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Marin, Sonoma County, CA June 6, 2006 Election
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Joe Nation's Environment Position Paper

By Joe Nation

Candidate for United States Representative; District 6; Democratic Party

This information is provided by the candidate
The 6th Congressional District is one of the most progressive on environmental issues in the nation. We deserve an environmental leader. I have strived to lead California on environmental issues during my tenure in the state Assembly. In 2002, I successfully co-authored the first law in the country that reduces the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.
The 6th Congressional District is one of the most progressive on environmental issues in the nation. Accordingly, our representative in Congress should be more than just "another good vote" on these key issues. We deserve an environmental leader.

I have strived to lead California on environmental issues during my tenure in the state Assembly. In 2002, I successfully co-authored the first law in the country that reduces the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. In 2005, Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 1229, the first law in the country that mandates auto manufacturers to provide greenhouse gas emission information on new vehicles.

I also have successfully carried legislation to fund the monitoring and research of Sudden Oak Death Syndrome, to protect the Bay from non-native invasive species, and to increase fuel efficiency for automobiles. The California League of Conservation Voters has consistently given me a 100% rating. In 2004, I authored three of their "scorecard" bills.

I will continue to safeguard the environment as a member of Congress, expanding my effort to focus on global environmental issues. In particular, I will take steps to combat global warming, improve energy efficiency, and to protect wetlands, habitat, species, and the California coast. I commit to lead on these issues and to be far more than just "another good vote."

Global Warming

Global warming is the most important challenge of our time, by far surpassing the importance of any other issue. Leading scientists forecast that the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, especially CO 2, could cause the world's average temperature to rise between 7 to 13 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. Historically, changes of this magnitude occur only once in several thousand years. The potentially negative consequences from global warming are numerous:

An increase in the spread of infectious disease throughout the world since cold winter weather reduces the spread of infectious diseases. Loss of coastal ecosystems, the flooding of cities, including New Orleans and parts of San Jose and Long Beach, displacement of coastal inhabitants, and increased vulnerability to storm surges, including hurricanes. These effects would be magnified if the frequency of severe storms increases, as some climate models project. Loss of coastal wetlands because they are within a few feet of sea level. In the United States, a sea level rise of one foot (0.3m) could eliminate 1743% of today's wetlands. Decreased snow pack in the high mountains that may create severe water shortages throughout the southwestern U.S., and reduce the ability to generate hydroelectric power during the warmer summers. Loss of wildlife, including polar bears, seals, and penguins in the arctic regions as warmer temperatures affect the ocean ice cover. Increased air pollution, since the concentration of photochemical pollutants, such as ozone, tends to increase with warmer temperatures. Greater famine in semi-arid regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. In the most extreme, yet unlikely case, global warming could plunge the planet into another ice age. Some climate models indicate that over the next few hundred years, deep ocean currents may be disrupted, which would affect regional temperature and precipitation patterns over North America and Europe.

Clearly, the time to act is now. Congress should follow the lead we have begun in the California legislature. As soon as possible, we need to reduce CO 2 emissions as much as possible-and eventually by about 75% in order to maintain the concentration found in the atmosphere today. As a point of reference, full implementation of the Kyoto Protocol would reduce emissions in 2010 by about 8%.

The vehicles we drive are responsible for 20 percent of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions. To address this problem, I co-authored AB 1493 in 2002, which created the world's first emissions standards designed to cut global warming pollution from new cars and trucks. Automakers must reduce greenhouse emitting exhaust in new vehicles by thirty percent over the next decade. I am proud that eight other states have introduced similar legislation. I also have authored legislation to remove the federal tax exemption for SUVs and to improve the fuel efficiency for tires via AB 844 (Statutes 2003), and to conspicuously disclose to consumers the greenhouse gas emissions of new automobiles and trucks (AB 1229, Statutes 2005).

Electricity production also accounts for a significant share of greenhouse gas emissions, and we need to accelerate greatly our move to renewable, non-polluting energy. In particular, we need to reward consumers who make the switch to solar and other renewable energy sources. My AB 1968, signed into law in 2002, ensures that consumers who purchase solar, wind, and thermal systems with rebates or vouchers received from the California Energy Commission or the Public Utilities Commission are not taxed on these rebates or vouchers. We should provide similar incentives for renewable energy at the federal level.

Wetlands

The vast majority of California's have been lost to development, and we must take extraordinary steps to avoid further losses and to restore wetlands wherever possible. We must also explicitly acknowledge the link between every day life and the condition of wetlands. Recently, I co-authored legislation that allows a fee to be levied upon a motor vehicle's annual registration. The money collected under this program will be deposited into an account to fund environmental mitigation (e.g. buying open space, enhancing wetlands) caused by water quality impacts from motor vehicles.

Protecting the Coast

State and federal leaders have done much to protect California's coast from development and from exploration for oil. We should continue to prohibit oil exploration off our coast and take other steps to limit coastal development and to ensure public access. In 2004, I introduced AB 974, which strengthened the Coastal Act to better protect this unique asset.

Protecting Habitat and Species

Recently, there have been efforts at the national level to weaken the Endangered Species Act (ESA). I will resist these ill-advised and short-sighted efforts. In addition, I will undertake efforts to protect endangered and threatened species here in the 6 th District. Specifically, I will seek to reverse a recent Congressional authorization for $20 million to establish ferry operations from Port Sonoma.

During my tenure in the Assembly, I have introduced legislation to rebuild our declining salmonid populations. AB 1231, introduced in 2002, called for the creation of a pilot program that required the Resources Agency to develop a watershed analysis methodology for applying the data on the ground, conduct anadramous salmonid population counts, and assess any correlation between various habitat factors and the effect those factors have on salmonid populations.

Finally, I have successfully authored legislation to address the impacts of non-native species on California's marine life. AB 433, signed into law in 2003, strengthens an existing program that addresses the growing problem of non-native marine species that are carried in ship ballast water from ports all over the world and discharged into California waters when ballast water is released. A recent report resulting from this legislation suggests that California establish more stringent guidelines than exist at the national level.

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