Energy & Environment
As a former environmental lawyer and member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I am dedicated to combating climate change and fostering renewable energy. Unfortunately, San Diego is facing some of the consequences of climate change--from droughts, to wildfires, and floods from rising sea levels. Therefore, we must not only work to curb climate change, but prepare for the effects it has on our region and nation as well. San Diego is home to many innovative green energy and cleantech companies that are important to our environment and economy. I will work in Congress to make sure these companies, as well as the premier research institutions in our region, get the support they need. We owe it to the next generation to ensure they, too, get a chance to enjoy our great outdoors.
I unveiled a Climate Playbook– a comprehensive compendium of legislation Congress can act on now to take immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gases to slow and reverse the effects of climate change. It outlines how to reach targets like reduced emissions, increased resiliency, and energy efficiency. To be clear, this is only the beginning of a conversation and the Playbook invites new ideas on how to improve these bills – which are mostly bipartisan and thus have a good shot at becoming law. Read it here.
I introduced the Algae Agriculture Act to support the development of algae in agriculture.
Addressing Cross-Border Pollution
The Tijuana River Valley sewage spill is part of a larger problem that must be addressed on both sides of the border. Solving it requires policymakers to work together at different levels of government. Since the first major spill occurred in February 2017, I have led bipartisan efforts to secure funding for critical wastewater infrastructure projects along the border. I have called for greater agency accountability and greater cooperation with the Mexican government.
- March 1, 2017: Sent a letter with Rep. Juan Vargas to the EPA to alert the spill of over 143 gallons of sewage into the Tijuana River Valley and call for an assessment and action by the International Boundary Water Commission (IWBC) and EPA San Diego offices.
- March 6, 2017: Visited Tijuana River sewage spill impact area with local councilmembers to assess damage.
- March 30, 2017: Led a letter with San Diego delegation to House Appropriations Committee’s Interior and Environment Subcommittee to request rejecting cuts and funding $5 million for the Border Water Infrastructure Program (BWIP) in FY 2018.
- June 5, 2017: Sent a letter with San Diego delegation to the IWBC to request securing Tijuana River Valley communities from contaminants and wastewater discharge.
- September 26, 2017: Co-sponsored the Tijuana River Valley Comprehensive Protection and Rehabilitation Act with Rep. Juan Vargas and Darrell Issa to provide grant funding and develop a plan to update the area’s infrastructure.
- March 23, 2018: Sent a letter with the San Diego delegation to Inspector General Steve A. Linick requesting an investigation of the IBWC to determine if faithfully executing responsibilities.
- April 24, 2018: Announced $1.17 million EPA grant to address wastewater collectors who failed and caused major sewage spills.
- June 7, 2018: Passage of the Water Resources Development Act that includes directing the Army Corp of Engineers to conduct a study on the Tijuana River flood risk management.
- September 26, 2018: Sent a letter to House and Senate majority leaders to support funding the North American Development Bank (NADB) to finance border water infrastructure projects.
- January 2, 2019: Sent a letter to the IBWC Area Operations Manager to ask for action on a recent sewage spill and raise concerns over timely notification to the public.
- January 18, 2019: Sent a letter with San Diego delegation to Ambassador Gutierrez of Mexico to request Mexico makes every effort to address the recent sewage spill in Tijuana.
- February 15, 2019: Voted to pass the federal spending bill allocating $15 million in federal funding to the EPA for the U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program.
- April 29, 2019: Sent a letter to the EPA, International Boundary and Water Commission, Pentagon, Department of State, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to respond to the pollution crisis along the U.S.-Mexico Border.
- June 28, 2019: Sent a letter with the San Diego delegation to Administrator of the EPA Andrew Wheeler to request information in the EPA-funded report regarding projects in the Tijuana River Valley.
- July 3, 2019: Sent a letter with Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Reps. Juan Vargas, and Mike Levin to Ambassador Barcena of Mexico to urge officials in Tijuana to take immediate action.
- July 22, 2019: Introduced the North American Development Bank Pollution Solution Act with Rep. Juan Vargas to expand funding opportunities for sewage spill mitigation efforts.
- July 23, 2019: Co-sponsored the Tijuana River Navy Impact resolution introduced by Rep. Susan Davis.
- July 25, 2019: Co-sponsored the Border Water Infrastructure Improvement Act introduced by Rep. Mike Levin.
- July 25, 2019: Vote to pass a spending bill that included $30 million dollars for the U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Grant Program (BWIP).
- September 23, 2019: Secured $3 billion in investments for water infrastructure projects along the U.S.-Mexico border through passage of portion of Pollution Solution Act of 2019.
- October 29, 2019: Attended the 54th annual meeting of the U.S.-Mexico Inter-Parliamentary Group, attended by Mexican lawmakers and members of Congress representing Texas and California, focused on the need to pass the USMCA and address cross-border sewage.
- December 2, 2019: Met with Speaker Pelosi during the COP25 summit in Madrid to discuss the TJ sewage spill disaster and the urgent need to include relief funding in the USMCA.
- January 6, 2020: The United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), which contains a $300 million funding provision for upgrading the Environmental Protection Agency’s Border Water Infrastructure Program, was passed.
- July 24, 2020: Helped the House pass a federal spending package that secured $25 million for U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program (BWIP) to address the Tijuana River sewage spills and improve public health and the environment.
- February 26, 2021: Released a statement following a virtual public information meeting hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA shared with the public its analyses of several proposed major projects designed to address transboundary wastewater pollution in the San Diego/Tijuana region, in accordance with the US-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) treaty legislation.
- March 8, 2021: Introduced the Border Water Quality Restoration and Protection Act. along with Reps. Juan Vargas, Raul Ruiz, Mike Levin, Sara Jacobs, and Darrell Issa.
- April 29, 2021: Stressed the EPA’s critical role in cleaning up the dire environmental catastrophe in the Tijuana River Valley during a hearing with EPA Administrator Michael Regan. During the hearing, Rep. Peters asked Administrator Regan for urgent fixes to slow the flow and invited him to travel to San Diego to see this crisis in person.
- August 20, 2021: Toured the Tijuana River Valley with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan for a first-hand look at the trash and sewage that makes its way to San Diego beaches. This was the first time an EPA Administrator traveled to the region to see the pollution in person.
- November 22, 2021: Joined the U.S. and Mexican governments to discuss transboundary water pollution challenges. Both governments expressed their commitment to finding a solution to transboundary pollution flows.
- August 8, 2022: Joined officials from Mexico and the U.S. for a binding binational agreement that states that both sides of the border will cut the number of transboundary flows in half, including that the untreated wastewater discharged at the wastewater plant in Baja California is by 80%. The US government commits $330 million, and the Mexican government commits $144 million.
- December 23, 2022: Obtained vital resources in the government funding package to transfer funds to the International Boundary and Water Commission to contain the cross-boundary water pollution from the Tijuana River Valley. There will be $36,386,000 for the Border Water Infrastructure Program, promoting better water projects on both sides of the border.
- January 26, 2023: Led a letter requesting $100 million in funding for the U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program in President Biden's FY 2024 budget.
- March 24, 2023: Led a letter requesting $100 million in funding for the U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program in the FY 2024 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
- June 21, 2023: Led a letter to Baja California Governor Marina del Pilar Avila urging accountability and updated information on infrastructure projects in Mexico to mitigate wastewater pollution.
- June 26, 2023: Sent a letter with Rep. Juan Vargas and the San Diego congressional delegation urging President Joe Biden to declare a federal state of emergency for the Tijuana River Valley.
Reducing Emissions and Super Pollutants
The current climate crisis will continue to worsen unless we take serious and swift action. Science has proven that the largest contributors to global warming are carbon emissions and super pollutants, which are gases much more potent than CO2 and therefore, add more warming per ton. We can harness new and existing technology to capture emissions and super pollutants in order to curb the critical changes we are seeing in our atmosphere.
- Introduced the bipartisan Super Pollutants Act of 2019 to address short-lived climate pollutants like methane, black carbon, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
- Introduced the bipartisan USE IT Act to promote new carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies, including bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration (BECCS).
