Energy & Environment

Fighting for clean air and clean water should be a nonpartisan priority. Skeptics need to understand that pollution and extreme weather do not stop at state or national boundaries. The best available science tells us that climate change is causing irreparable harm to people who least can afford to adapt to the increasing instances and severity of extreme weather that are adding to social and economic instability. Dealing with climate change has become a national security imperative. It’s having a definitive impact in Maryland, where 70 percent of us live in coastal areas. Superstorms such as Irene and Sandy have wrought damaging floods in places such as Annapolis and Baltimore, while the people of Smith Island are watching their island disappear under rising sea levels. I will always fight back against the seemingly unending efforts to derail foresighted policies that safeguard our environment.

When we base our energy and environmental policies on science rather than politics, we find that American ingenuity and innovation can solve these environmental challenges, as well as the energy, economic and national security problems that are all intertwined. Investing in new technologies creates new jobs. Diversifying our energy sources creates competition – stabilizing and lowering energy prices. And thinking beyond fossil fuels buried in unstable or unreliable countries strengthens our national security. Moving to alternative and renewable energy sources also will help reduce the impact of climate change. I will continue to strongly advocate for enhanced U.S. leadership on clean energy development and deployment. The U.S. is one of the world’s leading polluters and must lead the world in taking critical steps towards mitigating the root causes of global climate change.

I championed President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, strong-but-flexible-and-fair carbon pollution standards for power plants that protect the air Marylanders breathe while checking the impact of energy generation on the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. On April 1, 2016, I joined a bipartisan group of forty-three current and former Senators and 164 current and former House members in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit supporting the Clean Power Plan, which was challenged in State of West Virginia, et al. v. EPA. I am committed to doing all I can to ensure the United States fulfills its obligations and serves as an example to every nation on Earth of what is possible when we put our science, leadership, and ingenuity to work on behalf of humanity. As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, I will find opportunities to encourage foreign leaders to follow the U.S. example and urge the expedition of other nation’s efforts to join the Paris Agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Americans have a right to expect that water coming from their taps is safe to drink and that Congress will do everything within its power to ensure that happens. I am proud of the concrete achievements in the Water Resources Development Act passed into law in late 2016. The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) is one bill that truly impacts every single person in our country. Many sections of WRDA were taken from legislation that I authored. Among many provisions, this bill authorized $300 million over five years in grants to remove lead pipes from the houses of low-income communities, schools and day care centers, among others. WRDA also authorizes $100 million over five years for grants to carry out a voluntary school and child care lead testing program nationwide. Now, every community in our state and country—urban, rural and suburban—will be made safer and healthier by the clean water provisions we were able to include in this bipartisan bill.