Cory Booker on Environment
Mayor of Newark; N.J. Senator; 2020 presidential contender (withdrawn)
BOOKER: Oh my gosh. Let's go right at this because I hear about it all the time: "Booker wants to take away your hamburger."
BOOKER: That is the kind of lies and fear-mongering that they spread out there, that somehow the Democrats want to get rid of hamburgers. Look, I am a vegan. I take my diet very seriously. I actually became a vegetarian when I was still a college football player. But this is the point: We live in a society right now, with the corporate consolidation that we're seeing, where the farming practices are becoming so perverse. And so let me tell you where we've got to go as a country. Freedom is one of the most sacred values--whatever you want to eat, go ahead and eat it. But I'm not going to be a president that's giving tax breaks to people who are destroying our environment.
BOOKER: The disasters--from Chernobyl to Japan--trust me, when you live in a community as New Jersey does with nuclear plants--and my mom who lives in Nevada and all the righteous fights to protect what they plan to do at Yucca Mountain, I'm very aware of these things. And so I decided, I'm going to read everything I can about nuclear, I'm going to visit with nuclear scientists, and this is the exciting thing. Next generation nuclear, where the science is going, is to me, at first it sounded like science fiction. Where the science is going right now is "new nuclear": where you have no risk of the kind of meltdowns we're seeing, where they eat spent fuel rods. We actually can go to the kind of innovations that make nuclear safer or safe.
BOOKER: We may be noticing the fires but the crisis of the disappearing of rainforest on this planet have been happening every single day. More and more rainforest is being torn down, principally by the way for grazing lands and large international corporate animal agriculture and more. We have a crisis at a time that my plan calls for the planting of billions and billions of trees from urban areas that desperately need them to all throughout our nation. And by the way, they hear that number and they say, "oh, he's a big dreamer." We did it under FDR which was the last time we had the most massive period of reforestation from something that I'm going to reinvigorate, called the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Booker: "Nuclear energy should be part of the decarbonization toolbox. Currently in the US, nuclear energy provides 60% of all carbon-free electricity. Next-generation advanced nuclear reactors currently being developed have the potential to play an important role in helping us decarbonize at the speed and scale that scientists are telling us is necessary to avoid the worst impacts from climate change."
Q: Do you support increasing federal funding for clean-energy research? How much money?
Booker: "In order to accelerate the development of technologies that can help us quickly decarbonize, I believe we should at least double federal funding for clean energy research. One research area in particular that we should fund is battery storage, which has a critical role to play as we continue to add exponentially more wind and solar power."
Within a couple of months I was astounded by the results. Active as I was, when I went vegetarian my body felt supercharged. I felt energy like I hadn't ever had before. My sleep improved, my recovery after workouts improved, and I felt lighter, stronger and more capable. I never looked back. 22 years later, after more reading, study and self-examination, I decided to try another experiment for the same reasons: from the day after Election Day 2014 until the end of that year, I would try being a vegan. It, too, would become an experiment that would stick.
In 1983 the EPA confirmed what was already know - that the extreme levels of contaminants at the Diamond Alkali plant and in the lower Passaic River posed a grave threat to human life. The EPA added the site to its National Priorities List of Superfund sites around the country, making it eligible for taxpayer-funded cleanup.
This was my environmental awakening [about externalizing pollution costs].
The destruction of the Passaic River is an example of the perversion of the free market. In theory, goods & services are to be priced according to the actual costs of production with an addition of incremental cost for profit. What actually happened in Newark and communities around the country--and continues to happen today--is that key costs of production were shifted onto society while the profits were kept by the enterprise. With their costs externalized, the enterprise's profits increase. In the case of the Passaic River, and in the cases of so many other national treasures, these externalized costs are paid for over and over again by one generation after another.
Cory Booker was an ardent critic of the arena and of most of James's development projects in 2002. He argued that James focused on downtown development at the expense of neighborhood development. He also thought that the arena project was wasteful.
When Booker was elected mayor in 2006, he tried to enjoin the ground-breaking for the arena. His request was denied, so he was stuck with having to make the best of what he perceived to be a bad situation. Booker's economic development office worked to try to make the arena as much of an economic boon as possible.
I'm inspired by stories [about public-private collaborations] because through similar alliances we're transforming life for the people of Newark. Our public-private partnership, GreenSpaces, has brought public parks within reach of thousands of our citizens for the first time in decades.
Discussion of pro/con (Huffington Post 4/25/2013):
Polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans--over 90%--supports mandatory labeling of foods with GE ingredients. 64 other countries already require such labels. However, strong opposition from the agriculture and biotech industries has scuttled proposals for GMO (Genetically-Modified Organisms) labeling laws in the past. The most recent and high-profile of these failed attempts at a GMO labeling requirement was California's Proposition 37, which was narrowly defeated after opponents spent $50 million lobbying against it. "Unfortunately, advocates of mandatory GMO labeling are working an agenda to vilify biotechnology and scare consumers away from safe and healthful food products," a Biotechnology Industry Organization spokeswoman wrote.
Argument in opposition (Food Democracy Now 5/26/2012):
Exactly 20 years ago today, the first Bush administration declared genetically engineered foods to be "substantially equivalent" to foods that farmers had traditionally bred for thousands of years. With this single policy, the US government radically altered the food supply, introducing novel genes into our food that had never before been consumed by humans. Corporate executives at Monsanto colluded with elected officials to make sure that their new "products" were placed onto the market as quickly as possible. Two decades later, Americans are still denied the basic right to know what's in their food because of this infamous policy.
