Over the past three decades, Michigan has seen unprecedented rises in temperature, heavier rainfalls and more extreme weather events due to climate change.
Climate change is damaging our Great Lakes, forests and farmland, all of which are vital to our Michigan way of life. As a nature lover and committed environmentalist, I cannot overstate how important it is for our nation to protect our environment and address climate change with urgency and creativity. This means investing in green renewable energy resources that will create reliable, good-paying jobs, keeping the commitments our country made in the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce carbon emissions and ensuring full funding for vital conservation programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
In addition to tackling climate change, we must also take action to fight pollutants that plague our air, land and waterways and poison our drinking water. Sadly, Michigan is all too familiar with the dangers that unsafe and polluted drinking water pose for our communities. Dangerous levels of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)—man-made chemicals that are used in many consumer products and industrial applications—are consistently being found across our great state. That’s why I joined the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force, which works urgently to address the public health threat created by these dangerous chemicals, protect our communities and ensure access to safe drinking water.
Climate Change and a Green Economy
I believe there is no way we can move fast enough or comprehensively enough to address climate change unless we unite progressive forces to infuse a commitment to environmentalism, sustainability and equality into the foundation of our economy. That is why I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the Green New Deal resolution. Just as we responded to the Great Depression with the New Deal, today we embark on a journey that will reveal once again the unbounded creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship of the American people as we develop new technology and grow millions of jobs to meet this challenge. My primary concern is and will continue to be that the workers most impacted by this transition, along with frontline and vulnerable communities, are seated at the center of the table as we discuss the resources and policies to effectuate the change we need to save our species and our planet.
To jumpstart this new era of bold, green legislation, I authored the Electric Vehicle (EV) Freedom Act, a bill that would pave the way to a zero-emissions transportation system by creating a national network of publicly available EV charging stations across the U.S. in five years. By expanding and bringing our infrastructure into a sustainable 21st century, we have the tremendous opportunity to supercharge our economy and create the jobs of the future, further unify our country and lead the world in green energy infrastructure.
I am also a proud supporter of the Clean Economy Act, which would set a national goal to achieve a 100 percent clean economy by 2050—the target date for net-zero emissions set in the vitally important Paris Climate Agreement.
Throughout my career as an activist and as a union organizer, I have held to the belief that for us to make the change that this world so desperately needs, working people and frontline communities must be at the forefront. This holds true for our ability to address climate change rapidly and aggressively. To create the sustainable economy our planet requires, we must create a unified coalition of environmental groups, labor organizations and industries that see both the urgency of the present situation and potential for visionary environmental policy.
One of my top conservation priorities has been to protect Lake St. Clair and the rest of our Great Lake system. I have cosponsored, supported and amended numerous pieces of legislation that would safeguard the Great Lakes, and I am an active member of the Great Lakes Taskforce. I am an original cosponsor of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act, which extends funding for a program that has cleaned over 4 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment and minimized the presence of invasive species in 148,000 acres of Great Lakes territory over the past ten years. I also wrote an amendment to the Coastal and Great Lakes Communities Enhancement Act that ensures funding for research on the effects of toxic PFAS chemicals in the Great Lakes.
I voted to pass the Great American Outdoors Act, which was signed into law in August of 2020. This legislation permanently reauthorizes crucial programs, including the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the Fish and Wildlife program, which protect and restore fish and animal habitats. This legislation also expands eight national parks and historic sites to ensure the conservation of our nation’s public lands and permanently funds the LWCF at $900 million annually.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of toxic, man-made chemicals used across the United States in many consumer products and industrial applications, notably in firefighting foam used on military bases, in fire stations and at airports. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) links exposure to these dangerous contaminants to adverse health outcomes, including an increased risk of cancer and a negative impact on a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant. Unfortunately, under the Trump administration, the EPA neglected these growing threats by failing to pursue needed research or update safe exposure levels. As a member of the Congressional PFAS Taskforce, I have worked hard to minimize the negative impact these chemicals have on the health and wellbeing of our communities.
I am working to boost awareness of the dangers of PFAS and garner support for the actions needed to keep our communities safe. I voted to pass the PFAS Action Act, which will regulate PFAS chemicals, clean up contamination and protect public health. Additionally, I authored an amendment included in the bill that would require the EPA to provide a comprehensive report to Congress on the safe cleanup and disposal of PFAS chemicals.
Furthermore, I authored legislation to require the Secretary of Defense to ensure that all incineration of materials containing PFAS is conducted in a manner that eliminates PFAS while ensuring that no PFAS is emitted into the air and further harms our communities. That legislation was signed into law in 2019.
Unprecedented amounts of PFAS have been found in communities across Michigan, including in our own district. Last year, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued guidelines for eating fish from Lake St. Clair due to elevated levels of chemicals, including PFAS. So many people in our district rely on Lake St. Clair as a source of income, food and water. We cannot let these chemicals plague Michiganders’ health by taking no action. To protect our children, I have demanded that the EPA, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education provide higher safety standards and increased oversight for PFAS chemicals in the drinking water at schools and child care facilities across the country.
More on Environment
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09), a member of the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force, today voted to pass the H.R. 2467, the PFAS Action Act of 2021, which passed the House by a vote of 241-183.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09), a member of the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force, reintroduced his PFAS Safe Disposal Act to protect Michiganders and all Americans from air contamination when PFAS chemicals are destroyed by incineration.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09) announced the inclusion of $525,000 for Macomb County Community College and over $2.8M for five addition community revitalization projects in the Fiscal Year 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies and Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies bills, respectively.
With these final projects approved, Rep. Levin officially achieved inclusion of every one of his community project funding requests for the House’s Fiscal Year 2022 spending bills:
Washington — The U.S. House voted 221 to 201 Thursday to pass a federal infrastructure bill with over $210 million in earmarked funding for Michigan highway and transit projects and $4 billion to boost adoption of electric vehicles.
The bill faced fierce opposition from Republicans, who criticized the package as a partisan grab bag that strayed too far from traditional infrastructure.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09) voted with a majority of his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass the INVEST in America Act, a surface transportation reauthorization and water infrastructure bill that will reimagine America’s surface transportation infrastructure, with investments in roads, bridges, transit, rail, and wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. The bill contains over $20M in funding for projects recommended by Rep.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09) announced that he secured the inclusion of $248,625 for the St. Clair Shores Pump Station in the Fiscal Year 2022 Homeland Security Appropriations bill.
ST. CLAIR, MI (WXYZ) — Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09) announced that he secured $248,625 for the St. Clair Shores Pump Station for the 2022 fiscal year.
His goal is to prevent flooding on Jefferson Avenue and Masonic Boulevard and to keep both open during high lake levels.
Read the whole story here.
DEARBORN, MI – Today, Congressman Andy Levin released the following statement after joining President Joe Biden for a tour of the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center and securing the endorsement of Ford Motor Company for his EV Freedom Act: