Mark Udall on Environment
Democratic Representative (CO-2)
Helped create National Integrated Drought Information System
Q: 39 states expect some level of water shortage over the next decade. What policies would you support to meet demand for water resources?
A: Water is a vital resource in Colorado and I continue to work to address issues of drought, water use,
and water conservation. In 2006, I helped create the National Integrated Drought Information System to coordinate federal research efforts on drought. Recently, I have worked to see that water used in energy production can be reclaimed.
Source: 2008 Senate questionnaire by SEA & 18 science organizations
Sep 9, 2008
Expand funding for work towards mitigating climate change
I have long been for reducing our energy emissions dating back to my early efforts at the state legislature to pass Colorado’s first renewable energy efficiency standard. In 2004, I was in favor of the state-based constitutional amendment that required
energy producers to meet a 10% mandate for renewable energy, one of the first renewable energy portfolio standards in the country. Colorado’s world class research institutions have the capacity to make major advancements in our response to climate change
In fact, the Center for Atmospheric Research at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Colorado contributed to the IPCC research on this subject. The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden is also
in constant pursuit of the development and deployment of new energy sources like solar, wind, and biomass. I have been a consistent supporter of expanded funding for both institutions and their essential work towards mitigating global climate change.
Source: Campaign website, www.markudall.com
Aug 16, 2008
Moral obligation to be good stewards of natural environment
I believe Coloradans have a special bond with the land. Most would also agree that we have a moral obligation to be good stewards of our natural environment and conserve it for future generations. As the Executive Director of the Colorado Outward
Bound School, I had the opportunity to teach (and learn from) many young people in challenging landscapes throughout the West. It was always inspiring to see their enthusiasm for the natural environment.
Source: Campaign website, www.markudall.com, “Issues”
Mar 2, 2008
Voted YES on environmental education grants for outdoor experiences.
Requires Environmental Education and Training program grantees to:
- ensure that environmental education programs and curricula advance the teaching of interdisciplinary courses that include strong field components;
- bring teachers into contact with working environmental professionals;
- encourage individuals traditionally underrepresented in environmental careers
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;
; vote number 2008-H614
on Sep 18, 2008
Voted YES on $9.7B for Amtrak improvements and operation thru 2013.
- Authorizes appropriations for FY2009-FY2013 for Amtrak capital and operating grants; Amtrak repayment of long-term debt and capital leases; and the rail cooperative research program.
- Authorizes grants for th
Indeed, these achievements are occurring when there is a greater need than ever for alternatives to our congested highways and skies. To alleviate this congestion and strengthen our energy security, we need to invest in intercity passenger rail.
Reference: Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act;
; vote number 2008-400
on Jun 11, 2008
Voted YES on increasing AMTRAK funding by adding $214M to $900M.
Voting YES on this amendment would restore $214 million in funding for AMTRAK, bringing the total annual expenditure for AMTRAK to $1.114 billion. The chairman of the Railroad Subcommittee explained the increase as follows:
Opponents of the amendment say that it would increase funding for Amtrak by gutting and eliminating critical programs, including safety programs, resulting in reductions in force at several agencies.
Reference: Department of Transportation appropriations;
Bill HR 5576 Amendment 1008
; vote number 2006-263
on Jun 13, 2006
- Unlike aviation, highways and transit, there is no dedicated funding for investing in our Nation's passenger rail service. This amendment restores $214 million to the Amtrak account, taking it to $1.114 billion, which is still about $300 million less than we had during the course of last year's discussion.
- Last year the President sent up a budget of zero for Amtrak. We had an amendment process that we went through this time. This time we are up to $900 million in the bill [without this amendment].
- But if you look at that $900 million, there is only $500 million for capital expenditures, out of which has to come a debt service of $280 million, which only leaves $220 million for the capital needs of this country for Amtrak, for passenger rail.
- There is nothing for
operation, and I know that the response to that is going to be that there are some incentive grants in the bill.
Voted YES on barring website promoting Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump.
An amendment to prohibit funding the "Yucca Mountain Youth Zone" website. Voting YES indicates opposition to using Yucca Mountain as the national nuclear waste repository. The amendment's sponsor says:
I would like to introduce the American people to the newest member of the Bush administration's energy policy team. His name is Yucca Mountain Johnny. He is the star of the Energy Department's Yucca Mountain Youth Zone Web site devoted to brainwashing school children into believing that burying the Nation's nuclear garbage 90 miles from Los Vegas is safe.
- The Web site features games and activities to make high level nuclear waste fun. High level nuclear waste is not fun. It is dangerous, and the Department of Energy should not be using taxpayer money for a propaganda tool.
- I would probably not be as upset with Joe Camel, excuse me, Yucca Mountain Johnny, if there was a more balanced approach on this Web site. It doesn't talk about the potential of accidents or being an inviting target for
terrorists. It doesn't talk about the fact that Yucca Mountain is in a volcanic and seismic zone area. It doesn't say anything about the existence of safer and cheaper alternatives.
- Among Yucca Mountain Johnny's witty sayings, he says, "The worst mistake is never making one." Well, Yucca Mountain is a mistake. This Web site is a mistake. Yucca Mountain Johnny is a mistake, and to promote the proposed nuclear waste repository to our children under the guise of education is a big mistake.
The amendment's opponents respond:
Reference: Energy and water development appropriations bill;
Bill HR 5427 Amendment 919
; vote number 2006-200
on May 24, 2006
- To my knowledge, nobody has questioned the accuracy or truth of what is on the Web site. My guess is that most of the children that access this website use it for term papers and papers in their classrooms that they have to do on nuclear power.
- Whether you oppose or support the repository, we should at least want the facts out to our children and adults who wish to use that same Web site about just what exactly it is.
Voted NO on deauthorizing "critical habitat" for endangered species.
To amend and reauthorize the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to provide greater results conserving and recovering listed species, and for other purposes, including:
Reference: Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act;
Bill HR 3824
; vote number 2005-506
on Sep 29, 2005
- Repealing the authority to designate an area as “critical habitat” for an endangered species
- Requiring the Secretary of the Interior to create “recovery plans” within two years of classifying species as endangered or threatened
- Allowing recovery agreements with private citizens whose land may be part of a species recovery plan
- Issuing grants to support private property owners who voluntarily help to increase the number of endangered or threatened species on their private land
- Providing compensation in an amount no less than fair market value to private landowners who have had regulation imposed upon their land
- Calling upon the Secretary to submit an annual cost analysis of the previous years spending to Congress, including the amount of Federal and State funds used for each species
Voted YES on speeding up approval of forest thinning projects.
Vote to adopt the conference report on the bill that would reduce and expedite (speed up) environmental and judicial reviews of forest thinning projects. The bill would authorize $760 million a year from fiscal 2004 to fiscal 2008. The Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service would have the authorization to remove vegetation that could cause or assist the spread of wildfires, disease or insect infestation. All forest thinning project would come after public meetings had been held. Forest thinning would be restricted to land that is within a 1.5 miles of at-risk communities , high-risk land that serves as a home for threatened and endangered species, high-risk land in the area of municipal water sources and and high-risk land that is specifically susceptible to disease or insect infestation.
Reference: Healthy Forests Restoration Act;
Bill HR 1904
; vote number 2003-656
on Nov 21, 2003
Establish a grassland reserve program to conserve grassland.
Udall co-sponsored establishing a grassland reserve program to conserve grassland
Establishes a grassland reserve program for land that is or has historically been natural grass or shrubland and has significant potential for animal or plant restoration. Sets forth provisions respecting landowner easement payments and permitted and prohibited practices.
Congress finds the following:
Source: Grassland Reserve Act (H.R.1689) 01-H1689 on May 2, 2001
- Vast grassland once provided critical habitat for complex plant and animal communities throughout much of North America.
- Today, grassland areas have been largely converted to other uses, threatening and eliminating plant and animal communities unique to North America.
- A significant portion of the remaining grassland is on working ranches.
