Protecting Our Environment
I am proud to say that I have consistently earned a 100 percent rating from the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters in their evaluation of my voting record. I also received the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter’s Public Policy Award for helping to secure federal funds for the Santa Monica Mountains.
Leading on Combatting Climate Change
In 2017, President Trump announced his intent to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement – a landmark accord signed by 195 countries to mitigate climate change. While this decision is certainly disappointing, I and other like-minded leaders are redoubling our efforts to fight global warming. If the President refuses to lead America in fighting climate change, then it will be up to states, cities, and private companies to assume the mantle of protecting our climate and environment.
In California, we continue to see the effects of climate change in record-breaking heat waves, intense storms, and rampant wildfires. I am pleased that California Governor Jerry Brown continues to be a leader around the world on climate change policies, including agreeing to join the Under Two Coalition formed between California and Baden-Württemberg, Germany in 2015 to limit the increase in global average temperatures to below two degrees Celsius. What started between two regions has grown to include 170 jurisdictions on six continents, and represents more than 1.18 billion people.
Blocking Attempts to Drill in California
In early January, the Trump Administration announced it would allow new offshore oil and gas drilling in nearly all United States coastal waters, giving energy companies access to new leases off California for the first time in decades and opening more than a billion acres in the Arctic and along the Eastern Seaboard to drilling. The proposal lifts a ban on such drilling imposed by President Barack Obama near the end of his term and would deal a serious blow to his environmental legacy. It would also signal that the Trump administration is not done unraveling environmental restrictions in an effort to promote energy production.
On January 18, 2018, I joined my colleagues in sending a letter to Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke expressing opposition to the inclusion of oil and gas leases in the Pacific Ocean in the Department of Interior's draft proposed program for offshore drilling and urging him to withdraw the proposal. In particular, we noted our concern of Secretary Zinke's decision to exempt Florida, whose Governor is coincidentally a Republican and supporter of the Trump Administration, because of the state’s reliance on tourism and opposition from local entities and persons. I believe that this rationale should lead him to exempt California as well.
The devastating May 2015 oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, referred to as the Refugio oil spill, reminded us all of the dangers of drilling for oil. Over 100,000 gallons of crude oil contaminated 9.5 miles of beach. That is why I cosponsored of the West Coast Ocean Protection Act of 2017, which would enact a permanent prohibition on new oil and gas leases in federal waters off the coast of California, Oregon, and Washington. We need this permanent ban on new offshore drilling to safeguard our coastal environment.
Protecting and Preserving our National Monuments
President Obama created more national monuments than any other President in history. His actions protected millions of acres of land and water for conservation, including the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in Southern California that covers 346,177 acres for protection. Earlier this year Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced his plan to review national monuments for possible size reduction or total removal of protections. Last summer, I was proud to join my colleagues from the Southern California region at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains to stand up to the Interior Secretary and demand that the Administration protect the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Since then Secretary Zinke’s final recommendations have been released, and while I am pleased to report that the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument was not one of the monuments targeted for reduction by Zinke, he did suggest four other Western national monuments for reduction.
I have been a longtime advocate for increasing the accessibility of open space for millions of urban residents in Greater Los Angeles, many of whom have never visited a national park. The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is the nation’s largest urban national park providing a variety of outdoor activities for over 33 million annual visitors. Over the years, I have taken the lead in securing over $20 million to acquire and preserve critical open space at the park and complete the 65-mile Backbone Trail. There is a crucial need to preserve sensitive habitat and recreational trails in this treasured national park.
Working to Preserve the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The EPA is the front line ensuring America’s water, air and land stay safe. The EPA works through its regional offices and provides grants to states and localities for clean air projects, environmental disaster responses, and water protection initiatives among others. This administration and the EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt have shown time and time again that they do not fully believe in climate change or man’s contribution to it. Not since Galileo was condemned by the Inquisition have the enemies of science had such powerful friends. It is a dangerous precedent to have an EPA Administrator that ignores decades of scientific research and studies. The EPA and its Administrator must work to safeguard America’s air, land, and water. I will continue to keep the EPA and the administration accountable so that they are doing all they can to protect the health of Americans and our environment.
For more information concerning my work and views on Energy and Environmental issues, please contact me.
More on Protecting Our Environment
Sherman Oaks, CA – On the third anniversary of the Aliso Canyon gas leak, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) continues to condemn the decision of the Trump Administration to rescind natural gas storage safety regulations.
In August 2018, Sherman sent a letter to Howard Elliott, Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), demanding that federal standards be restored and enforced.
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement in response to today’s Joint Congressional Address by French President Emmanuel Macron:
“Today, President Emmanuel Macron delivered an excellent statement. Macron’s tough emphasis on protecting the environment was welcomed. As Macron stated, ‘there’s no planet B.’”
Washington, D.C. – Today, on the eve of the 24th anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) is reminding residents of the San Fernando Valley and metropolitan Los Angeles about how they can prepare for a future seismic event.
Twenty-four years ago, dozens of lives were lost and thousands were injured by one of the largest earthquakes in our nation’s history. The Northridge Earthquake was also one of the most costly federal disasters, with damages in excess of $20 billion.
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Brad Sherman, who lives about as close as anyone to the Porter Ranch gas leak site, issued the following statement following the announcement of the Aliso Canyon gas leak settlement:
“Today the Southern California Air Quality Management District (AQMD) announced a settlement under which SoCal Gas will pay $8.5 million to cover costs associated with the massive blow out at their Aliso Canyon facility last year, resulting in the largest methane leak in US history.
Washington, D.C. – Tonight, the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) will hold a public meeting regarding the well safety review at the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility. Below is Congressman Brad Sherman’s statement prepared for delivery. Due to votes Sherman is in Washington, D.C., the statement will be delivered by staff:
Sherman Oaks, CA – Following through on a promise made by President Barack Obama to Congressman Brad Sherman last January, PHMSA, the relevant federal agency, issued a proposed Interim Final Regulation which will become binding on the industry before January 20, 2017.
Congressman Sherman, who lives in Porter Ranch, about as close as anyone to the site of the world’s largest natural gas leak said:
“Never again should any community in America face what we faced in Porter Ranch.
SoCalGas Should First Commit Itself to Tough Specific Safety Measures
Congressman Brad Sherman issued the following statement after SoCalGas announced it completed testing or sealing all 114 wells and has requested authorization from the State of California to resume injections in the underground gas storage facility at Aliso Canyon.
“If California’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) allows SoCalGas to begin reinjecting gas into Aliso Canyon, it must require the strongest possible safety measures:
Pushes Tougher Standards for Safety Valves and Energy Reliability
Sherman Oaks, CA – The Interagency Aliso Canyon Task force on Natural Gas Safety released its final Report on Natural Gas Storage Safety today.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Safety Materials Administration (PHMSA) will be moving forward with federal regulations for natural gas storage based on the Task Force’s recommendations.
Congressman Sherman celebrates the completion of the Backbone Trail with the National Parks Service, Betty Weider, and former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Sherman Oaks, CA – Congressman Brad Sherman, who lives in the Porter Ranch community, site of the largest gas leak in U.S. history, responded to reports that the Los Angeles basin may experience power outages if the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility remains offline:
“There is a political dance happening here. I am concerned that SoCalGas may use these reports to build a case for business-as-usual operations with minimal safety improvements.