Elizabeth Warren on Environment


Collective trusts for asbestos victims, not individual cases

As more and more people who had worked around asbestos, particularly in shipbuilding and construction, developed a rare form of lung cancer, lawsuits began mounting up. If each victim had sued each company individually, more money would have been spent on lawyers' fees. More important, the 1st people to develop cancer would likely receive payment, but at some point the companies would run out of money, so that later victims would get nothing. The solution was to create a trust and to fund it with all the money from the businesses and their insurance companies who would be held responsible. The trust system had been effective for many years, but it was challenged in the US Supreme Court. In this case, alongside an insurance company and the trusts representing thousands of victims, I argued that the trusts were the best way to compensate victims, rather than individual lawsuits. We won that case in the Supreme Court.
Source: A Fighting Chance, by Elizabeth Warren, p.334 , Apr 22, 2014

Endorsed by Sierra Club and Clean Water Action

Elizabeth Warren has picked up the endorsement of two environmental groups. The Sierra Club and Clean Water Action have both given their support to Warren, who the groups say will be a leader in promoting clean energy investments and environmental protection and "side with middle class families over the big oil and dirty energy companies."

"Elizabeth Warren has fought her whole career against the billion dollar companies that have been raking in record profits while American families pay the price in terms of our health, our economy, and our environment," said the Political Chair of the MA Sierra Club. "Warren understands that fighting for middle-class families means standing up to big banks and big polluters alike."

The Clean Water Action group which works to promote clean and affordable water, said they believe Warren will best promote environmental protection in the Senate. "Warren shares our commitment to preventing pollution and protecting our air quality," said Clean Water Action.

Source: Press release, "Endorsement" , Apr 3, 2012

Voted YES on protecting ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems.

Whitehouse Amdt. No. 803 to S.Amdt. 799 to S. 601 (Water Resources Development Act of 2013): To create the National Endowment for the Oceans to promote the protection and conservation of United States ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Mr. WHITEHOUSE: This measure was part of the RESTORE Act, [but] this piece of it fell out of the bargain. If you supported the RESTORE Act, you have already supported this bill. If you believe that deals should be deals in the Senate, then you should support this bill. It is very important that we as a body support this bill. It does not create a single extra bureaucracy or person. It works within the existing government, and it adds no funding.

MississippiRiverDelta.org Summary of RESTORE Act: The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act) dedicates 80% of all Clean Water Act penalties paid by those responsible for the 2010 gulf oil disaster to Gulf Coast restoration.

Proponent's press release supporting Yes vote: The National Endowment for the Oceans, Coasts, and Great Lakes Act would provide steady funding that universities, non-profit organizations, and government agencies can count on every year to support research and restoration projects. It would be funded primarily by dedicating 12.5% of revenues from offshore energy development, including oil, gas, and renewable energy. Revenue is generated through offshore lease sales and production based royalty payments. Funds from the Endowment would be distributed through a competitive grant program to fund projects to restore habitat, manage fisheries, plan for sustainable coastal development, enhance ocean monitoring and research activities, acquire coastal properties for preservation, and relocate critical coastal infrastructure.

Reference: National Endowment for the Oceans; Bill S.Amdt. 803 ; vote number 13-SV116 on May 8, 2013

Require labeling genetically engineered food.

Warren signed Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act

Congressional Summary:

Discussion of pro/con (Huffington Post 4/25/2013):

Polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans--over 90%--supports mandatory labeling of foods with GE ingredients. 64 other countries already require such labels. However, strong opposition from the agriculture and biotech industries has scuttled proposals for GMO (Genetically-Modified Organisms) labeling laws in the past. The most recent and high-profile of these failed attempts at a GMO labeling requirement was California's Proposition 37, which was narrowly defeated after opponents spent $50 million lobbying against it. "Unfortunately, advocates of mandatory GMO labeling are working an agenda to vilify biotechnology and scare consumers away from safe and healthful food products," a Biotechnology Industry Organization spokeswoman wrote.

Argument in opposition (Food Democracy Now 5/26/2012):

Exactly 20 years ago today, the first Bush administration declared genetically engineered foods to be "substantially equivalent" to foods that farmers had traditionally bred for thousands of years. With this single policy, the US government radically altered the food supply, introducing novel genes into our food that had never before been consumed by humans. Corporate executives at Monsanto colluded with elected officials to make sure that their new "products" were placed onto the market as quickly as possible. Two decades later, Americans are still denied the basic right to know what's in their food because of this infamous policy.

Source: S.809/HR1699 14_S0809 on Apr 24, 2013

Other candidates on Environment: Elizabeth Warren on other issues:
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