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Matt Cartwright on Environment

 

 


Sponsored tightening restrictions on hydrogen sulfide emissions.

Cartwright co-sponsored BREATHE Act

Congressional Summary:This Act may be cited as the 'Bringing Reductions to Energy's Airborne Toxic Health Effects Act' or the BREATHE Act.

Proponent's argument for bill: (StopTheFrackAttack.org, July 2012 BREATHE Act Fact Sheet):

The BREATHE Act would close two exemptions in the Clean Air Act (CAA) that threaten the health of communities wrestling with oil and gas production in their backyard. The CAA established limits for major pollution sources; smaller sources of pollutants that are controlled by a single operator, located close to each other, are "aggregated" and considered as one source of emissions. Unfortunately, the CAA exempts oil and gas wells from aggregation. The BREATHE Act would apply the CAA to oil & gas production.

A 1993 EPA Report to Congress on Hydrogen Sulfide Air Emissions Associated with the Extraction of Oil and Natural Gas clear

Source: H.R.1154 13-H1154 on Mar 14, 2013

Require labeling genetically engineered food.

Cartwright 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_H1699 on Apr 24, 2013

Extend to 2023 Superfund hazardous waste cleanup.

Cartwright co-sponsored Superfund Reinvestment Act

Congressional summary: Authorizes the use of funds in the Hazardous Substance Superfund for environmental cleanup costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA). Provides that disbursements of the Hazardous Substance Superfund:

  1. shall not be counted as new deficit for purposes of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, or the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010;
  2. shall be exempt from any general budget limitations; and
  3. shall be available only for the purposes specified in CERCLA.
      Authorizes Superfund through Dec. 31, 2023.

      Proponent's argument in favor (Sponsor's introductory remarks): Last week, the House passed legislation [outlined below] to weaken and fragment the already underfunded federal Superfund program. I am reintroducing legislation to reauthorize Superfund taxes on polluting industries; and provide more funds to clean up toxic waste sites. The Superfund program has resulted in the cleanup of more than 1,000 toxic waste sites. In the majority of cases, EPA works with the parties who have been found responsible for the pollution and they pay for the cleanup. [My bill] will reinstate Superfund taxes [on oil, chemicals, and corporations] to their previous levels.

      Opponent's argument against: (Chamber of Commerce's July 29 2013 letter supporting those House-passed bills): The US Chamber of Commerce strongly supports HR2279, the "Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act;" HR2318, the "Federal Facility Accountability Act;" and HR2226, the "Federal and State Partnership for Environmental Protections Act." These three bills aim at modernizing CERCLA. HR2279 removes two impractical and unnecessary deadlines. HR2318 ensures that the federal government is a "good neighbor" when operating a superfund cleanup site. HR2226 would clarify that EPA must consult with the state when selecting a remedial action.

      Source: H.R.3870 14-H3870 on Jan 14, 2014

      Create database on algal blooms in the Great Lakes.

      Cartwright co-sponsored H.R.349

      Congressional Summary: A bill to create a database of information on the causes and corrective actions with regard to algal blooms in the Great Lakes, and tributaries to the Great Lakes

      Supporters reasons for voting YEA: Rep LATTA: "While quality work and research have been done to mitigate the effects of harmful algal blooms in our Great Lakes, a comprehensive information system does not exist. This information system would track and study the causes of toxin-producing algal blooms, the factors and conditions that cause them to bloom in excess, and the effectiveness of mitigation efforts to ensure these waters remain healthy."

      Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (Cleveland Plain-Dealer article 2/3/15): President Obama's proposed federal budget includes Great Lakes spending cuts. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is the long-term plan to rid the Great Lakes of toxic pollutants. The plan strives to find ways to reduce runoff which can foul the water and create algal blooms that make drinking water harmful. The best evidence of the problem is last summer's algal bloom on Lake Erie--the water looked fluorescent green--that led to a ban on drinking water in Toledo. Protecting this resource requires a concerted, multi-party effort, proponents say. Yet such an effort had been lacking. The GLRI's $20 billion price tag was rejected as unrealistic as the United States was paying for other priorities including wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      OnTheIssues explanation: This bill had no opponents speak out; it simply died in Committee. This bill was intended to earmark SOME spending on algae blooms, despite the spending cuts to the larger GLRI. The implication is that members of Congress consider other spending more important than mitigating algal blooms.

      Source: Great Lakes & Fresh Water Algal Bloom Information Act 15_H349 on Jan 14, 2015

      Require reporting lead in drinking water to the public.

      Cartwright co-sponsored H.R.4470

      Congressional Summary:

      • The EPA Administrator shall, in collaboration with operators of public water systems, establish a strategic plan for outreach, education, technical assistance, and risk communication to populations affected by lead in a public water system.
      • Each operator of a public water system shall identify and provide notice to persons who may be affected by lead contamination of their drinking water, and corrosivity of the water supply sufficient to cause leaching of lead
      • In making information available to the public, the Administrator shall target groups within the general population that may be at greater risk than the general population of adverse health effects from exposure to lead in drinking water.
      OnTheIssues Notes: This bill responds to the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In April 2014, the city of Flint (with a large minority population) switched its drinking water supply from the Detroit-based system to a river-based system, to save the city money. In August 2014, residents began complaining about water discoloration and a bad taste and odor. The city of Flint insisted the water was safe, but by 2015, high levels of lead and other contaminants were found in the water. In Oct. 2015, Flint switched back to the Detroit water supply, using an emergency loan of $7 million from the state of Michigan; that switch should slowly clear up the contaminants. The issue was still volatile enough that a Republican primary debate was held in nearby Detroit on March 3, 2016, and a Democratic primary debate was held in Flint on March 6, 2016
      Source: Safe Drinking Water Act Improved Compliance Awareness Act 16-HR4470 on Feb 4, 2016

      Voted YES to require GMO labeling.

