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Environment

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Catherine Parker
October 30 2019

As the daughter of a high-school science teacher I was raised to respect data, and facts, and the wisdom of observation and scholarship. Fifty years have passed since the first Earth Day; It’s been more than thirty years since the first widespread warnings about man-made climate change and our warming planet. Now the future has arrived, our world is on fire, and we see that our collective efforts to avoid catastrophe have been woefully inadequate.

I will state this as clearly as I can: There is no war worth fighting other than the one against man-made climate change. This is a social justice issue, an economic issue, a housing issue, and a health issue. It requires the full weight and power of the federal government in a mobilization of the likes we haven’t seen since World War II.

In my twelve years as a public official I’ve fought to keep Westchester County in the forefront of good environmental policy with bans of single use packaging like plastic bags and Styrofoam containers, the creation of an Office of Energy and Sustainability, and opposition to new fossil fuel pipelines and compressor stations. The time has come to take the fight to Washington.

We’ve seen the watchdog agencies of our ship of state, boarded and commandeered by pirates beholden to the fossil fuel industry. The Environmental Protection Agency, The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are all infested with political appointees and industry lapdogs. At this stage in the crisis we require something new. I will call for the creation of a Federal Renewable Energy Commission.

This doesn’t have to be all “doom and gloom.” I believe skeptics can be won over by understanding there are job opportunities and economic savings in this effort. By many estimates we can create roughly 10.6 million new jobs helping the United States become an exporter of carbon neutral technology rather than a trafficker in climate changing fossil fuels. The funding can be taken directly from our massive Defense Budget because this is a matter of critical national security.

New construction should quickly be geared toward reducing energy demand. Passive home design and renovation can be accelerated with federal incentive programs coupled with affordable housing initiatives. Technical advances are already making geo-thermal and heat exchange technology increasing affordable.

Fossil fuel vehicles should be held to increasingly higher efficiency standards. New highway infrastructure should include electric charging stations. Industries like solar and wind power, passive home design, and artificial intelligence can help propel the US into this global leadership role.

In the 17th Congressional District I’ll push for expanded mass transit in Rockland County, along with billions of dollars in desperately needed drinking water infrastructure. It is a disgrace that clean water and mass transit are plentiful on the Westchester side of the river but the opposite is true as you drive west over the Tappan Zee. We all deserve clean drinking water and an ability to get to and from work easily.

This is all about the environment. It is my top priority. You have my word.

ON DAY ONE: THE PARKER PLAN

Investments:

Make an immediate $400 Billion for clean energy research over a 10-year window.

Change:

Change the name and the mission of FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) to FREC (Federal Renewable Energy Commission)

Goals:

Simultaneously decarbonize the national power grid; tap into an expected $23 Trillion demand for clean energy technologies; and embrace The Restorative Economy (https://www.globaldashboard.org/2015/04/16/the-restorative-economy/)

Parallel Policies:

Focus new incentives for passive energy construction/retrofitting (https://www.nypassivehouse.org ); encourage charging stations on new highway construction; and implement programs ensuring that no new natural gas infrastructure and drilling are started.

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