I was honored to provide these answers to Wayne County's Indivisible Environmental Action Group's 2018 Questions for Candidates.
Answers by Lane Siekman, U.S. Congressional Candidate.
1. Do you accept the view reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that over 95% of the scientists claim climate change is real and accelerating, presenting a clear and present danger to our planet? What policies do you recommend to address this?
Climate change is real and its impact is already being seen daily around the globe. We don’t just need to draw down the use of fossil fuels but we must also seek “negative emissions” possibilities which include extracting carbon from the atmosphere, essentially buying back some amount of existing fossil-fuel pollution through a combination of technological and agricultural tools. I support renewable energy, clean water, and sustainable agriculture practices to meet these goals.
2. Will you work in a bipartisan manner to enact policies which limit and reduce carbon emissions and methane (greenhouse gases)? How would you accomplish this?
Bipartisanship requires that both sides be willing to compromise to achieve a shared value. I am not sure that is truly possible given today’s political environment. When one side ignores scientific evidence and pulls out of an international agreement on climate then what is left to compromise? The Paris accords defined keeping the planet under two degrees of warming as a target goal.
I will do whatever I can to move the needle forward on these policies because these are issues that impact all of us and our future generations.
3. Would you support moving toward a 30% increase in the use of renewable resources by 2030 in an effort to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050? Do you see solar and wind as job creating opportunities?
The transition to a homegrown, renewable energy future for the U.S. is well underway. The growth of renewable energy use in transportation fuels, powered through policies like the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), has been a success story for all Americans. For the U.S. to realize the full potential of the renewable energy sector, we should promote solar energy, wind power, and clean advanced bio based fuels. I know that wind power can be controversial in some areas so we must allow local zoning codes and values to be preserved but there are vast expanses of the western prairie where this has become a second energy boom. I support the Udall-Markey National Renewable Electricity Standard of 30% by 2030.
4. Do you want to support the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with adequate enforcement powers and funding? Will you support reinstatement of scientists to key advisory positions?
Yes. What has happened to the EPA over the past year has been a disaster for the environment. Regulations go through an exhaustive process before they are approved and typically they are there for a good reason. Current EPA policy bans scientists from sitting on the committees while they are receiving EPA grant funding. This marks a major change in who can serve on the committees, which help steer EPA research and regulations by providing input on scientific questions. This decision allows Americans to believe that industry-funded scientists can offer EPA impartial advice, while those with EPA research grants are biased. This allows regulated industries to provide the scientific evidence to write their own rules.
5. Will you overturn current policies which delay or overturn bans on harmful herbicides and pesticides? Examples include chlorpyrifos which was overturned by executive order while known to cause neurological damage in children and Neonicotinoids which are harming wildlife and killing bees which pollinate one third of our food.
Yes. Protection of bees from agricultural pesticide spray and dust applications is vital for natural pollination and sustainable agriculture. It is also important in protecting our food production, biodiversity, and the health of our rural communities. I remember the banning of DDT after the publishing of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”. This was one of the reasons for the establishment of the EPA in the first place. We can’t afford another silent spring.
6. Will you support the Endangered Species Act and reinstate the ban on shooting wolves and hibernating Bears from the air on public lands?
Yes. A recent U.S. House and Senate resolution rolled back Obama-era regulations against the practice of killing these vulnerable bears along with wolf cubs in dens. It also allows for hunters to target these animals from helicopters. Wildlife management and hunting are important but these types of acts are just cruel and unnecessary. I support the Endangered Species Act.
7. Will you preserve the integrity of our national parks and monuments by opposing large acreage being sold to the private sector for mining and oil drilling?
Yes. The U.S. government holds title to about 500 million acres of land across the country, including national parks and forests, wildlife refuges and tribal territories stretching from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico. They overlay billions of barrels of oil and vast quantities of natural gas, coal, and uranium. The sale of public resources for private gain raises the potential for corruption and environmental disasters. What happens if precious water resources are destroyed? This land run by energy companies also sets a dangerous precedent for a new Teapot Dome Scandal.
8. Will you support the requirement for public comments and hearings to all parties including Native Americans in locations where oil pipelines are planned?
Yes. The Standing Rock Sioux and the Cheyenne River Sioux tribes originally opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline on the grounds that the pipeline and its construction threatened the tribe's "way of life, [their] water, people, and land" These rights are protected by treaties signed when the US government took the land and should be protected by public comments and due process.