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Neil Abercrombie on Environment

Democratic Governor; previously Representative (HI-1)


Food labeling good, but not at expense of small businesses

Q: Where do you stand on labeling of genetically engineered food and pesticide regulation? Are these public safety issues, or are the dangers exaggerated?

ABERCROMBIE: It's about balance. I fully support consumers' right to know what's in their food. However, we must be sure that this effort meets legal and constitutional requirements and does not come at the expense of small businesses. Small retailers, distributors, and food manufacturers should not be penalized by food labeling requirements. That's why I'm working with my good friend Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin to learn from his state's experience of having passed one of the first laws in the country on this issue. I'm also looking to the federal government for guidance and leadership on this issue.

IGE: I support the right to know what is in our food, but labeling should be addressed at the federal, not the state level, so that Hawaii's farmers, retailers and consumers are not subject to additional costs.

Source: Honolulu Civil Beat Q&A on 2014 Hawaii gubernatorial race , Jul 23, 2014

New Day Work Projects: transit-oriented development

I will convene a group of experts and University officials to consider the future of sports & the future of development on Oahu to make a definitive decision on Aloha Stadium and any future stadium we might build. Other than maintenance related to health and safety, I will divert all other capital improvement dollars for Aloha Stadium to other projects. Right now, multimillion dollar plans to extend the life of Aloha Stadium by 20 years could take 40 years to implement. It is time to reprioritize. The Ne Day Work Projects will look to the future and what our community and economy will look like decades from now. For example, as Honolulu moves on its transit plans, the state will actively support attractive, sustainable transit-oriented redevelopment. The legislature has proposals on these concepts, including looking at density rights and other zoning initiatives. I look forward to participating in the discussion and moving quickly. The people of Hawaii are going to get to work and build our future.
Source: 2011 Hawaii State of the State Address , Jan 24, 2011

Voted YES 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-H682 on Jul 31, 2009

Voted YES on protecting free-roaming horses and burros.

Congressional Summary:
  1. Ensure that acreage available for wild and free-roaming horses and burros is at least equal to the acreage where they were found in 1971
  2. update the inventory of such horses and burros annually
  3. maintain a thriving natural ecological balance on lands where such horses and burros are found
  4. establish sanctuaries for such horses and burros
  5. research and implement enhanced fertility control for mares & stallions.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. NICK RAHALL (D, WV-3): Earlier this year, the BLM made a truly shocking announcement. This Federal agency announced future plans to destroy, i.e., slaughter, 30,000 healthy wild horses and burros entrusted to their care by the American people. How in the world can a Federal agency be considering massive slaughter of animals the law says they are supposed to be protecting? The bill before us gives the agency as many options as possible to avoid destroying these animals.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. DOC HASTINGS (R, WA-4): Across our Nation, Americans are struggling to pay their bills; 9.5% of Americans are out of work. With this backdrop, what is the response of this Democrat Congress to record unemployment and skyrocketing deficits? Their response is to create a $700 million welfare program for wild horses and burros. If the American people want an illustration of just how out of touch this Congress has become on spending, they need to look no further. In the last Congress, the House passed legislation to ban the commercial slaughter of wild horses and burros, that cost taxpayers less than $500,000 a year. Now we're looking at a bill that, again, bans slaughter of these animals but then proceeds to spend $700 million to create a new welfare program for wild horses. Republicans are focused on creating the jobs in this country, but this Democrat Congress seems to be more worried about wild burros and wild horses.

Reference: Restore Our American Mustangs Act; Bill H.R.1018 ; vote number 2009-H577 on Jul 17, 2009

Voted YES on environmental education grants for outdoor experiences.

Congressional Summary:

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. JOHN SARBANES (D, MD-3): This bill creates a new National Capacity Environmental Education grant program for which education associations apply competitively for grants that would fund model programs that get children into nature and really have them experiencing the environment.

Rep. BUCK McKEON (R, CA-25): This bill incorporates scientifically-based and technology-driven teaching methods into environmental education. Unfortunately, the new National Capacity Environmental Education Program is duplicative of the existing environmental education program already being run by the EPA. Still, I do not intend to oppose its passage.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. MICHELE BACHMANN (R, MN-6): H.R. 3036 continues our Nation down the ill-fated road of shifting control of school curricula away from the parents and teachers and local school boards who best know what their children need into the hands of Federal Government and its one-size-fits-all approach. To best serve our children's educational needs, local school boards need flexibility to target resources where they are needed most. The needs of individual school districts are not homogenous and are most certainly not best understood by bureaucrats in Washington. This bill represents a step in the wrong direction. Forcing local school districts to direct scarce resources away from core curricula to serve a political agenda will only further suppress the academic performance of America's next generation.

Reference: No Child Left Inside Act; Bill H.R.3036 ; vote number 2008-H614 on Sep 18, 2008

Voted YES on $9.7B for Amtrak improvements and operation thru 2013.

Congressional Summary: