Dear Fellow Earthlings,
Today we celebrate the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. Earth Day is one of my favorite days of the year because it inspires people around the world to come together in appreciation of our planet’s many gifts. It’s also a day that reminds me of a special memory. I was a young naval flight officer stationed near San Francisco in 1970 and I joined thousands of people there to celebrate one of the very first Earth Days. It was a transformative experience for me and served as an inspiration for me to pursue a life in public service.
Protections for our environment have come a long way since 1970. Later that year the Environmental Protection Agency was established by President Richard Nixon and since its founding, important legislation and regulations have cleaned up our water and air tremendously. But there is still more to be done to ensure a healthy planet for our children and grandchildren.
As ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Clear Air and Nuclear Safety, I work together with my colleagues almost every day to confront our country’s environmental challenges. Some opponents to environmental laws and regulations have said that a clean environment comes at the expense of a strong economy. We know now more than ever that this is a false choice and a tradeoff we don’t have to make. Failing to protect the environment or dealing with climate change is the most costly option there is – especially for our low-lying and coastal state, which is susceptible to sea-level rise and extreme weather events like Super Storm Sandy.
The good news is many of the best ways to combat climate change and clean our environment are also some of the best ways to strengthen our economy. There are countless economic benefits for you and our country when we recycle, use vehicles and appliances that are more fuel efficient, and invest in our clean energy future. On Earth Day and every day, let’s recommit to our individual and collective efforts to do our part to ensure Earth’s thriving future.