Environment

The Committee for a Livable Future supports legislation that promotes clean energy, fight global warming, and encourage more efficient use of valuable natural resources.

The Committee is passionate about having the federal government act as a better partner to help local communities improve watershed health and protect open space.

Army Corps of Engineers

In recent years, several government and private studies have found that the Army Corps of Engineers is often biased in favor of large projects, lacks adequate environmental safeguards in its planning process, and has manipulated data to secure approval for major projects. The GAO, the National Academy of Sciences, internal Pentagon investigators, and the OMB have all detailed serious problems with the Corps' current planning process. In particular, the Principles and Guidelines (P&G), under which the Corps of Engineers operates, have not been updated since 1983.

Earl Blumenauer, founder of the Committee for a Livable Future, has been a leader in efforts to bring the Corps of Engineers into the 21st century. The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007, which became public law in November of 2007, included a Blumenauer provision requiring the Corps to finally update the P&G to take into account modern science and environmental values. He also helped ensure that WRDA 2007 contained other reforms, including a requirement that costly or controversial projects undergo independent review to ensure that these projects are economically justified and based on sound science.

Through its construction of water projects, the Army Corps of Engineers is a major player in developing local infrastructure and working with local communities. The ongoing construction and maintenance of Corps dams, navigation channels, flood control structures and other water development projects dramatically alter the nation's landscapes and natural hydrological systems. No other federal agency has had - and continues to have - such a profound impact on the nation's environmentally sensitive flood plains, waterways and coastal areas.

Flood Insurance

The Committee for a Livable Future believes that federal government can be of greater assistance to local communities in reducing the dangers of flooding to people and property.

The Committee for a Livable Future is a supporter of reforming the National Flood Insurance Program to ensure that it not only provides assistance to homeowners who experience flooding, but also that it helps keep people out of harm's way. In 2004, Congress passed and the President signed the "Bunning-Bereuter-Blumenauer Flood Insurance Reform Act," which reforms the National Flood Insurance Program to provide mitigation assistance to property owners who live in repeatedly flooded areas. Rather than continue to rebuild, the program provides repeatedly flooded homeowners assistance in either elevating or moving their homes away from flood waters. Those who refuse mitigation assistance would pay the full costs for choosing to live in a risky area.

Increased flooding is one of the impacts associated with global warming. Unfortunately, planning models used by federal agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Corps of Engineers do not often take this possibility into account. In 2007, the House passed legislation to require the FEMA to take global warming into account when updating its floodplain maps.

International Environmental Issues

The world's population is increasing, and its supply of water is decreasing. According to the World Meteorological Organization, from 1900-1995, global water demands grew six-fold, more than twice the rate of the world's population. Across the globe, one child dies every 15 seconds due to lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation. U.S. leadership is vital in providing drinking water and sanitation to developing countries around the world. In 2002, the United States and 185 other countries agreed to cut in half the percentage of people without access to water and sanitation. To ensure that the United States fulfills this commitment, the Committee for a Livable Future supported what has been called "landmark legislation," H.R.1973, titled "The Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act," which makes providing clean water a foreign policy objective. After overwhelming passage in the House and unanimous passage in the Senate, President Bush signed the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act (Public Law 109-121) into law on November 30, 2005.

Superfund

The Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund program was created in 1980 to provide money to clean up the nation's worst hazardous waste sites where the party responsible for polluting was out of business or could not be identified. Before it expired in 1995, the money for the Superfund came mainly from taxes on the polluters themselves. Since Congress has not reauthorized the tax, the burden of funding the cleanup of toxic waste sites now falls on the shoulders of taxpaying Americans. Reauthorizing the Superfund tax would ensure that polluters - not the American public - pay to restore public health. The Committee for a Livable Future supports Congressman Blumenauer's proposal to reinstate the Superfund taxes.

Water and Oceans

The Committee for a Livable Future understands the value of clean water, both at home and abroad. The Committee is dedicated to finding creative ways to finance water infrastructure projects around the country.

The Committee supports the "Clean Water Authority Restoration Act," which would clarify that the Clean Water Act has jurisdiction over all waters of the United States, not just "navigable waters."

Water supply is a source of tension in the United States and around the world. Increasing demand for water in dry areas of the Western United States, for example, has led to conflicts between a wide variety of interests, including cities, irrigators, Endangered Species Act obligations, fishermen, and Native American tribes. The Committee for a Livable Future supports actions to help protect this precious resource, so that future generations may rely on it.