This is a Moms Clean Air Force exclusive interview with Congressman Bob Dold of Illinois:
What is unique about protecting your district’s resources?
The Tenth District of Illinois borders one of our nation’s greatest treasures, Lake Michigan. This natural resource provides miles of beaches, natural habitat and recreation for millions in Illinois. The five Great Lakes contain 95% of the surface fresh water supply in the United States and must be protected as a vital resource for the United States. This is why I’ve been a leader in calling for the funding of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to make sure this environmental and economic treasure is protected.
I worked hard to ensure that protections for the Great Lakes and other resources were included in the recent government-funding bill. This bill fully funds the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $300 million and funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $450 million, while setting aside $2.37 billion for the National Parks Service. These programs are all critical to preserving our environment for generations to come.
I also introduced bipartisan legislation, the Great Lakes Water Protection Act, to stop sewage dumping in the Great Lakes. An estimated 24 billion gallons of combined untreated sewage and storm water are dumped into the Great Lakes each year. This sewage contributes to hundreds of beach closure, threatens the source of drinking water for more than 30 million Americans and endangers the environmental well being of the Great Lakes ecosystem. The Great Lakes Water Protection Act would help provide clean water for future generations.
I’ve been particularly concerned this year with efforts in Canada to permanently store nuclear waste in the Great Lakes basin. I helped introduce H.Res. 233 to express opposition to this plan and have worked with a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders to pressure Canada against this dangerous idea. I’m glad to say that, following this pressure, Canada recently delayed the decision while they further study their options.
Why is a bipartisan effort so important when working on issues of air quality?
The only way that we can achieve the comprehensive changes that are needed is through a bipartisan effort. Partisan political games may make for entertaining theater to some, but it is really hurting the American people. Protecting the environment is not a partisan issue, which is why in September, I helped lead the effort to introduce H. Res. 424, which acknowledges climate change and expresses a commitment to work constructively to support solutions to address this important problem. These efforts are absolutely vital to ensure the health and wellness of our children for years to come.
I have worked with my colleagues regardless of party affiliation to find solutions to these pressing issues. I have never been afraid to break from my party when it comes to protecting the environment. In fact, I’ve repeatedly broken from my party to oppose a misguided effort to indefinitely delay clean air rules known as the Clean Power Plan. In December, I was one of only two Republican members to vote against two measures that sought to block the Clean Power Plan.
I’ve also introduced bipartisan legislation to help keep our air clean. My bill, the Fuel Choice for American Prosperity and Security Act, would reduce our transportation footprint by incentivizing automakers to make cars that can operate on cleaner energy alternatives to fuel.
Going forward, I will continue to promote a responsible, bipartisan plan to protect our air for future generations.
As a parent are you worried about any specific effects of climate change on your children and on the children of your district?
As an Eagle Scout and avid outdoorsman, and father of three young children, I care deeply about protecting our environment for generations to come and strengthening conservation programs. I believe that, as a country, we must acknowledge climate change is occurring and that humans have contributed to this change.
We must work together to find a sensible path forward that improves our planet for future generations.
Is there anything you’d like to share that is important for Moms Clean Air Force members to know?
I am committed to supporting bipartisan initiatives and fostering a dialogue in Congress on ways to protect and restore the Great Lakes and other natural resources. As a Scoutmaster, I teach Boy Scouts the principle of leaving areas better than when we found them. We need to do a better job of doing this as a country. This year, I’ve introduced three bipartisan bills to this end.
As I mentioned before, I introduced the Fuel Choice for American Prosperity and Security Act, which encourages automakers to build cars that can operate on cleaner fuel sources, and the Great Lakes Water Protection Act, which stops sewage dumping in the Great Lakes.
I also introduced the Mechanical Insulation Installation Incentive Act of 2015, which would significantly reduce U.S. energy consumption by improving energy efficiency. It is estimated that this bill would save $35 billion in energy costs and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 170 million metric tons.
I have also co-sponsored numerous bills with similar goals. For example, I am the Republican lead on the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act, which would provide grants to non-profit organizations to make buildings more energy efficient.
In short, I am committed to being a champion of the environment in Congress and am willing to work with anybody who wants to do the bipartisan problem solving needed to protect and preserve our natural resources for generations to come.
A native of northern Illinois, Congressman Bob Dold serves the 10th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Dold sits on the Congressman Dold currently sits on the House Ways and Means Committee. He is committed to advancing bipartisan legislation to grow the economy, protect our environment, and ensure the safety and security of America’s homeland, as well that of our greatest ally, Israel.
Bob and his wife Danielle are the proud parents of three children – Harper, Bobby and Honor. Bob is also an active member of his local community, having served as a scoutmaster, on the Board for the Boys & Girls Club of Lake County and as a board member for the Northeast Illinois Council for the Boy Scouts of America. Bob also has been active with the Honor Flight program, which is committed to ensuring that those who so bravely served this country in World War II have the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. and visit the WWII Memorial.
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