      Cartwright voted YEA DARK Act

      A BILL to require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a national disclosure standard for bioengineered foods.

      Cato Institute recommendation on voting YES: President Obama quietly signed legislation requiring special labeling for commercial foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs)--plants and animals with desirable genetic traits that were directly implanted in a laboratory. Most of the foods that humans & animals have consumed for millennia have been genetically modified, by cross-fertilization. Yet the new law targets only the highly precise gene manipulations done in laboratories. Anti-GMO activists oppose the new law because it preempts more rigorous regulation. And that's exactly the goal of this bill, to the frustration of the anti-GMO crowd.

      JustLabelit.org recommendation on voting NO (because not restrictive enough): Senators Roberts (R-KS) and Stabenow (D-MI) introduced a compromise bill that would create a mandatory, national labeling standard for GMO foods. This bill falls short of what consumers expect--a simple at-a-glance disclosure on the package. As written, this compromise might not even apply to ingredients derived from GMO soybeans and GMO sugar beets. We in the consumer rights community have dubbed this the "Deny Americans the Right-to-Know" Act (DARK Act). We need to continue pressing for mandatory GMO labeling on the package.

      Heritage Foundation recommendation on voting NO (because too restrictive): The House should allow [states, at their choice,] to impose [a more] restrictive labeling mandate, but prohibit the state from regulating out-of-state food manufacturers engaged in interstate commerce. Instituting a new, sweeping, federal mandate that isn't based on proven science shouldn't even be an option.

      Legislative outcome: Passed by the Senate on July 7th, passed by the House on July 14th; signed by the President on July 29th

      Source: Supreme Court case 16-S0764 argued on Jun 23, 2016

      2017-18 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Environment: Matt Cartwright on other issues:
      PA Gubernatorial:
      Allyson Schwartz
      John Fetterman
      Ken Krawchuk
      Mark Critz
      Michael Nutter
      Scott Wagner
      Tom Corbett
      Tom Wolf
      PA Senatorial:
      Bob Casey
      Everett Stern
      Jim Christiana
      Joe Sestak
      John Fetterman
      Katie McGinty
      Lou Barletta
      Pat Toomey
      Rick Saccone

      Freshman class of 2019:
      "Freshman class" means "not in Congress in January 2017", with exceptions:
      * Special election, so sworn in other than Jan. 2019
      ** Served in Congress in a previous term
      *** Lost recount or general election
      Freshman class of January 2019 (Republicans):
      AZ-8*:Lesko
      CA-39***:Kim
      FL-6:Waltz ; FL-15:Spano ; FL-17:Steube
      GA-7:Woodall
      ID-1**:Fulcher
      IN-4:Baird
      IN-6:Pence
      KS-2:Watkins
      MN-1:Hagedorn ; MN-8:Stauber
      MS-3:Guest
      MT-0*:Gianforte
      NC-9***:Harris
      ND-a:Armstrong
      NM-2***:Herrell
      OH-12*:Balderson ; OH-16:Gonzalez
      OK-1:Hern
      PA-9:Meuser ; PA-11**:Smucker ; PA-12*:Keller ; PA-13:Joyce ; PA-14:Reschenthaler
      SC-4:Timmons
      SD-0:Johnson
      TN-2:Burchett ; TN-6:Rose ; TN-7:Green
      TX-2:Crenshaw ; TX-3:Taylor ; TX-5:Gooden ; TX-6:Wright ; TX-21:Roy ; TX-27*:Cloud
      VA-5:Riggleman ; VA-6:Cline
      WI-1:Steil
      WV-3:Miller
      Freshman class of January 2019 (Democrats):
      AZ-2**:Kirkpatrick ; AZ-9:Stanton
      CA-49:Levin ; CA-10:Harder ; CA-21:Cox ; CA-25:Hill ; CA-39:Cisneros ; CA-45:Porter ; CA-48:Rouda
      CO-2:Neguse ; CO-6:Crow
      CT-5:Hayes
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      HI-1**:Case
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      IL-4:Garcia ; IL-6:Casten ; IL-14:Underwood
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      KY-6***:McGrath
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      MD-6:Trone
      ME-2:Golden
      MI-8:Slotkin ; MI-9:Levin ; MI-13:Tlaib ; MI-13*:Jones ; MI-11:Stevens
      MN-2:Craig ; MN-3:Phillips ; MN-5:Omar
      NC-9***:McCready
      NH-1:Pappas
      NJ-2:Van Drew ; NJ-3:Kim ; NJ-7:Malinowski ; NJ-11:Sherrill
      NM-1:Haaland ; NM-2:Torres Small
      NV-3:Lee ; NV-4**:Horsford
      NY-14:Ocasio-Cortez ; NY-11:Rose ; NY-19:Delgado ; NY-22:Brindisi ; NY-25:Morelle
      OK-5:Horn
      PA-4:Dean ; PA-5:Scanlon ; PA-6:Houlahan ; PA-7:Wild ; PA-17*:Lamb
      SC-1:Cunningham
      TX-7:Fletcher ; TX-16:Escobar ; TX-29:Garcia ; TX-32:Allred
      UT-4:McAdams
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      WA-8:Schrier
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      Page last updated: Jun 05, 2020