Energy and Environment
Rep. Chu on a fly fishing trip in the San Gabriels with veterans and members of San Gabriel Mountains Forever.
Our economy is inextricably intertwined with our long-term energy and conservation strategies. By investing in renewable energy and protecting our natural wonders, we not only put Americans back to work, we preserve our planet and our natural resources for future generations.
I hold a deep appreciation for the natural environment and am greatly concerned about the dangers of climate change. That is why I am committed to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, promoting policies that keep our air and water clean, supporting a marketplace where green energy technologies and jobs can thrive, protecting our environment through conservation, and connecting communities to the outdoors.
The San Gabriel Mountains are often the only place that the two million urbanized residents of the San Gabriel Valley can go to hike, camp, and enjoy the outdoors. These rugged mountains provide over 70% of LA County’s open space and host over 3 million visitors a year. Meanwhile, the surrounding region is one of the most park-poor in the country.
As beautiful as these mountains are, they are in critical need of safe and proper facilities, clean up efforts, and educational programs. San Gabriel Valley residents and environmental groups have pushed for additional conservation, resources, and facilities in the Mountains and throughout the San Gabriel River Watershed to protect the natural resources we have left and expand recreational opportunities for communities in the region.
My efforts to protect San Gabriel Valley’s natural resources include:
Introduced legislation to expand federal resources and protections for the San Gabriel Mountains. In June 2014, I introduced the San Gabriel National Recreation Area Act (H.R. 4858), which would establish a comprehensive national recreation area to provide additional protection and resources for the San Gabriel Mountains. In response to legislation introduced by former Rep. Hilda Solis, the National Parks Service (NPS) commissioned a special resource study of the San Gabriel River Watershed and the San Gabriel Mountains. On completion of the study I worked closely with a wide range of local stakeholders and representatives from to draft legislation that reflects our local priorities. Now, I am urging Congress to take up this bill and I am working with the White House to secure permanent protections for the mountains.
In October 2014, President Obama acted on my call for permanent protection for the San Gabriel Mountains and declared 346,000 acres as the nation's newest national monument! Immediately after the new status was announced, over $4 million were pledged by various groups to help improve this area. This change, the biggest since 1908, is a crucial step at making our treasured mountains, rivers, and forests a national priority, but it is just a first step. I will continue to push for more protections and resources through my NRA bill. You can see the map of the new San Gabriel Monument here.
• Introduced legislation to revitalize the San Gabriel Watershed. For decades, the San Gabriel River has performed essential flood protection, drinking water recharge and storm water conservation functions. Residents have expressed a growing desire to rediscover the river and offer more of its benefits to all the communities along its route. That’s why I introduced the San Gabriel Watershed Restoration Act in the 111th and 113th Congress to study how we can improve the river and expand its use. The study will look at revitalizing the San Gabriel River Watershed, focusing on ecosystem restoration, outdoor recreation enhancements, and ways to conserve rainwater and keep our water clean. I will continue to introduce this bill until it is brought to the House floor for a vote!
I also consistently cosponsor legislation to protect and preserve nature, including protecting endangered species, providing funding for international conservation efforts, protecting forests, marine environments, and the many delicate natural habitats in need of our help.
Defending Clean Air, Water, and Public Lands
I am continually pressing Congress and the Administration in support of robust air and water pollution standards called for by the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. I am a champion in Washington, D.C. for Los Angeles River revitalization as well.
Unfortunately, the House of Representatives has pushed legislation attacking the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to protect Americans from pollution under the Clean Air and Water Acts.
Pollutants in the air significantly threaten public health and the environment. They also seep into water sources, contaminating the water people drink and the fish people eat. Reducing pollution in our air and water will lead to trillions in savings from fewer healthcare costs and lost work days, less environmental cleanup, and less environmental damage down the line. It also creates jobs as facilities upgrade and new technology develops. That is why I have spoken out numerous times against anti-environmental bills and policy riders, and any policies that attack the environment.
I am committed to supporting clean energy development in America, and have made the switch to reduce my own impact on our environment and energy security by driving a hybrid vehicle.
The U.S. pioneered many of the clean energy technologies that are growing around the world. Now, we need to reinstate our leadership in this cutting-edge field to help rebuild our economy, create new skilled jobs, spur energy savings for American families, and reduce our dependence on oil. Even the Department of Defense has recognized that we cannot afford to let the Green Revolution pass us by.
I support modernizing our electric grid in order to manage our energy usage more intelligently and efficiently and incorporating greater energy efficiency into our buildings and build materials. I also support incentives for clean technologies, research, and innovation so that we can achieve meaningful breakthroughs that will make clean energy affordable and available to all Americans. And I support building a robust, competitive clean energy workforce.
Healthy oceans are an integral part of a healthy environment. Our oceans and coasts are also major contributors to our economy, food supply, and recreation opportunities for local communities and visitors alike. In California, our active coastline is one of our greatest natural treasures, and a critical source of business through trade, tourism, and fishing.
That is why I have consistently opposed offshore oil drilling in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic waters around the United States. These are fragile, volatile environments where oil spill mitigation is difficult and no measures are currently in place to provide a rapid, adequate response in an emergency. An oil spill in the Pacific would ravage our shipping and fishing lanes, and oil on our shores would cripple our booming tourist economy.
Likewise, new or expanded oil drilling into protected public lands like the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge would hurt communities that thrive off a robust tourist economy, and destroy priceless American landscapes, for which we are renowned.
I believe in exploring alternatives, instead of oil, and I believe America has the ingenuity to lead the way.
More on Energy and Environment
Washington, D.C. – Today, President Donald Trump introduced his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018. The proposal makes serious cuts to domestic programs and to the Department of State’s diplomacy and development programs, while increasing spending on the military, a deportation force, and a border wall. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) released the following statement:
Washington, DC – Today, the House passed S. 612, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. This bill authorizes water resources development projects and authorizes funding to address the Flint water crisis and other health threats associated with lead and other contaminants in public drinking water systems. Under this bill, Los Angeles, California will receive $373.4 million for ecosystem restoration on the Los Angeles River, and Flint, Michigan will receive $170 million in authorization for the drinking water crisis.
Accomplishments During the 114th Congress (2014-2016)
Bringing more federal resources to the San Gabriel Valley is one of my top priorities. This is why I partner with federal agencies to ensure that we have access to federal programs and funding that could benefit our region. I am proud to have worked with these agencies and the President’s Administration on the following initiatives.
Washington, DC – On Wednesday night, the House passed H.R. 5303, the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA), a bill which authorizes and revises 27 water resources development projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The final version of WRDA passed by the House included $1.36 billion to help restoration and recreational projects on the Los Angeles River as well as $170 million to assist with the water crisis in Flint, MI. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) voted for the legislation and released the following statement: