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
Porter Ranch, California -- On October 23, 2015, the Southern California Gas Company well SS25 exploded at the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility, causing the greatest emission of natural gas and associated toxic compounds in the history of the United States. Congressman Sherman lives about as close as anyone to the site of this disaster.
Congressman Brad Sherman announced that nearly $9 million in federal funds for projects in the San Fernando Valley have been included in legislation passed by the House of Representatives.
This week the House passed a package of funding bills, which included a dozen community projects requested by Congressman Sherman.
Congressman Brad Sherman announced that nearly $900,000 in federal funds for projects in the San Fernando Valley have been advanced by Congressional panels.
This week the House Appropriations Committee advanced both the Interior and Financial Services federal funding bills, which included two community projects requested by Congressman Sherman.
The funds requested by Congressman Sherman are to both provide technical assistance to small businesses in the San Fernando Valley and to reduce fire risks in our region while also restoring public park land.
Washington, D.C. -- Today, the House passed S.J.Res. 14, a joint resolution that will strengthen regulation of methane emissions.
“This is an important step but more needs to be done,” Congressman Sherman said of today’s vote. “The Aliso Canyon blowout demonstrated the need for strong regulation of natural gas storage facilities.”
Washington, D.C. – In a hearing before the House Committee on Science, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm acknowledged the Department of Energy’s duty to clean up contaminated sites, including the Santa Susana Field Lab. In response to questioning by Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), Secretary Granholm said Santa Susana Field Lab cleanup “is a priority” and acknowledged the lack of compliance with past cleanup commitments.
"As we celebrate Earth Day, we must continue to fight climate change for future generations," said Congressman Brad Sherman on Earth Day. 'If we don't act on the climate crisis now in a meaningful way, our children will inherit an economy and a world beyond their capacity to repair."
Sherman Oaks, CA – On the fifth anniversary of the Aliso Canyon gas blowout, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) continues to push for the closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility and to ensure that SoCal Gas is held responsible for their actions.
“We need a plan to close the Aliso Canyon facility now,” Sherman urged. “We cannot wait another 7 to 15 years.”
Sherman Oaks, CA– The Department of Energy and the State of California have reached an agreement to remove several contaminated structures at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) site in Ventura County.
“The community and I have long fought for a full clean-up of the Santa Susana Field Lab,” Sherman said. “Safety must be the number one priority, including how any material is handled and ultimately disposed of.”
Porter Ranch, CA – The Trump administration issued natural gas storage safety regulations over a year after they were required to by law. Worse yet, they're so bad, they are being kept secret. Americans are not allowed to have a copy of these regulations unless they pay a substantial fee to the American Petroleum Institute (API), the lobbyists for the oil and gas industry.
Washington, D.C. – Today the House passed legislation that included the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act. Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) joined the sponsor of this bill, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), and others in introducing this legislation in March of last year to require the National Park Service (NPS) to expand the boundaries of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to include the area known as the Rim of the Valley Corridor.