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John Kerry on Environment

Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President


The Clear Skies bill is Orwellian and makes things worse

The Clear Skies bill is one of those Orwellian names you pull out of the sky, slap it onto something. If they just left the Clean Air Act all alone the way it is today, no change, the air would be cleaner than it is if you passed the Clear Skies Act. We're going backwards. In fact, his environmental enforcement chief air quality person at the EPA resigned in protest over what they're doing. They're going backwards on the definition for wetlands. They're going backwards on the water quality.
Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

Fact Check: Contaminated home uses city water, not bottled

FACTCHECK on Water Contamination: John Kerry left a misleading impression when he tried to personalize a water-pollution issue:

KERRY: There's a couple in Salem called Lisa and Randy Denuccio. They live next to a lake. They can't drink the water. Their kids can't make lemonade now. They don't take showers with the water. They have to buy bottled water.

FACTCHECK: But when an Associated Press reporter called the family after the debate, Lisa Denuccio said the family does in fact take showers: "We can't do without that." The AP did quote her as saying they now use water from the city rather than their well. Kerry's statement that they can't shower with "the water" might be literally correct- but might easily have led many listeners to think the Denuccio family is worse off than is the case. He should have come clean.

Source: FactCheck.org: 2004 Primary Presidential Debate in Durham NH Dec 9, 2003

Make environmental justice an EPA priority

The problem of environmental justice is well-documented. Back in the 1980s, studies determined that most landfills were located near minority communities. In 1992, a Bush administration investigation confirmed that the poor face greater risk of hazardous waste exposure and sustain more environmental costs than more fortunate Americans.

On Earth Day 2003, I announced a proposal to resume the battle against environmental injustice, in part by greatly elevating it priority for the EPA and other federal enforcement agencies and in part by creating environmental empowerment zones, in which the impact of federal decisions on the health of low-income and minority citizens would have to be taken into account before they are implemented.

I also called for a measure that will be critical not only in dealing with environmental injustice but also in dealing with environmental health issues generally: establishing a national tracking system for chronic diseases and environmental health hazards.

Source: A Call to Service, by John Kerry, p.159-60 Oct 1, 2003

Safeguard the environment and grow the economy

Q: What about progressive environmental policies?

A: For 30 years in public life I have committed to environmental protection. My commitment is driven by the belief that we can safeguard the environment and grow our economy. I have fought hard to reduce the threat of global warming by supporting renewable energy and increased funding for climate change research. I have also called on Bush to stop blocking progress and to engage in international efforts to mitigate the threat of climate change.

Source: MoveOn.org interview Jun 17, 2003

Voted NO on confirming Gale Norton as Secretary of Interior.

Vote to confirm the nomination of Gale Norton as Secretary of Interior. [Ms. Norton generally favors conservative or libertarian stances on the environment.]
Bill Confirmation vote ; vote number 2001-6 on Jan 30, 2001

Voted NO on more funding for forest roads and fish habitat.

The Bryan Amdt (D-NV) offered an amendment to raise funding levels for Forest Service road maintenance and wildlife and fisheries habitat management programs. Senator Craig (R-ID) motioned to table this amendment. [A YES vote is considered pro-business].
Status: Table Motion Agreed to Y)54; N)43; NV)3
Reference: Motion to table Bryan Amdt. #1588; Bill H.R. 2466 ; vote number 1999-272 on Sep 14, 1999

Voted NO on transportation demo projects.

McCain amendment to the transportation reauthorization bill (S. 1173) would require that funding for demonstration projects be covered by their respective state allocations instead of being funded individually in the transportation bill.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)78; N)22
Reference: McCain Amdt #1726; Bill S. 1173 ; vote number 1998-29 on Mar 12, 1998

Voted YES on reducing funds for road-building in National Forests.

Vote on an amendment to cut the $47.4 million provided for Forest Service road construction by $10 million, and to eliminate the purchaser credit program [which provides credits to timber companies to offset what they owe the government].
Bill HR.2107 ; vote number 1997-242 on Sep 17, 1997

Voted YES on continuing desert protection in California.

Invoking cloture on the California desert protection bill. ["Invoking cloture" means "ending the discussion and calling a vote." A NO vote in this case would continue discussing whether to terminate the existing program, and hence is considered pro-business and/or anti-environment].
Status: Cloture Agreed to Y)68; N)23; NV)9
Reference: California Desert Protection Act of 1993; Bill S. 21 ; vote number 1994-326 on Oct 8, 1994

Voted YES on requiring EPA risk assessments.

Require risk assessments of new EPA regulations.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)90; N)8; NV)2
Reference: Safe Drinking Water Act Amdt.s of '94; Bill S. 2019 ; vote number 1994-117 on May 18, 1994

Reduce liability for hazardous waste cleanup.

