There are many challenges involved in taking back our Congress for the oceans, including the need to bring in new faces, and to beat some bad guys. This week, we have two races where we can do both at the same time!
In California’s 52nd District, Scott Peters, a civic leader with a long record of leading initiatives to improve coastal water quality while creating jobs is running against incumbent Congressman Brian Bilbray, who consistently supports bills that attack our oceans. In New Jersey’s 3rd District, new champion Shelley Adler is taking on one of the worst ocean enemies in Congress, Representative Jon Runyan.
As a City Councilman, Scott Peters chaired the San Diego Foundation Climate Initiative. He banned polluting trucks from entering the San Diego port and saved a local solar turbine manufacturing plant. His opponent, Congressman Bilbray has jumped on the “drill, baby drill” bandwagon, voting to lower offshore drilling safety standards to levels that led to the BP Gulf oil spill and failing to vote against a bill that expanded offshore oil drilling to new coastal areas. Bilbray has also voted to continue granting billions in subsidies to Big Oil while cutting funds to the National Ocean Policy.
As Co-chair of San Diego’s Clean Water Task Force, Peters led the rehabilitation of an aging sewer system, reducing spills and their resulting beach closures by 80%. He implemented measures to reduce coastal runoff and received consistently high grades on work to promote water quality as a City Councilman. Congressman Bilbray, on the other hand, supported one amendment to block funding on initiatives to limit runoff pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, and another to block the EPA from implementing new water quality standards to prevent toxic green slime from polluting Florida’s lakes and rivers.
“For San Diegans, the ocean defines our quality of life," said Peters. "It's a precious natural resource and also critical to our economy. That’s why we reject the notion that we must choose between clean water and a strong economy; we must have both."
Shelley Adler also believes the best way to create jobs while addressing our energy security is to develop sustainable energy technologies. She knows that expanding offshore drilling to the mid-Atlantic would threaten New Jersey’s beaches, while Congressman Runyan has voted to increase offshore oil drilling (including in the mid-Atlantic) while loosening safety standards and exempting oil companies from having to use available pollution control devices. Runyan also voted for $40 Billion in Big Oil tax breaks while cutting funds for clean energy development, and has introduced and pushed several bills that would gut the U.S. fisheries conservation laws that helped rebuild the critical summer flounder fishery and many others.
“I am grateful to accept the endorsement of Ocean Champions, said Adler. “Thousands of hard working Third District residents depend on ensuring that we have clean oceans. As your Congresswoman, I assure you that I will work to make sure our beaches and oceans continue to be an economic engine for our region and a source of recreational pleasure for all.”
For the oceans, the choice is clear – out with the old and in with the new. We heartily endorse Scott Peters and Shelley Adler!