- Introduced the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019, which looks to prevent carbon emissions by imposing a tax on certain fuels that emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Strengthening Community Preparedness and Resilience
Natural disasters are increasing in frequency and strength due to climate change, making recovery times longer and costs higher for communities and residents throughout the country. In San Diego, we must be prepared to withstand wildfires, earthquakes, sea level rise, and other environmental issues that impact public health, safety, and quality of life. I am fighting to make sure our city receives the support it needs in prevention and response efforts to address and overcome the environmental threats San Diego faces.
- Leader in the fight to stop Tijuana River sewage spills at the California-Mexico border which pose significant health hazards and cause regular beach closures that impact the local tourism economy by helping to secure $15 million in federal grants for the Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program.
- Introduced Tijuana River Valley Pollution Solution bill package with Rep. Juan Vargas. The package is a comprehensive approach to stop the cross-border flows of wastewater, trash, and sediment from entering U.S. waters. Rep. Peters led the provision that prioritizes funding for projects that specifically address water pollution, wastewater treatment, and water conservation to reduce the risk of sewage flows.
- Introduced the STRONG Act which would ensure communities across the country are prepared to withstand and recover from natural disasters and extreme weather events.
- Introduced the Secure and Resilient Water Systems Act which will help communities better protect their drinking water systems from drought, industrial pollution, and potential attacks. The bill passed the House as part of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act in September 2018.
- Helped introduce the Wildfire Prevention Act to give states awarded a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) access to resources that can help them mitigate the effects of a fire and to help prevent future fires.
- Supported the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, which would put an end to the government borrowing funds dedicated to wildfire prevention to pay for increasingly costly suppression efforts.
- Introduced the Disclosing Aid Spent to Ensure Relief (DISASTER) Act, which passed the House on July 24th, 2019. The bill will increase transparency and accountability of federal expenses on disaster relief.
Promoting Energy Efficiency and Innovation
San Diego’s evolving innovation economy is leading the development and deployment of clean-energy solutions that will help address climate change. Solar, biofuels, electric vehicles, and smart city technology promotes environment-friendly practices that will also jumpstart job creation and economic growth. We must encourage innovation in these cutting-edge research institutions and businesses to bring more of these ideas to market.
- Introduced the Renewable Electricity Tax Credit Equalization Act, which extends tax credits for investments in qualified energy production and aims to incentivize development of renewable energy technology.
- Helped introduce the bipartisan Market Choice Act of 2019, which would replace the federal gasoline tax with a broader tax on carbon emissions and finance infrastructure among other priorities.
- Invested in new waste-to-energy (WTE) research, particularly in research activities converting biogas to fuels and high-value co-products.
- Increased direct federal spending on RDD&D of cellulosic biofuels technologies.
Recognizing Energy Security as National Security
In San Diego, our military leaders know preparing for the threat of climate change boosts combat readiness and saves lives. We can support U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) efforts to reduce energy use that will allow them to complete missions safely and efficiently. Their work to diversify their fuel supply and deploy innovative energy sources can be a model to improve military efficiency across the country.
- Introduced the HYPE Act which would cut red tape in the construction permitting process for hydropower projects and incentivize greater investment in carbon-free hydropower.
- Co-led the effort to create new regulatory pathways and funding for nuclear waste that includes both long-term disposal and interim storage programs.
- Promoted recognizing nuclear power as a clean and reliable energy source, including small modular reactors, advanced nuclear development, and nuclear fusion, and advocated for international nuclear partnerships and research efforts.
- Introduced the Carbon Utilization Act which would expand USDA research and loan guarantees to include carbon capture technologies that turn the carbon dioxide or methane products produced by organic waste into electricity, heat, or fuel. New energy sources created by this legislation, like biogas, could bring us closer to energy independence and reduce greenhouse gases.
- Introduced the Algae Agriculture Act which would support the development of algae innovation to be used as food, an energy source, and as an industrial source.
- Supported a $47 million increase in funding for the ARPA-E program in the 2018 fiscal year spending bill to fund projects to increase grid security and efficiency, and support growing the program to $1 billion by fiscal year 2024.
A Clean Energy Roadmap to Curb Climate Change and Increase Community Resiliency
Pursuing innovative energy solutions, partnering with forward-looking businesses, and ensuring that our government and military lead the way in renewable energy use, can move us toward a stronger economy and a cleaner planet. Click below to read my full plan:
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