Kerry sponsored an amendment to CERCLA:

Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR1831 on May 15, 2001

End commercial whaling and illegal trade in whale meat.

Kerry introduced a resolution for the International Whaling Commission

Source: Resolution sponsored by 20 Senators 01-SR121 on Jun 29, 2001

Support UNCED Rio Declaration at 2002 conference.

Kerry introduced a resolution on World Summit on Sustainable Development

Expresses the sense of the Senate that having the President lead the U.S. delegation at the World Summit on Sustainable Development would send a strong signal of U.S. support.

Calls for the United States to: (1) take specified steps at the Summit, such as reaffirming its support for the implementation of commitments entered into at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), supporting efforts to improve the institutional structure for implementing the framework created by Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, remaining firmly opposed to commercial whaling, and supporting measures to increase the use of renewable sources of energy worldwide; and (2) provide leadership and pursue the negotiation of international agreements to address global climate change and to protect the marine environment.

Urges the President to identify priority international environmental agreements that the United States has signed during and following the UNCED that the Administration will present to the Senate for ratification.

Source: Resolution sponsored by 13 Senators 02-SR311 on Jul 30, 2002

Rated 53% by the LCV, indicating a mixed record on environment.

Kerry scores 53% by the LCV on environmental issues

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is the political voice of the national environmental movement and the only organization devoted full-time to shaping a pro-environment Congress and White House. We run tough and effective campaigns to defeat anti-environment candidates, and support those leaders who stand up for a clean, healthy future for America. Through our National Environmental Scorecard and Presidential Report Card we hold Congress and the Administration accountable for their actions on the environment. Through regional offices, we build coalitions, promote grassroots power, and train the next generation of environmental leaders. The 2003 National Environmental Scorecard provides objective, factual information about the environmental voting records of all Members of the first session of the 108th Congress. This Scorecard represents the consensus of experts from 20 respected environmental and conservation organizations who selected the key votes on which Members of Congress should be graded. LCV scores votes on the most important issues of the year, including environmental health and safety protections, resource conservation, and spending for environmental programs. Scores are calculated by dividing the number of pro-environment votes by the total number of votes scored. The votes included in this Scorecard presented Members of Congress with a real choice on protecting the environment and help distinguish which legislators are working for environmental protection. Except in rare circumstances, the Scorecard excludes consensus action on the environment and issues on which no recorded votes occurred.

Source: LCV website 03n-LCV on Dec 31, 2003

EPA must do better on mercury clean-up.

Kerry signed a letter from 45 Senators to EPA

To: Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Dear Administrator Leavitt:

We are writing to urge you to take prompt and effective action to clean up mercury pollution from power plants. The EPA’s current proposals on mercury fall far short of what the law requires, and they fail to protect the health of our children and our environment. We ask you to carry out the requirements of the Clean Air Act to protect our nation from toxic mercury contamination.

On January 30, 2004, EPA proposed two alternative rules to address mercury emissions. Unfortunately, both of these proposals fail to meet the Clean Air Act directives for cleaning up mercury. EPA's proposals permit far more mercury pollution, and for years longer, than the Clean Air Act allows.

The toxicity of mercury has been proven time and again by scientists around the world. The Agency's own scientists just released a study finding that approximately 630,000 infants were born in the US in the 12-month period, 1999-2000, with blood mercury levels higher than what is considered safe. This is a doubling of previous estimates.

The newest scientific studies show that controlling mercury emissions works. As we saw in Florida, sharp reductions in mercury pollution are mirrored by reductions in nearby fish populations. A study in northern Wisconsin indicated that reductions in the input of mercury from air corresponded with marked reductions in mercury fish tissue levels in the 1990s.

As the Administrator of the EPA, you have the legal authority and the responsibility to address mercury emissions and protect public health. We do not believe that EPA's current proposals are sufficient or defensible. We urge you to withdraw the entire proposed rule package and re-propose a rule for adequate public comment that meets the terms of the 1998 settlement agreement and is promulgated by the December 15, 2004 deadline.

Source: Letter from 45 Senators to EPA 04-SEN1 on Apr 1, 2004

Fund studies of sustainable fisheries.

Kerry sponsored the Sustainable Fisheries Act

Corresponding House bill is H.R.39. Became Public Law No: 104-297.
Source: Bill sponsored by 9 Senators and 1 Rep 95-S39 on Jan 4, 1995

Fund studies of invasive species and algal blooms.

Kerry sponsored the National Sea Grant College Program Reauthorization Act

Amends the National Sea Grant College Program Act to authorize competitive grants for university research on invasive species, specifically: (1) the zebra mussel; (2) oyster diseases and oyster-related human health risks; and (3) Pfiesteria piscicida and other harmful algal blooms. Became Public Law No: 105-160.

Source: Bill sponsored by 28 Senators 97-S927 on Jun 17, 1997

Other candidates on Environment: John Kerry on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
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Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts