Your vote matters, and so does your Congressman’s. That’s why I have to question why someone who claims to be an advocate for our environment has been consistently voting against it hoping that no one will notice. You can see the roll call vote here.
The purpose of this rule was to reduce the occurrence of an environmental hazard known as acid mine runoff, defined by the Environmental Protection Agency:
Acid mine drainage is the formation and movement of highly acidic water rich in heavy metals. This acidic water forms through the chemical reaction of surface water (rainwater, snowmelt, pond water) and shallow subsurface water with rocks that contain sulfur-bearing minerals, resulting in sulfuric acid. Heavy metals can be leached from rocks that come in contact with the acid, a process that may be substantially enhanced by bacterial action. The resulting fluids may be highly toxic and, when mixed with groundwater, surface water and soil, may have harmful effects on humans, animals and plants.
The previous administration Stream Protection Rule, written by the Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation (OSMRE). Within it were new restrictions for mining permits in areas with potential for surface water contamination, as well as language clarifying a stricter definition of “stream buffer rules.” A lack of clarity regarding buffer zone regulations that were meant to curb acid mine runoff was discussed in a history of stream protection published on the OSMRE web site:
In 1983, OSMRE issued a rule that required a 100-foot “buffer zone” adjacent to streams. Environmental groups have alleged that the 1983 rule is an outright prohibition on the disposal of excess spoil that buries streambeds, which could severely limit coal mining operations in Appalachia. Historically, OSMRE and some Appalachian states did not interpret the 1983 rule in this manner. In 2008, OSMRE finalized the Stream Buffer Zone Rule to clarify OSMRE’s interpretation of the 1983 rule. The 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule explicitly allows excess spoil to be placed in streams, though it also added new requirements designed to reduce the adverse environmental impacts of doing so. Environmental groups challenged the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule in court … and in February 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia vacated the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule. The decision reinstated the 1983 version of the Stream Buffer Zone Rule.
So essentially, passing of this new resolution has taken us back to 1983. It does not in itself legalize anything — rather, it invalidates an update to the 1983 law, leaving plenty of wiggle room for interpretations friendlier to the mining industry and an enemy to our water supply. We need leaders who are ready to move us forward and learn from the mistakes of our past. Not ones who blindly vote and take us back from decades of research and science. The science and data are clear; our water should be also.
Yesterday my opponent voted against the environment and for party lines. Despite overwhelming opposition by his constituents, and even our Governor, Posey voted to allow off shore drilling on our coasts. Governor Desantis stated “we’re not a state for that” and he “will be raising Cain” if drilling plans advance.
Thankfully, this bill to stop the drilling passed the house, with Republican support from Representatives Matt Gaetz and Mast. We need a leader in congress who doesn’t just say he cares about the environment, but shows it in his actions and votes. No state is more effected by the environment than Florida. Our economy depends upon it. Our Indian River Lagoon and wildlife depend on the responsible actions of us. Could you imagine the devestation of our economy and environment with another BP Oil spill right off of our own coast? We are supposed to learn from our mistakes, not continue to do the same things that continue to put us at risk.
Your representative is supposed to represent your voice, not the voice of special interest groups. I want to hear your voice and I will be your voice. I will make decisions based on facts, data, and science, and I will always protect our environment over any party line. This is certainly one issue we can all come together on and be better.
18 years ago today, 2,792 people lost their lives to terrorists in the September 11th attacks. 18 years, and yet I still recall the day as if it was only last week; Mike, Tom, and I huddled around Nick’s TV watching as the towers fell and wondering what was next. But for some people, those 18 years have been their entire lives, and our post-9/11 world is all they know. They have always lived with politicians and the media using ‘us’ and ‘them’ to divide us and define how we live. Fighting with each other, instead of fighting the issues and causes that led to the attack by al-Qaeda.
When the attacks happened, I had recently finished up 8 years with the Navy and was using my GI Bill to get a degree. Like a lot of veterans at the time, I wondered if I would be recalled somehow, or asked to return, I also wondered if I should just re-up on my own. As the war on terror evolved and progressed, it became clear that the need for an aviation electrician specializing in submarine hunting was not an ‘in demand’ billet for desert warfare. I had heeded the call from the first Gulf War when only 17 and still in high school, this time I figured to finish college and look for an OCS opportunity to return and assist the Country. However, this time the calling came as an engineer who could assist by using my new skills to design military equipment and systems that helped to enhance and protect the next generation of Service Members. It certainly was not as courageous as those that were called to fight, but I do feel that my work helped those that were more directly involved in that conflict, as the designers of the equipment I used, assisted and protected me when I served. I saw my work as a fight against hate, and the role I could play was being an engineer, as we all have our own parts to play in any society.
I too have reacted emotionally and fallen for the misinformation of ignorance being pushed to us by many outlets; blaming or labeling a group and ignoring that it was specific people who committed these acts Men who had hate in their hearts and used societal tools, like religion, to justify their actions. None of us are perfect people, and we must continuously work together to achieve our goals. We must never forget that there are evil men in this world, and that good men must stand in opposition to those that seek to do harm. But we must also not let fear or anger cloud our judgement. We all must stand together against extremism, be it religious, racial or ideological. We need to listen to each other so that we can see our common ground and not just the differences. The only way to make our country, and the world better, is by working together accepting our differences and acknowledging our commonalities. On September 12th our Country did just that. We set aside things that don’t really matter in order to do good. We came together, and showed the world we are better together. Let’s keep it that way.