Issue Position: Energy and the Environment
America's energy infrastructure is a critical part of building a better future for all of us. Our economy and our families depend on reliable access to affordable energy. At a time when climate change represents a real and growing crisis, we also have an opportunity: We can build new, clean energy infrastructure that supports jobs and our economy, protects our public health, and safeguards our environment.
Right now, Washington is going in the wrong direction. It hands out massive tax breaks to big oil companies that are among the most profitable corporations in the world, while people in Massachusetts and across the country pay the price. That's not how we build a future.
The choice before us is simple. Will we continue to subsidize the dirty fossil fuels of the past, or will we transition to the clean, renewable energy of the 21st century and the economic and environmental gains it will bring?
Climate change: The debate is over
The scientific consensus is clear: Climate change is happening. The driving cause is emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases from humans burning fossil fuels. It threatens our environment and natural resources, our families' health, and our coastal communities. And it is putting our children's future at risk.
Climate change is also a national security threat. Defense Secretary Mattis has noted that climate change "is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today." Meanwhile, our reliance on oil and gas puts us at risk of being entangled in wars we don't want or need.
Too many politicians in Washington are buried under piles of campaign contributions from Big Oil and Big Coal -- industries that have long relied on multi-billion-dollar tax handouts and whose lobbying efforts have blocked real change time and again. We have a president who has called climate change a hoax and climate research a waste of time. At a time when the world is uniting to fight climate change, President Trump has refused to lead. Instead, by telling the world that America will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, President Trump has chosen to retreat.
Coastal communities like those in Massachusetts simply don't have time for politicians who deny science. Our fishermen and farmers don't have time for more phony debates. It's time to stop the government handouts to fossil fuel giants. It's time to stop exploiting federal lands and pumping pollution into the air. It's time to stop padding corporate profits at our children's expense. It's time to act.
A clean energy economy
We are a nation that builds for the future. And when it comes to energy, our future is in renewables. Investing in clean energy technology is investing in our health, in our environment, in our national security, and in our economy.
Right now, renewable energy competes with fossil fuels that get lots of special breaks from Washington. But we know that we can generate electricity with alternative energy sources like wind, solar, and hydropower. We also know that we can make energy usage far more efficient. We can commit ourselves to clean energy and energy efficiency now -- by ending tax subsidies for fossil fuel companies, choosing to invest in clean energy tax incentives and grants to help local communities transition to clean energy sources, and increasing federal support for energy efficiency programs that protect consumers and help low-income families weatherize their homes. If we invest now in a 21st century energy future, over time the costs of production will fall for businesses. In fact, it's already happening.
Massachusetts is leading the charge in building a clean energy economy, with more than 100,000 clean energy jobs -- and we're just getting started. Many of the brilliant and hardworking scientists, engineers, and builders who are transforming our national energy landscape are doing it right here in the Bay State. Clean energy means good jobs, and I want to see these jobs continue to multiply in the years ahead.
Conserving the environment for our children
Our public lands belong to everyone -- including future generations. My husband Bruce and I love hiking, and we enjoy exploring everywhere from the Cape to the Berkshires. Protecting these places of natural beauty from giant companies who simply want to strip our public resources for their own benefit is a challenge faced by every generation -- and a moral duty we owe to our children and grandchildren. We must also defend our wildlife, and fight to ensure the Trump Administration doesn't turn back the clock on key protections that maintain natural diversity. This means permanently funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund; protecting advancements made under the Endangered Species Act; and ensuring that the Environmental Protection Agency has the funding and the leadership it needs to hold corporate polluters accountable.
Conserving the environment isn't just a moral imperative. It's also an economic one. Hundreds of thousands of people enjoy the Commonwealth's public lands every year, sustaining a thriving tourism industry and plenty of good-paying jobs across Massachusetts.
Protecting our oceans
Climate change is endangering our oceans, with ocean temperatures and acidity rising sharply and delicate ecosystems facing existential threats.
The Atlantic Ocean is powerfully important to Massachusetts' fishing and tourism industries. But President Trump has said that we should open the Atlantic Coast to offshore drilling, which would put millions of jobs and billions of dollars in economic output at risk. This is part of a disastrous strategy that also includes opening new areas to drilling in the Arctic.
Our coasts are too important to surrender to Big Oil executives who don't like to be told that anything is off-limits and who always push for more. It's a painful lesson that we keep re-learning every time another disaster strikes: Offshore drilling puts coastal communities at risk of suffering the consequences of a devastating oil spill, and it's a slap-in-the-face to our hardworking coastal families who depend on the ocean for their livelihoods.
It's time to transition our economy away from fossil fuels by investing in clean energy sources both onshore and offshore. That means passing legislation to stop new leasing of public lands for fossil fuel extraction. It also means ending decades of Big Oil handouts and, instead, doubling down on tax incentives for clean energy sources like offshore wind. Investments in clean energy infrastructure and coastal resiliency will grow our economy, and with our natural resources and technical expertise, Massachusetts can lead this clean energy revolution.
Environmental rights are civil rights. Every person in this country has a fundamental right to breathe clean air and drink clean water. But low-income and minority communities are disproportionately hurt by the impacts of climate change, poor air quality, and antiquated water infrastructure.
The concerns of these communities must be heard in Washington -- and we must take action. Regulatory decisions about new energy infrastructure in our communities -- whether it's a pipeline, a compressor station, or a new chemical plant -- must be made by government agencies focused on the concerns of working people. Government agencies must work for us, not for the industries they're supposed to be regulating. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission should be focused first and foremost on public safety and security. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission can no longer be allowed to ignore the voices of local communities when making decisions about pipeline approval.
The Environmental Protection Agency is the cop-on-the-beat that is supposed to protect us from corporate polluters who put profits ahead of safety. Under the Trump Administration, the EPA is abandoning its mission, slashing its workforce of dedicated public servants, ignoring science, and putting corporate profits ahead of commonsense protections for our families and the environment.
The EPA needs to return to putting public health first. We need a strong EPA because pollution doesn't confine itself to state borders. Coal that is burned in other states winds up in the lungs of children in Massachusetts -- and one in twelve kids in America have asthma. It's up to the EPA to research, monitor, and regulate toxic chemicals produced by industry. And it's up to all of us to demand that this critical agency does its job.
Making our voices heard on pipelines
Access to affordable energy is an important priority -- and so are the safety of our communities and the preservation of our environment. I've worked to make Massachusetts' voice heard on debates concerning proposed pipeline projects, and when these projects pose serious safety and environmental concerns, I have opposed them, as I did with the LNG storage expansion in Acushnet, a compressor station in Weymouth, and pipeline expansions in West Roxbury and Western Massachusetts.