California is known for its beautiful mountains, shoreline, and diverse landscape. As a member of the Science, Space and Technology Committee and the Subcommittee on Environment, I am in the unique position to work with my colleagues to help protect the environment by working to ensure clean air and water for future generations to come, combating climate change, and promoting scientific innovation, technology and clean energy sources.
Clean Air and Water
When I was a child, I remember clear and beautiful sunny days, but over the years the air quality in Riverside County has degraded. I will work to ensure that we do all that we can to reverse the impact of pollution, so generations to come can enjoy the Riverside County I knew as a child. Working with my colleagues from the Inland Empire, I believe we can do this by coming together to improve and expand both the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Originally passed in 1963 and expanded in the following years, the Clean Air Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to enforce regulations to protect the public from hazardous airborne contaminants. The Clean Water Act, passed in 1972, protects our waters sources to make sure they are drinkable and swimmable. Both pieces of legislation are critical to the health and well-being of our Inland community and I am committed to supporting and protecting legislation that ensures the health of our environment for generations to come.
Climate change is real and is one of the most serious issues we face as a global community. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Earth's average temperature has risen by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century and is projected to rise between 2 to 11.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century. Though small, these changes in temperature can have a tremendous effect on our planet. We have already seen the impact. From changes in weather patterns, to an increase in droughts, floods, and superstorms, we know that the ice caps will continue to melt and water levels will continue to rise if we do nothing to combat climate change. I am committed to policies that promote the research and development of alternative energy technologies, strengthening environmental standards that lower our emissions, and invest in initiatives that conserve energy and expand the use public transportation.
Scientific Innovation and Technology
California is the innovation destination of the world. We are the environmental problem solvers and pioneers in developing new reusable sources of energy. However, to maintain this status, we must continue to invest in policies that encourage scientific invention and the creation of new technology. This does not just mean promoting new research at the University of California, Riverside, but also advancing STEM education in K-12 education. Inspiration and interest in the sciences must be sparked at a young age, so our students will be prepared to join the green workforce of the future.
We must renew our commitment to a cleaner and more sustainable environment. As gas prices continue rise, the direct impact is felt daily, especially in Southern California. While I am supportive of efforts to responsibly expand our domestic production of traditional fossil fuels, I believe we must acknowledge that domestic oil and natural gas production are at some of their highest levels ever -- yet high gas prices persist. Drilling alone will not be enough to meet the energy needs of the 21st century and the development of clean and renewable sources of energy will have to be a large part of any real solution. Instead of spending billions of dollars on subsidies to some of the world's richest oil companies, I believe we need to invest those billions into the clean sources of energy like wind and solar that will power the future.
Battery and Energy Storage
Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric are now mandated by the California Public Utilities Commission to procure 1.3 gigawatts of energy storage to their grids by 2020, making 33% of their electricity come from renewable energy. This is approximately enough energy to power 1 million homes. This will help ensure that California can also meet its renewable energy goals and greenhouse gas reduction requirements. According to the DOE Global Energy Storage Database, there are 231 storage projects in California and 138 battery specific storage projects.
I believe that battery energy storage is the future of renewable energy and that cheap grid scale storage means that renewables can compete with fossil fuels on cost alone. Not only is this better for our environment, it makes our national grid more secure from natural disasters. I recently introduced H.R. 3263, the Battery Storage Innovation Act to support the development of the battery storage industry and am Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Battery Energy Storage Caucus.
Water Resources Reform and Development Act
In 2014, I voted for the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), the first water resources bill to pass the House of Representatives since 2007. It is critical to ensure a state of good repair for our nation's water infrastructure and I was encouraged to see this piece of legislation pass the House with overwhelming bipartisan support.