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is a national non-profit organization that works to turn environmental values into national priorities.
Library of Congress Summary: This joint resolution nullifies the rule finalized by the Department of the Interior on Aug. 5, 2016, relating to non-subsistence takings of wildlife and public participation and closure procedures on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska.
Case for voting YES by House Republican Policy Committee: The Fish and Wildlife Service rule--which lays claim to more than 20% of Alaska--violates ANILCA (Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act) and the Alaska Statehood Compact. Not only does [the existing 2016 rule] undermine Alaska's ability to manage fish and wildlife upon refuge lands, it fundamentally destroys a cooperative relationship between Alaska and the federal government.
Case for voting NO by the Sierra Club (April 6, 2017):
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Senate races 2021-22:
AK: Incumbent Lisa Murkowski(R)
vs.Challenger Kelly Tshibaka(R)
vs.2020 candidate Al Gross(D)
AL: Incumbent Richard Shelby(R) vs.U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks(R) vs.Ambassador Lynda Blanchard(R) vs.Katie Britt(R) vs.Judge Jessica Taylor(R) vs.Brandaun Dean(D) vs.
AR: Incumbent John Boozman(R)
vs.Candidate Dan Whitfield(D)
AZ: Incumbent Mark Kelly(D)
vs.CEO Jim Lamon(R) vs.Blake Masters(R)
vs.A.G. Mark Brnovich(R) vs.Mick McGuire(R)
CA: Incumbent Alex Padilla(D)
vs.2018 Senate candidate James Bradley(R)
vs.State Rep. Jerome Horton(D)
CO: Incumbent Michael Bennet(D)
CT: Incumbent Richard Blumenthal(D)
vs.Challenger Joe Visconti(R)
vs.2018 & 2020 House candidate John Flynn(R)
FL: Incumbent Marco Rubio(R)
vs.U.S.Rep. Val Demings(D)
vs.U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson(D)
GA: Incumbent Raphael Warnock(D)
vs.Navy vet Latham Saddler(R)
HI: Incumbent Brian Schatz(D)
vs.Former State Rep. Cam Cavasso(R ?)
IA: Incumbent Chuck Grassley(R)
vs.State Sen. Jim Carlin(R)
vs.Former U.S. Rep IA-1 Abby Finkenauer(D)
ID: Incumbent Mike Crapo(R)
IL: Incumbent Tammy Duckworth(D)
vs.U.S.Rep. Adam Kinzinger(? R)
IN: Incumbent Todd Young(R)
vs.Challenger Haneefah Abdul-Khaaliq(D)
vs.Psychologist Valerie McCray(D)
KS: Incumbent Jerry Moran(R)
KY: Incumbent Rand Paul(R)
vs.State Rep Charles Booker(D)
LA: Incumbent John Kennedy(R)
MD: Incumbent Chris Van Hollen(D)
MO: Incumbent Roy Blunt(R)
vs.Eric Greitens(R) vs.Scott Sifton(D)
vs.Eric Schmitt(R) vs.Lucas Kunce(D)
vs.Mark McClosky(R) vs.Vicky Hartzler(R)
vs.Tim Shepard(D) vs.Billy Long(R)
NC: Incumbent Richard Burr(R,retiring)
vs.Ted Budd(R) vs.Pat McCrory(R)
vs.Cheri Beasley(D) vs.Rett Newton(D)
ND: Incumbent John Hoeven(R)
vs.Michael J. Steele(D)
NH: Incumbent Maggie Hassan(D)
vs.Chris Sununu(R ?)
NV: Incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto(D)
NY: Incumbent Chuck Schumer(D)
OH: Incumbent Rob Portman(R,retiring)
Bernie Moreno(R) vs.Tim Ryan(D)
vs.Jane Timken(R) vs.Josh Mandel(R)
vs.JD Vance(R) vs.Mike Gibbons(R)
vs.Morgan Harper(D) vs.Matt Dolan(R)
OK: Incumbent James Lankford(R)
OR: Incumbent Ron Wyden(D)
vs.QAnon adherent Jo Rae Perkins(R)
PA: Incumbent Pat Toomey(R,retiring)
vs.Everett Stern(R) vs.Jeff Bartos(R)
vs.Val Arkoosh(D) vs.Carla Sands(R)
vs.John Fetterman(D) vs.Malcolm Kenyatta(D)
vs.Kathy Barnette(R) vs.Sharif Street(D)
vs.Conor Lamb(D) vs.Sean Parnell(R)
vs.Craig Snyder(R) vs.Mehmet Oz(R)
SC: Incumbent Tim Scott(R)
vs.State Rep. Krystle Matthews(D)
SD: Incumbent John Thune(R)
vs.State Rep. Billie Sutton(? D)
UT: Incumbent Mike Lee(R) vs.Allen Glines(D)
vs.Austin Searle(D) vs.Evan McMullin(I)
VT: Incumbent Patrick Leahy(D)
vs.Scott Milne(? R)
WA: Incumbent Patty Murray(D)
vs.Challenger Tiffany Smiley(R)
WI: Incumbent Ron Johnson(R) vs.Tom Nelson(D)
vs.Sarah Godlewski(D) vs.Alex Lasry(D)
vs.Chris Larson(D) vs.Mandela Barnes(D)
Senate Votes (analysis)