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Mike Johanns on Environment

Secretary of Agriculture; previously Republican NE Governor


Voted NO on $2 billion more for Cash for Clunkers program.

Congressional Summary:Emergency supplemental appropriations of $2 billion for the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) Program.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. OBEY (D, WI-7): The cash for clunkers program has proven even more wildly popular than its strongest supporters had predicted. Just last month, Congress passed the program, which provided up to $4,500 if you trade in your old gas guzzler for a new car that gets better mileage. That was done in the hopes of spurring some new car sales and encouraging people to be a little more environmentally friendly. We provided $1 billion in the supplemental to get it going, enough for about 250,000 sales--which was just about exhausted in one week. This bill transfers $2 billion from the Department of Energy's Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee program, which doesn't expect to award funding until late next year.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. LEWIS (R, CA-41): In the majority's haste to slam legislation with no time for consideration or amendments, we are now seeing the effects of such shortsighted martial law tactics.

Senator Feinstein tried to negotiate some changes to improve the program but was told that it was this way or the highway. Not one hearing on the Cash for Clunkers program, not one hearing on how the first billion dollars has been spent, not one hearing on how much money the program will need to get through the fiscal year.

Many of my colleagues will say, This is a great program, and it is necessary for the revitalization of the car industry. I'm not really going to argue with those goals. However, are we sure this program is working like it's supposed to? I don't think so. This program has only been up and running 1 week. If that is how the government is going to handle billion-dollar programs affecting all Americans, I ask, Whatever will we do if the administration takes control of our health care system?

Reference: Cash for Clunkers bill; Bill H.R. 3435 ; vote number 2009-S270 on Aug 6, 2009

Replace MTBE in gasoline with cleaner ethanol.

Johanns signed the Midwestern Governors' Conference resolution:

Source: Resolution of Midwestern Governors' Conf. on Ethanol 00-MGC1 on May 25, 2000

More state autonomy on brownfields & Superfund cleanups.

Johanns adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), otherwise known as Superfund, was created to clean up the worst hazardous waste sites across the country and to recoup expenses from responsible parties. Since the law was enacted in 1980, the Superfund program has caused significant amounts of litigation, while cleanup of hazardous waste sites has not been as fast or effective as the statute envisioned. In addition, states have not had the necessary tools or funding from the federal government to adequately clean up state sites. “Brownfields” sites—abandoned or undeveloped non-Superfund industrial or commercial sites under state jurisdiction—have gained increasing attention from Congress in recent years as passage of a comprehensive Superfund package has become increasingly unlikely.

NGA’s Position

NGA supports the reauthorization of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980. NGA policy calls for more opportunities for states to take authority for cleanup of National Priorities List (NPL) sites, increased autonomy and funding over brownfield sites, and the concurrence of a Governor before a site can be listed on the NPL.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA15 on Aug 1, 2001

Support State Revolving Loan Fund for flexible Clean Water.

Johanns adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The Clean Water Act (CWA) has not been reauthorized since 1987. At that time, provisions were added to address nonpoint source pollution, pollution from diffuse sources such as runoff of fertilizers and pesticides, stormwater runoff, and sediment. Governors and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disagree on the best approach to addressing the problem of nonpoint source pollution.

NGA’s Position

NGA supports the reauthorization of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 (the Clean Water Act). The Governors support an increased focus on watershed management planning, including funding for the State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF) and nonpoint source pollution programs. States should have the flexibility to develop plans for attaining federally approved water quality standards in impaired waters - in consultation with local government officials and stakeholders - and to allocate responsibility for cleanup among contributors. The TMDL regulations should be revised, by legislation if necessary, to give states adequate flexibility, funding, and time to address impaired waters.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA9 on Aug 1, 2001

Focus on prevention and states for Endangered Species.

Johanns signed the Western Governors' Association resolution:

  1. Preventative conservation on both public and private lands is essential. Western states are actively developing conservation plans to restore declining species before they need the protections of the Endangered Species Act [ESA]. Most declining species can be restored to health only through a federal-state partnership that involves private landowners and interested parties.
  2. The purposes of the ESA are undermined if the Act must be so narrowly interpreted that, in order to defend its application against legal challenge, the very species the Act was enacted to protect are disadvantaged. [For example], the decision in Oregon Natural Resources Council v. Daley, holds that the requirement under the ESA for federal agencies to consider state conservation plans means almost nothing. If decisions like the one in Oregon stands, the Western Governors believe there is a problem with the Act itself requiring amendment or regulatory clarification.
  3. In addition, the Governors have long supported the reauthorization of the ESA based on three goals: to increase the role of states, to streamline the ESA, and to increase certainty and technical assistance for landowners and water users. And the governors call for the ESA to have the recovery of species as its central focus.
  4. The Western Governors believe that the courts, and the Congress, when writing the reauthorization of the ESA, should reaffirm the Secretary’s ability to defer the listing of a species when the actions of a state conservation agreement eliminates the need to list a species. The courts and Congress should also clarify that voluntary actions that the Secretary finds will help restore a declining species and which have performance standards, implementation plans, and monitoring and reporting provisions, and are properly financed, are valid conservation tools.
Source: WGA Policy Resolution 01 - 11: Endangered Species Act 01-WGA11 on Aug 14, 2001

Collaborative, incentive driven, locally-based solutions.

Johanns signed the Western Governors' Association resolution:

  1. Water quality restoration is essential for economic and environmental sustainability of forestry, agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing, recreation and public water supply.
  2. The Western Governors favor collaborative, incentive driven, locally based solutions to environmental and natural resource problems such as water quality restoration.
  3. Implementing these water management principles can be expensive and beyond the ability of some states to fund. However, the benefits of managing the resource in this manner are significant. Therefore, the Western Governors encourage federal agencies to look for opportunities to use existing authority to provide funding, flexibility in funding, and/or shared or loaned personnel to states to help them address specific watershed problems.
    Source: WGA Policy Resolution 01 - 12: Watershed Partnerships 01-WGA12 on Aug 14, 2001

    Apply "Good Samaritan" rules to abandoned mine cleanup.

    Johanns signed the Western Governors' Association resolution:

      Good Samaritan
    1. The Western Governors believe that there is a need to eliminate disincentives, and establish incentives, to voluntary, cooperative efforts aimed at improving and protecting water quality impacted by abandoned or inactive mines.
    2. The Western Governors believe the Clean Water Act should be amended to protect a remediating agency from becoming legally responsible for any continuing discharges from the abandoned mine site after completion of a cleanup project, provided that the remediating agency -- or "Good Samaritan"-- does not otherwise have liability for that abandoned or inactive mine site and attempts to improve the conditions at the site.
    3. The Western Governors believe that Congress, as a priority, should amend the Clean Water Act in a manner that accomplishes the goals embodied in the WGA legislative package on Good Samaritan cleanups. S.1787 from the 106 th Congress is a good starting point for future congressional deliberations.

      Cleanup and Funding
    4. The Governors encourage federal land management agencies to coordinate their abandoned mine efforts with state efforts to avoid redundancy and unnecessary duplication.
    5. Reliable sources of funds that do not divert from other important Clean Water programs should be identified and made available for the cleanup of hardrock abandoned mines in the West.
    6. The Western Governors continue to urge the Administration and Congress to promptly distribute to states abandoned coal mine land funds in the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Trust Fund , including accumulated interest, collected under Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (see WGA Policy Resolution 00-012).
    Source: WGA Policy Resolution 01 - 15: Cleaning Up Abandoned Mines 01-WGA15 on Aug 14, 2001

    State primacy over water quantity & quality issues.

    Johanns signed the Western Governors' Association resolution:

    1. The states should retain primary jurisdiction over water quantity issues -- specifically water resource allocation and the determination of beneficial uses.
    2. Control of pollutants from stormwater needs to be addressed with application of Best Management Practices. The Clean Water Act (CWA) should allow flexibility in both water quality criteria and beneficial use designations for receiving waters. Stormwater discharges to dry streams in arid regions pose substantially lower environmental risks than do the same discharges to perennial surface waters.
    3. CWA reauthorization must take into account the environment in the arid West. Specifically, the CWA should recognize and Congress should provide adequate resources for the development of water quality criteria for non-perennial and effluent dependent streams.
    4. The CWA reauthorization should include two new statements of purpose:
      (A) To recognize the need to establish water quality criteria for the wide variety of ecosystems that exist in the U.S.
      (B) To allow states to encourage the reuse of treated wastewater, as a component of water quality control.
    5. The CWA should allow states flexibility in the designation of beneficial uses and establishment of criteria for certain waters, such as non-perennial and effluent dependent streams and man made water transportation canals.
    6. Non-point source funding should enable states to balance program elements and focus, as needed, on technology development and transfer, monitoring, assessment, etc. Federal agency activities should also be required to comply with state non-point source management plans.
    7. The Governors endorse the authorization of a regional water quality research project to design and develop water quality standards appropriate to unique conditions in the western states.
    Source: WGA Policy Resolution 01 - 16: Clean Water Act 01-WGA16 on Aug 14, 2001

    Other governors on Environment: Mike Johanns on other issues:
    NE Gubernatorial:
    Dave Heineman
    NE Senatorial:
    Ben Nelson

    Newly seated 2010:
    NJ Chris Christie
    VA Bob McDonnell

    Term-limited as of Jan. 2011:
    AL Bob Riley
    CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
    GA Sonny Perdue
    HI Linda Lingle
    ME John Baldacci
    MI Jennifer Granholm
    NM Bill Richardson
    OK Brad Henry
    OR Ted Kulongoski
    PA Ed Rendell
    RI Donald Carcieri
    SC Mark Sanford
    SD Mike Rounds
    TN Phil Bredesen
    WY Dave Freudenthal
    Newly Elected Nov. 2010:
    AL: Robert Bentley (R)
    CA: Jerry Brown (D)
    CO: John Hickenlooper (D)
    CT: Dan Malloy (D)
    FL: Rick Scott (R)
    GA: Nathan Deal (R)
    HI: Neil Abercrombie (D)
    IA: Terry Branstad (R)
    KS: Sam Brownback (R)
    ME: Paul LePage (R)
    MI: Rick Snyder (R)
    MN: Mark Dayton (D)
    ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
    NM: Susana Martinez (R)
    NV: Brian Sandoval (R)
    NY: Andrew Cuomo (D)
    OH: John Kasich (R)
    OK: Mary Fallin (R)
    PA: Tom Corbett (R)
    RI: Lincoln Chafee (I)
    SC: Nikki Haley (R)
    SD: Dennis Daugaard (R)
    TN: Bill Haslam (R)
    VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
    WI: Scott Walker (R)
    WY: Matt Mead (R)
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    Page last updated: Nov 23, 2011