Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
Preserving and restoring our rivers, lakes and oceans, cleaning up hazardous waste and brownfield sites on our land, and improving the quality of the air we breathe are national responsibilities that directly affect our quality of life and economic health.
Technology advancements in the 20th century fueled the engine that drove our economy and generated unprecedented prosperity for America. Restoring the environmental quality of our natural resources from the consequences of these many innovations is now the challenge we must meet to provide future generations with a cleaner world.
Throughout my service in the Senate, I have been actively involved in the development of national environmental policies, including the Clean Air Act Amendments, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Chesapeake Bay Restoration program, the Freedom to Farm Act, and Brownfields Revitalization.
Virginia is blessed with many natural resources that sustain endangered and threatened species. We are home to 16 national wildlife refuges important to providing habitat for the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, migratory waterfowl and songbirds. It has been my privilege to advance legislation to expand existing refuges, by acquiring land from willing sellers, and to establish new refuges along the Rappahannock River and on the Eastern Shore.
Taking steps to ensure that federal programs assist states and local governments to preserve open space is a critical ingredient in relieving traffic congestion, reducing non-point source pollution that runs off urban streets and agricultural lands, and providing Virginians with recreational opportunities. I have focused my efforts in this area by enacting three wilderness bills which designates permanent protections for over 175,000 acres of national forest lands, enhancing agricultural conservation and wetlands reserve programs and stimulating the reuse of existing industrial sites.
As we move forward to address environmental and public health problems, new approaches will be required to achieve success. I will continue to work on comprehensive strategies that are based on current scientific information, energy security demands, economic consequences and public health affects.