For residents of the Finger Lakes, there is a connection between climate change and water quality.
In Auburn, the city draws its drinking water from Lake Owasco. Harmful algal blooms have become a late summer tradition. Much research has been done on the causes of flower development. One of the contributing factors: climate change.
Citizen asked candidates for the 24th congressional district seat, Republican U.S. Representative Claudia Tenney and Democratic challenger Steven Holden, about their stances on addressing climate change and how to protect water resources in the region.
Question: There is disagreement on the best way to tackle climate change. What policies do you support to combat climate change?
Tenney: I strongly believe that we can secure our energy independence as a nation while continuing to be good stewards of our environment, and I am leading the way for Congress to ensure that is exactly what we are doing. I recently joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers to introduce the Clean Energy Future Through Innovation Act, which aims to reduce carbon emissions in the electricity sector by 80% over the next 30 years by adopting a comprehensive strategy balanced. This bill harnesses the free market to increase investment in bold, forward-thinking technologies that will lower energy costs, reduce emissions and spark unprecedented innovation. Unlike the sweeping Green New Deal policies that would bankrupt our nation and increase costs for consumers, the legislation I have introduced is reasonable and responsible. It brings together a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that America continues to prioritize practical and realistic energy solutions.
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holden: Climate change is real and it poses a threat to life on earth that we cannot ignore. The number of refugees worldwide has risen to 27 million this year, and we have no solution to deal with this level of human tragedy. If we do not respond to climate change, by 2050, 1.5 billion people will be displaced by extreme weather events and famine. Hurry up ! Our near future holds periods of intense droughts, water scarcity, severe fires, rising sea levels, floods and catastrophic storms. The cause is the buildup of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels. We must wean ourselves off these products and create an economy based on green energy. The United States can become a world leader in this new economy, which will create millions of new jobs, while reducing our dependence on oil producers who threaten our national security. Climate change deniers who remain stubbornly dependent on money from big producers of oil and other greenhouse gases stand in the way of progress. Like my opponent who promotes fracking, they will always choose environmental polluters over environmental protectors. Named to the League of Conservation Voter’s 2018 Dirty Dozen list, my opponent proposes denying federal energy subsidies to any state that bans fracking, a destructive technology that threatens the ecology of a district whose economy depends on the purity of the finger. Lakes and its many streams. Cutting that funding would be detrimental to our district because it is home to two nuclear sites that rely on federal funds to provide clean energy to millions of New York residents.
Q: The health of the Finger Lakes is important because many of these lakes serve as sources of drinking water for nearby communities. (Lake Owasco, for example, provides drinking water to the city of Auburn and nearby towns.) What will you do in Congress to ensure that these waters remain safe for Auburnians and others?
holden: New York’s abundant rivers, streams, lakes and coastal waters are used for drinking water, recreation, fishing, tourism, agriculture and manufacturing. We call NY24 “The Lake District” because of the beautiful lakes and natural resources we have in this area. I like to say “water is life” and clean water is essential to the quality of our lives. Many lakes provide drinking water to residents. I will ensure that our lands and waters are protected through programs that monitor water quality, identify and investigate sources of pollution, control those sources, and develop strategies to address threats to water quality . The New York Green Initiative, the only statewide ballot initiative to pass last year, was passed on a bipartisan basis, and that’s something we can build on. at the federal level.
Tenney: The Finger Lakes region is a state and national treasure. I currently represent Oneida Lake, which is considered the “thumb” of the Finger Lakes and have lived on or near Oneida Lake for the past 17 years. I strongly support efforts to protect and preserve the entire Finger Lakes region for future generations, while ensuring that their resources remain clean and safe. In Congress, I advocated on behalf of local demands for federal investment in our region’s water infrastructure. New Yorkers pay some of the highest taxes in the country, but our state’s water infrastructure, especially in rural communities, is in desperate need of repair. That’s why I prioritized targeted investments in our water infrastructure through the Community Project Funding Initiative, which returned federal dollars to upstate New York for critical water projects that would otherwise remain unfunded. I also support federal conservation programs to protect public and private lands, streams, and waterways. I co-sponsored legislation to permanently reauthorize the land and water conservation program so it can continue to be used for generations to come. Additionally, I support the full funding of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which promotes the strength and resilience of the Great Lakes ecosystem that spans our region.
Political journalist Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.