"As a Member of Congress, as an American, and as a father, I feel a keen sense of obligation to care for our environment and the other creatures that share the Earth with us. As President Theodore Roosevelt said, ‘The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.’" – Congressman Adam Schiff
Topics in this section:
- Protecting Constituents from Harmful Chromium 6
- Restoring the LA River
- Climate Change
- Protecting Wilderness Lands and Preserving Endangered Wildlife
Protecting Constituents from Harmful Chromium 6
Rep. Schiff has long been committed to protecting Southern Californians and Americans from the harmful Chromium 6 compound. In 2010, we learned that past practices of the aerospace industry in Southern California had exposed millions of Southern Californians to Chromium 6 through their drinking water. In 2001, Schiff requested a National Toxicology Program study to determine whether Chromium 6 can cause cancer when ingested through drinking water from the tap. The conclusion of that study – considered the gold standard in the scientific community – was that Chromium 6 was indeed carcinogenic. According to a 2010 draft, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Chromium 6 toxicology assessment has proposed classifying Chromium 6 as likely to cause cancer in humans when ingested over a lifetime.
It is undoubtedly clear that Chromium 6 is dangerous to health when consumed via drinking water but there are no current federal drinking water standards for Chromium 6 and the EPA has failed to act expeditiously to set a national drinking water regulation to protect American families from this harmful compound. In February of 2012, the EPA announced that it was delaying the updating of national drinking water standards by three years. Local water agencies have shown that they will not take the steps necessary to protect millions of children and families across the country from the harmful effects of Chromium 6 if the EPA does not take action to establish new national drinking water standards first.
As a safeguard, Schiff introduced the Protecting Pregnant Women and Children from Hexavalant Chromium Act in 2012 to require the EPA to set a health advisory for the chemical 90 days after the bill becomes law that is protective of pregnant women, infants, and children. It would require the EPA to set a new federal drinking water standard within 12 months for Chromium 6 that protects pregnant women, infants, and children on the basis of the health advisory set forth by the new law.
Restoring the Los Angeles River
Restoring the Los Angeles River has long been a priority of Rep. Schiff’s, and he has worked with the City of Los Angeles and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urging them to develop a plan to restore the Los Angeles River. Revitalizing the Los Angeles River would restore a continuous, functioning ecosystem along the River corridor that could support birds, mammals and fish. A system of pathways and overlooks would be created to provide public access, along with bicycle and pedestrian connections to green space. The project would help create much-needed jobs in the hard-hit construction industry, and space for families and communities to congregate.
Schiff has used his seat on the House Appropriations Committee to secure strong funding for programs to complete the U.S. Corp of Army Engineers study, so the project can finally proceed to the construction phase. Schiff has also supported successful efforts for the Los Angeles River to be recognized as an America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) project and appeared along with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to celebrate this designation. This designation will help bring federal agencies together along with community members to preserve the Los Angeles River for future generations to enjoy.
Rep. Schiff believes that human activities contributing to climate change is a proven phenomenon with immense consequences for our environment, food supply, and global economy. Schiff supports measures to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels which pollute our environment and release greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. In 2009, Schiff supported the American Clean Energy and Security Act, H.R. 2454, which would require electric utilities to meet 20% of their electricity demand through renewable energy sources and energy efficiency by 2020, and invests in new clean energy technologies. The bill would also mandate new energy-saving standards for buildings, appliances, and industry and implement a cap-and-trade regime to reduce carbon emissions from major polluters by 17% by 2020 and over 80% by 2050, compared to 2005 levels.
Protecting Wilderness Lands and Preserving Endangered Wildlife
Believing that wilderness lands, including the Southern California foothills, are treasures that we must continually work to preserve for our children and our children’s children to enjoy, Schiff has supported many efforts to preserve wilderness lands across the country. Schiff introduced and passed the landmark Rim of the Valley Corridor Study Act, legislation that commissioned a study on the feasibility of expanding the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to include the mountains and canyons in the Rim of the Valley Corridor. The Corridor consists of parts of the Santa Monica Mountains, Santa Susanna Mountains, San Gabriel Mountains, Verdugo Mountains, San Rafael Hills, and adjacent connector areas to the Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests—in essence many of the hills and mountains surrounding Burbank, Glendale, and other communities in our area. This bill became law in 2008, and the National Park Service has now commenced the study, and Schiff is working to ensure its success. For more information on the study, click here.
In addition to preserving natural land, Schiff strongly supports the protection of endangered species, wherever they live. The Multinational Species Conservation Fund helps protect endangered African and Asian elephants, rhinoceros, tigers, great apes, and marine turtles from extinction. These animals are endangered due to habitat loss and poaching, and this funding provides for on-the-ground conservation programs around the world. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Schiff has strongly advocated fully funding this program for many years. Schiff also cosponsored and helped pass the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act, which would protect wolves and great cats such as lions, leopards, and cheetahs from habitat degradation and other threats.