generators, which have the potential to convert fuels into electricity with low emissions, in line with those for fuel cells. She believes that history will remember us by how we respond to climate change and will continue to push for a clean energy economy.
Part of the shift toward renewable energy and the elimination of our reliance on fossil fuel will be the transition from emissions-producing internal-combustion vehicles to zero-emissions electric vehicles. To supercharge the adoption and production of electric vehicles here in the United States, Congresswoman Speier introduced the Affordable American-Made Automobiles Act, which would provide incentives for drivers to purchase electric vehicles and for domestic battery cell production—the future of clean transportation.
Our District includes two of the historically most productive fisheries in the country: salmon and Dungeness crab. Salmon from the Central Valley Delta migrate out to the Pacific Ocean where they spend three years before returning to the delta. Dungeness crab are a delicacy especially around the holiday season. Commercial and recreational fishermen, related businesses and restaurants rely on these fisheries and form the character of coastal communities. Both fisheries have faced existential challenges. In 2008, salmon populations collapsed and the fishing seasons of through 2009 were entirely shut down. In 2015, commercial and recreational Dungeness crab and rock crab fisheries were forced to close due to high levels of domoic acid. The increased level of the neurotoxin was linked to an unprecedentedly large toxic algal bloom along the West Coast. The salmon fishery valued at $1.4 billion a year and the Dungeness crab fishery valued at $60 million a year are crucial to the coastal economy of central and northern California. Closed and restricted fishing seasons have inflicted lasting economic damage on the industry.
Following Governor Brown’s 2015 disaster declaration, Congresswoman Speier repeatedly urged the federal government to take action and provide much-needed federal aid. Additionally, Congresswoman Speier and Congressman Huffman introduced the Crab Emergency Disaster Assistance Act of 2016, which would have appropriated $138.15 million for disaster assistance to California Dungeness and rock crab fishermen and related businesses. Conditions remain very difficult and Congresswoman Speier will continue to support our fishing communities to ensure that they can stay in business, recoup their losses, and continue to supply consumers with fresh, delicious, and healthy seafood.