We must encourage clean energy alternatives for powering our nation, moving away from dirty fossil fuels, particularly those from foreign sources. We must also better address the tremendous challenges of protecting our environment and addressing manmade global climate change. With these goals in mind, I chose to serve on the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy as a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, one of the most important committees in Congress.
RENEWABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY EFFORTS
Since my time on the Los Angeles City Council, I have been a champion of the environment and a proud advocate for renewable energy. In 2004, I joined my friend (now Secretary of State) Alex Padilla to ensure that the L.A. Department of Water and Power will obtain 20 percent of its energy portfolio from renewable energy sources by the year 2017. As I began my last term on the City Council, L.A. not only met the goal of 20 percent renewables but set a new goal, to move to 35 percent renewables by 2020.
My support for the environment is not just lip service. Thanks to my support for important environmental legislation, I have maintained a 92 percent lifetime score on the League of Conservation Voters legislative scorecard. I've also earned a 100 percent grade from the Defenders of Wildlife.
Environmental Justice refers to the efforts to prevent or mediate polluting industries in poor and underserved communities. In L.A., I created the Sun Valley Environmental Justice Improvement Zone. This Zone, the first of its kind in the country, was designed to help create a more focused effort toward bringing the people of Sun Valley have a brighter, healthier future. The Zone is designed to help improve air quality for the families who live in an area where far more middle school-aged children than average have asthma and related conditions. Finally, I pushed to close landfills, and turn former brownfields into open space or return them to good use for commercial development.
Californians are facing a record drought. This loss of water has been so extreme that statewide restrictions have now been issued to drastically reduce our water usage. While steps are being taken through government efforts, we all need to be a part of the solution.
We can't create the rain, but we can take actions in our everyday lives to create a meaningful impact on reducing water usage. While we all must reduce our water usage at home to help the state survive the drought, we can also make small, but important lifestyle changes that will help.