I recognize the consequences of climate change and the threats to our environment, globally and in Michigan. The science is clear: we cannot continue on our current trajectory without causing irreversible harm to our environment. While serving at the Pentagon, I led a team that worked on a first-of-its-kind study into the effects of climate change on our military installations and our forces around the globe. It is a national security issue, and I believe that we need to think about environmental security the way we think about homeland security: it’s about the safety of our families and the preservation of our way of life.
Natural Resources Management Act and LWCF
On February 26, 2019, I proudly voted in support of S. 47, the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. The bill, now Public Law 116-9, passed both the House and the Senate and was signed into law by the President on March 12, 2019. This sweeping package combines over 100 bills from the previous Congress and puts forth a comprehensive plan for managing and preserving our country’s public lands. You may already be aware that the bill was named in memory of the late Representative John Dingell Jr., to honor his role as a champion for the conservation of public lands in Michigan and around the nation. As a fellow Michigander and outdoor enthusiast, I find this tribute particularly meaningful.
In addition to provisions expanding recreational access to federal lands, supporting fish and wildlife habitat restoration projects, and establishing a research and development program for drones to monitor wildfires, this bill permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). As you likely also know, the LWCF, established in 1964, is one of our most effective programs for safeguarding our nation’s natural resources. This bipartisan initiative directs funds toward the conservation of our national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and the areas around rivers and lakes.
The LWCF also allocates money for state and local governments to fund similar programs. In Michigan alone, the program has contributed over $329 million in funding for some of our most beautiful sites, like the Sleeping Bear Dunes and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshores. Additional state assistance grants from the LWCF support projects in our very own district, such as the Brighton State Recreation Area in Livingston County, the Proud Lake Recreation Area in Oakland County, and the Lake Lansing Park in Ingham County. Moreover, the LWCF distributes this funding without relying on taxpayer money, as it is supported by revenues collected from offshore oil and gas drilling.
In Michigan, we treasure our natural resources, depend on them to keep our families healthy, and rely on them to keep our economy strong. My family are avid paddlers and we make sure to go camping off the grid at least once a year in one of Michigan’s amazing national or state parks. This tradition gives me a very personal connection to protecting our public lands. With the passage of the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, Michiganders can rest assured that we will be able to enjoy our public lands for years to come. Please know that I will continue to prioritize the conservation and protection of our public lands as your elected representative in Congress.
Save America's Pollinators Act
The Save America’s Pollinators Act was designed to protect pollinators such as the honeybee, insects, and birds from neonicotinoid pesticides. These pollinators are critically important to our food systems. In fact, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the honey bee is indirectly responsible for one third of the human diet.
I recognize the need to protect pollinators from harmful neonicotinoids and understand how important these protections are for our entire ecosystem. I first became aware of this issue during my junior year of college, when I lived and worked in Kenya, with a tribe that relies on honey for a significant portion of their diet. I spent lots of time learning to harvest honey, and in the process came to love bees and appreciate their contributions to our ecosystem. As your elected representative, please be assured that I will strongly consider co-sponsorship of the Save America’s Pollinators Act and will keep your support in mind should it come to the floor for a vote. I will also look to find ways to ensure that these protections remain robust without adversely affecting Michigan farmers.
Green New Deal Resolution:
A resolution in support of the Green New Deal, H.Res. 109, was introduced in the House of Representatives on February 7, 2019. The resolution asserts the need for immediate, sweeping action to mitigate the negative effects of climate change and set forth potential policy focuses.
I recognize the consequences of climate change, globally and in Michigan.The science is clear: we cannot continue our current trajectory without causing irreversible harm to our environment. While serving at the Pentagon, I led a team that worked on a first-of-its-kind study into the effects of climate change on our military installations and our forces around the globe. It is a national security issue and I believe that we need to think about environmental security the way we think about homeland security: it’s about the safety of our families and the preservation of our way of life.
To that end, I agree with many of the tenets of the proposed Green New Deal. Upgrading our national infrastructure to ensure access to clean water and reduce the risks posed by flooding, transitioning toward clean energy sources, reducing carbon emissions, and creating high-quality union jobs in renewable energy industries are all priorities for me. I appreciate both the sense of urgency that the proposal brings to the conversation on environmental security and the passion of the young people who have brought this conversation to the national stage.
With an issue as urgent as combating climate change, we must focus both on big, bold initiatives like those proposed in the Green New Deal resolution and on areas where we have the most common ground and we can get passed into law. I am working on a few pragmatic measures that I am excited to move forward. I am an original cosponsor of the Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability (WATER) Act of 2019, a measure that would provide for sweeping investment in our country’s water infrastructure and generate thousands of new jobs.
As the co-chair of a Democratic task force focusing on transportation and infrastructure, I am committed to looking for innovative and environmentally sound ways to fix our country’s aging infrastructure. I understand the urgency of this issue and will move forward quickly on climate change-related legislation.
Climate Action Now Act
I am proud to co-sponsor H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act. This bill, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support on May 2, 2019, would recommit the United States to the environmental standards set forth under the Paris Climate Accord, which was negotiated in 2015 by representatives of 196 countries to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. In 2017, the current administration announced their intention to withdraw the United States. from the agreement by 2020, the earliest possible date. The Climate Action Now Act would reverse this decision by prohibiting the use of federal funds to take actions to remove the Unites States from the accord. It would also require the Administration to submit to Congress a plan for the United States to meet its voluntary commitments under the accord. The bill has now moved to the U.S. Senate for passage.
More on Environment
HOLLY, MI –– U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin introduced a bipartisan bill this week with Representatives Deb Haaland (D-NM), Mike Turner (R-OH), and Bill Posey (R-FL) to protect military servicemembers and their families from PFAS “forever chemicals” contamination, which have been shown to lead to adverse health effects. According to data from the Department of Defense, there are over 700 current and former military installations with known or suspected PFAS contamination.
WASHINGTON -- Following the passage into law of U.S. Rep.
WASHINGTON –– U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) pushed Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in a House Armed Services Committee hearing today on the Pentagon’s responsibility to mitigate PFAS contamination in Michigan.
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) released the following statement regarding the House passage today of the bipartisan Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019, which would reauthorize funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) for five years and increase it by nearly 60 percent during that time.
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) voted to pass landmark PFAS legislation today, including an amendment she introduced to hold the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accountable for coming up with viable alternatives to AFFF, the firefighting foam at the root of PFAS contamination in many Michigan communities.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) pushed the Department of Defense to answer for its reticence to transition off of AFFF, the PFAS-laden fire fighting foam that is widely used by the U.S. military, in a letter this week to the head of the Pentagon PFAS Task Force, Assistant Secretary of Defense McMahon.
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) urged NDAA conferees to retain strong PFAS provisions in the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the major annual bill authorizing national defense spending, as negotiations between the House and Senate kick off today. New reports show that four additional military sites in Michigan are contaminated by PFAS.
WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) released the following statement in response to news that the Trump Administration is rolling back a key rule to protect bodies of water from pollution:
HOWELL, MI — U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) joined a team of AmeriCorps members currently posted at Howell Nature Center for an afternoon of service yesterday, becoming an honorary AmeriCorps member for the day as the program prepares to mark its 25th anniversary later this year. Slotkin has spent her career in national service, including serving three tours in Iraq alongside the military as a CIA analyst, and as a senior official at the Defense Department.
WASHINGTON, DC –– U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper, in response to news that he established a Task Force to address PFAS contamination, inviting Secretary Esper to visit Michigan to see and hear directly from people impacted by PFAS. Full text of the letter is attached.