Protecting our environment is critical to the stability of the nation. Implementing eco-friendly policies will not only improve the quality of life for our residents —it will provide a pathway for economic revitalization and the strengthening of our national security. As a country, we must prioritize the implementation of comprehensive environmental policies that reflect our values. In so doing, we will achieve the goals of protecting our people as well as our planet.
Green-collar Jobs Create Pathways Out of Poverty
Green technologies are spurring economic growth in a variety of ways. As more and more Americans realize the benefits of using renewable energies, demand for green technologies has skyrocketed.
Locally, there are a variety of programs, including Oakland's Green Jobs Corps, that have promoted job training for environmentally-focused careers such as electricians who install solar panels, construction workers who build energy-efficient green buildings, and plumbers who install solar water heaters. In addition, Congresswoman Lee supports the Green Jobs for All program that has empowered local youth to take a role in providing and benefiting from green job training in their East Bay neighborhoods.
Addressing Environmental Justice in Our Society
Numerous studies confirm what we know to be true: working-class, minority communities are burdened with more environmental hazards than rich neighborhoods. Disproportionally, minority communities feel the brunt of construction for hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities. In addition, these communities face environmental injustice in the form of smaller parks/fewer green, open spaces that are less accessible and of poorer quality.
Congresswoman Lee supports legislation to establish more stringent oversight of waste and hazardous waste incinerators, increase education of environmental justice in middle and high schools that serve disadvantaged students and establish Environmental Justice Offices for every federal agency. In Congress, she has co-sponsored legislation to ensure that federal agencies take actions to assess and improve the health impacts and environmental quality of communities they serve. Locally, Congresswoman Lee has worked with Caltrans and the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the lead, benzene and chromium in Prescott Park.
Global Warming—A Mounting Threat
Global warming represents a very real, serious environmental crisis for us all. We must recognize that the United States is the world's single largest emitter of CO2, and we must work to develop comprehensive policies to address this ongoing crisis.
Since the cause of global warming is known - the emission of greenhouse gases, mostly CO2 from burning fossil fuels like oil and coal – Congresswoman Lee believes it is important to develop protocols that will reduce the creation and emission of greenhouse gases.
Increasing Transportation Efficiency
According the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, about 30% of all human-generated CO2 emissions result from fossil fuel use in transportation. For this reason, we must build a strong network of pedestrian, bicycle, and public transportation in our cities. Because there are parts of the country where motor vehicles must be used, Congresswoman Lee believes we should invest in technologies that increase mileage per gallon, or that run on low or no-carbon fuels.