Our nation’s natural resources and open spaces must be preserved for current and future generations. No Rhode Islander can live in our great state without developing an appreciation for nature, and we are particularly fortunate to have access to the Narragansett Bay, beaches, parks, forests, and other impressive natural areas. In the tradition of environmental respect with which Rhode Islanders are raised, I have been working in Congress to protect our natural resources so that all Americans may experience their benefits. This includes cosponsoring H.R.706, a bill to establish the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park, which will be dedicated to John H. Chafee, and championing legislation to preserve and enhance the Wood Pawcatuck Watershed. I am pleased that my bill, the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Protection Act, passed the House of Representatives in June 2013. It could pave the way for making our rivers eligible for federal funds and protections under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
Improve the quality of our air
No American should have to breathe polluted air. In order to reduce the levels of harmful emissions contributing to air pollution, I opposed Republican efforts to gut EPA regulations of mercury and other toxins. Furthermore, I have supported legislation that would require 20 percent of our nation's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020.
Address global climate change
Human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, have increased atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, leading to global warming. Rising sea levels could endanger the Rhode Islanders living along our 400 miles of coastline, while beach erosion would make our communities more prone to flooding and harm our tourism-based economy. Additionally, the related destruction of wetlands would eradicate wildlife habitats - particularly for migratory birds - and reduce the natural buffer against storm surges. As a member of Congress, I strongly advocate policies that will reduce our global emissions while creating opportunities to support emerging industries ripe with technological innovation and job creation.
Keep our water safe and clean
Since the Bush Administration changed an important rule in 2002, mining companies engaging in mountaintop removal have been able to dump their waste into nearby streams. Some streams wind up buried forever while others can be contaminated by the pyrite often found in coal residue. The broad nature of the rule change also means that other industries including construction and hard rock mining could begin dumping their fill into our nation’s waters. I support going back to the original definition, used by the EPA for 25 years, and have been an original cosponsor of the Clean Water Protection Act, which would codify this change. I am also a co-sponsor of the Closing Loopholes and Ending Arbitrary and Needless Evasion of Regulations (CLEANER) Act. The bill would close the loophole in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, better known as RCRA, that exempts all fracking waste from safe disposal requirements. The CLEANER Act eliminates the 33 year old RCRA loophole and requires the fracking industry to dispose of their waste safely, protecting public health and the environment from harm.
Conserve our public lands and resources
To prevent our natural habitats from being spoiled due to production and development, I oppose oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This environmentally sensitive area could be irreparably harmed by drilling, and I feel that we should explore other options for increased energy production. Furthermore, I support full funding for programs such as the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has helped preserve many sites of environmental, cultural and historic value in Rhode Island.
Ten Things You Can Do to Conserve Energy and Fight Global Warming
- Change a light
Replacing one regular light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb will save 150 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
- Drive less
Walk, bike, carpool or take mass transit more often. You'll save one pound of carbon dioxide for every mile you don't drive!
- Recycle more
You can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide per year by recycling just half of your household waste.
- Check your tires
Keeping your tires inflated properly can improve gas mileage by more than 3%. Every gallon of gasoline saved keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere!
- Use less hot water
It takes a lot of energy to heat water. Use less hot water by installing a low flow showerhead (350 pounds of CO2 saved per year) and washing your clothes in cold or warm water (500 pounds saved per year).
- Avoid products with a lot of packaging
You can save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide if you cut down your garbage by 10%.
- Adjust your thermostat
Move your thermostat down just 2 degrees in winter and up 2 degrees in summer. You could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple adjustment.
- Plant a tree
A single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime.
- Turn off electronic devices
Simply turning off your television, DVD player, stereo, and computer when you're not using them will save you thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
- Spread the word and encourage others around you to do the same!
(Suggestions from http://www.climatecrisis.net)