- Ranchers have an economic interest in preserving the remaining grassland as forage for their livestock.
- Many ranchers are also concerned about losing the open spaces and 'big sky' central to the ranching way of life.
Apart from the loss of grassland, ranches themselves have steadily disappeared through the years and are likely to disappear at a faster rate in the immediate decade as a generation of ranchers reach retirement age.
- Ranch land provides important open-space buffers for animal and plant habitat.
- Ranching forms the economic backbone for much of the rural area of the western United States.
- Currently, there are no Federal programs that conserve grassland, ranch land, or other land with comparable high resource value, other than wetland, on a national scale.
- A grassland reserve program would provide important economic assistance to ranchers and other agricultural producers who may be struggling financially and who may voluntarily decide that participating in the program would be to their advantage.
Rated 100% by the LCV, indicating pro-environment votes.
Udall scores 100% 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
Promote conservation of rare felids & canids.
Udall co-sponsored promoting conservation of rare felids & canids
To assist in the conservation of rare felids and rare canids by supporting and providing financial resources for the conservation programs of nations within the range of rare felid and rare canid populations and projects of persons with demonstrated expertise in the conservation of rare felid and rare canid populations. Congress finds the following:
Source: Great Cats and Rare Canids Act (H.R.1464) 07-H1464 on Mar 9, 2007
- Many wild populations of felids and canids, once considered common, are in decline, and many have declined to the point that their long-term survival in the wild is in serious jeopardy.
- Of the 37 wild felid species worldwide, all are currently recognized as species in need of protection. Of the 35 wild canid species worldwide, nearly 50% are recognized as in need of such protection.
- In addition to their intrinsic value, felids and canids are important aesthetic, economic, and ecological global resources that need to be conserved.
Large felids and canids are considered both keystone and indicator species. Healthy populations of these species act as an important indicator of the integrity of entire ecosystems.
- Rare felids and rare canids face an array of threats, including loss of habitat and natural prey, intentional and unintentional takings by humans, disease transmission, and a vast number of other threats. These threats need to be addressed in a coordinated fashion.
- The purposes of this Act are to provide financial resources and to foster international cooperation (1) to restore and perpetuate healthy populations of rare felids and rare canids in the wild; and (2) to assist in the conservation of rare felid and rare canid populations worldwide.
- Related bills: H.R.1913, S.1033
Strengthen prohibitions against animal fighting.
Udall co-sponsored strengthening prohibitions against animal fighting
Sen. CANTWELL. I reintroduce today the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2007. This legislation has won the unanimous approval of the Senate several times, but unfortunately has not yet reached the finish line.
There is no doubt, animal fighting is terribly cruel. Dogs and roosters are drugged to make them hyper-aggressive and forced to keep fighting even after suffering severe injuries such as punctured eyes and pierced lungs. It's all done for "entertainment" and illegal gambling. Some dogfighters steal pets to use as bait for training their dogs, while others allow trained fighting dogs to roam neighborhoods and endanger the public.
The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act will strengthen current law by making the interstate transport of animals for the purpose of fighting a felony and increase the punishment to three years of jail time. This is necessary because the current misdemeanor penalty has proven ineffective--considered a "cost of doing business"
by those in the animal fighting industry which continues unabated nationwide.
These enterprises depend on interstate commerce, as evidenced by the animal fighting magazines that advertise and promote them. Our bill also makes it a felony to move cockfighting implements in interstate or foreign commerce. These are razor-sharp knives known as "slashers" and ice pick-like gaffs designed exclusively for cockfights and attached to the birds' legs for fighting.
This is long overdue legislation. It's time to get this felony animal fighting language enacted. It's time for Congress to strengthen the federal law so that it can provide as a meaningful deterrent against animal fighting. Our legislation does not expand the federal government's reach into a new area, but simply aims to make current law more effective. It is explicitly limited to interstate and foreign commerce, so it protects states' rights in the two states where cockfighting is still allowed.
Source: Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act (S.261/H.R.137) 2007-S261 on Jan 4, 2007
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Page last updated: Oct 02, 2009