Senator Carper to Lead Democrats on Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

Longtime champion of healthy environment, modern infrastructure to serve as Ranking Member of key Senate panel 

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement on the announcement that he will serve as the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee in the 115th Congress. Senator Carper has long fought to create a healthier environment for all Americans and has been a strong advocate for making steady, long-term investments in our country’s outdated transportation systems.

“I’m truly honored to serve in this position and eager to get to work. Our nation faces many challenges at this moment, particularly how we grapple with the very real and very damaging effects of climate change and the need to rebuild and modernize our nation’s infrastructure, from roads and bridges to transit and water systems. I stand ready to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and with the incoming Trump administration to tackle these challenges head on. Senator Barrasso and I have enjoyed a good and productive working relationship over the years, and while we might not agree on everything, my hope and expectation is that we will do our best to come together where we can to make progress on numerous fronts.

“Now is not the time to move backward. Over the last eight years, the Obama administration has made great strides toward stemming the tide of climate change and reducing air pollution. We should continue that work, not roll it back, as some are threatening to do. We’ve shown time and time again that we can grow the economy and protect the environment. We have an opportunity to make America a leader in developing cleaner energy and to make serious investments in our infrastructure. Both efforts will grow our economy and protect our citizens. Instead of shying away from that effort and movement, we should be embracing it so that we leave our children and grandchildren a better America and better world.”    


Senator Carper has long held that our country does not have to choose between having a cleaner environment and having a robust, growing economy. Throughout his career, Senator Carper has consistently pursued policies that protect the environment and public health, while helping jumpstart new industries that can create jobs and help grow our economy. He has championed clean air legislation; defended the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to pursue commonsense regulations that curb harmful pollution; and worked across the aisle to provide tax incentives for clean energy deployment.

  • As Chairman of the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee from 2007-2013, Senator Carper held twenty-six hearings that focused on protecting and defending the Clean Air Act; on legislative initiatives that made the Clean Air Act stronger and more effective; and on oversight ensuring the largest source of carbon-free electricity in this country, nuclear power, is generated safely.
  • Senator Carper is the co-author and continued supporter of a clean diesel program – the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) – that, according to the EPA, has created up to $12.6 billion in health benefits from reduced air pollution and saved over 450 million gallons of fuel.
  • Since 2002, Senator Carper has called for a price on carbon and called for action on climate change – including sponsoring one of the first bipartisan bills in the Senate to address climate change.
  • In 2007, Senator Carper was instrumental in passing updated Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for automobiles – making our cars, trucks and vans much more fuel-efficient. The Obama administration has continued to build upon this effort, saving Americans thousands of dollars at the pump, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and better protecting clean air.
  • Senator Carper has been a staunch supporter of the EPA, leading efforts in the Senate to defeat three Congressional Review Act resolutions that would have prevented the EPA from regulating toxic air pollutants and carbon pollution.
  • Since 2009, Senator Carper has used his position on the Finance Committee to support emerging clean energy technologies, including successful efforts in extending tax credits that supported the construction of the first U.S. offshore wind project and the production of the first fuel cell vehicles to be sold commercially in the U.S.
  • Senator Carper was a critical early voice championing the need and opportunity to make significant improvements to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which was finally enacted into law in 2016 after years of tireless work by Senator Carper and others. 

As someone who commutes from Wilmington and Washington every day by train, Senator Carper understands just how critical safe, modern and reliable infrastructure is to Americans’ lives and to our country’s success. Senator Carper has been a tireless champion for robust funding to modernize and maximize our infrastructure in order to boost economic growth, strengthen productivity and competitiveness, and make life better for millions of people. He has staunchly advocated for raising the federal gas tax in order to make real investments in our transportation systems; prioritized steady, long-term funding for multimodal transportation choices, including passenger rail, transit, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure; and worked to enhance our country’s coastlines in order to protect communities from the impact of sea level rise and extreme weather.

  • Senator Carper has long advocated for raising the federal gas tax. In 2015, Senator Carper introduced the TRAFFIC Relief Act to actually fix the Highway Trust Fund by raising gas and diesel taxes, rather than patching over the problem with short-term fixes. His legislation would have ensured the long-term solvency of the transportation trust fund to enable states and localities to get to work fixing and improving transportation networks, while also expanding and extending tax credits for hard-working Americans.
  • As a senator from a low-lying coastal state with economically and ecologically significant coastal resources, Senator Carper has prioritized improving our water infrastructure and ensuring coordination between federal and state agencies on research and resilience efforts in the Senate-passed Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016.
  • Senator Carper has worked to reduce transportation emissions and introduced the Clean, Low-Emission, Affordable, New Transportation Efficiency Act (CLEAN-TEA) in 2008 to provide funding for emissions mitigation and require locally established emission-reduction goals. 
  • Senator Carper, having served as Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland and Security and Government Affairs Committee, has highlighted the importance of security on our transportation network, including working with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to strengthen U.S. airport security.