Bernie Sanders on Environment
Democratic primary challenger; Independent VT Senator; previously Representative (VT-At-Large)
Single-use plastic is a crisis among many pollution crises
Q: Lots of nations have been switching out and eliminating single-use plastics; would you?
SANDERS: Well, it's one of many issues that we have to deal with in terms of the environment. You've seen the pictures of our oceans where there are tons and
tons of plastics, where whales wash up onshore and they have all this horrible plastic in it. So this is one of the many environmental crises that we are facing. There is an enormous amount of pollution of all kinds that's now taking place in America.
It's not just Flint, Michigan. There are hundreds of communities where people cannot get clean drinking water. So we've got a major environmental crisis. And then we've got a president who has converted the Environmental Protection Agency into the
Non-Environmental Protection Agency. He's doing exactly the wrong thing, deregulating polluters. So this is a major issue that we have got to deal with. And as president, I certainly will.
Source: CNN N. H. Town Hall on eve of 2020 N. H. primary
, Feb 6, 2020
Deal with existing nuclear waste before creating any more
Q: In your Green New Deal plan, you argue that nuclear energy is "a false solution" to the climate crisis. Why?
SANDERS: We got a heck of a lot of nuclear waste, which is going to stay around for many thousands of years. We don't know how to get rid
of it right now. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me to add more dangerous waste when we don't know how to get rid of what we have right now. Number two, it costs a lot more to build a new nuclear power plant today than it does to go to solar or
to go to wind. So I think that it is safer and more cost effective to move to sustainable energies like wind, solar, and geothermal, and not nuclear.
Q: Can you go carbon neutral without nuclear in the short term?
SANDERS: I think you can. And
I think the scientists tell us, in fact, that we can. And I think if you talk to the people in Japan in terms of what happened at Fukushima, talk to the people in Russia what happened in Chernobyl, they may not feel so comfortable with nuclear power.
Source: CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall marathon (10 Democrats)
, Sep 4, 2019
Reform FEMA to stop rebuilding in same place after storms
Q: Are you in favor of changing FEMA rules to encourage retreat from properties that have suffered repeated catastrophic losses?
Q: How would you implement those changes?
SANDERS: We have the absurd situation where FEMA will only pay
to repair a facility or a piece of infrastructure where it was before it was destroyed. That's pretty stupid. I mean, if it was destroyed once and you rebuild it, it's destroyed twice, it doesn't make a lot of sense to put it there again. So the answer
Q: So would people in coastal communities, have a house right on the beach, would they have to move?
SANDERS: Well, I don't think it makes a lot of sense to rebuild that house so that it is knocked down again in the next storm.
You do your best through carrots and sticks at the federal level. But if people want to rebuild in an area which will be devastated by the next storm, they're certainly not going to get any federal assistance from my administration to do that.
Source: CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall marathon (10 Democrats)
, Sep 4, 2019
Opposes new nuclear power plant development
Q: Do you think nuclear energy should be part of the U.S.'s decarbonizing toolbox? Do you support the construction of new nuclear energy plants? Providing federal support to keep existing ones online?
A: Sanders's campaign said he opposed nuclear development but did not provide an on-the-record quote.
Source: 2019 "Meet the Candidates" (NY Times.com)
, Apr 18, 2019
Leave a planet to our kids that is healthy & habitable
Q: You sit on Environment Committee and you've been a harsh critic of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. He's facing a number of questions about ethics--
SANDERS: The issue goes well beyond that problem. Climate change is already devastating, and yet we
have a president and a head of the EPA who do not even recognize reality of climate change. And over the last number of years we have made success against air pollution and against water pollution. We have made some success in transforming our energy
system. And the idea to go back and listen to the short term needs of the coal industry or the oil industry makes no sense to me at all. Look, here is the truth. What the scientific community is telling us is that climate change is one of the great
environmental crises facing this planet. And if we don't get a handle on that, we're going to leave a planet to our kids that is not healthy or habitable. We've got to address that. The Trump administration is moving in exactly the wrong direction.
Source: CBS Face the Nation 2018 interviews of 2020 hopefuls
, Apr 1, 2018
Climate change will lead to international security crises
Q: You mentioned that climate change in fact is related to terrorism. Can you talk about that?
SANDERS: Well, that's what the CIA and the Department of Defense tell us. If we are going to see an increase in drought and flooding and extreme weather as a
result of climate change, what that means is that peoples all over the world are going to be fighting over limited natural resources. When you have drought, when people can't grow their crops, they're going to migrate into cities.
And when people migrate into cities, and they don't have jobs, there's going to be a lot more instability, a lot more unemployment. And people will be subject to the types of propaganda that al Qaeda and ISIS are using right now. I think, when we
talk about all of the possible ravages of climate change, which, to my mind, is just a huge planetary crisis, increased international conflict is one of the issues that we have got to appreciate will happen.
Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 coverage:2016 presidential hopefuls
, Nov 15, 2015
Advocate of animal welfare and humane treatment
Bernie Sanders is an advocate of animal welfare and ensuring animals' humane treatment. He has co-sponsored several pieces of legislation to protect the interests of animals and has recently received a 100 percent rating from the Humane Society
Legislative Fund (HSLF):
Source: 2016 grassroots campaign website FeelTheBern.org, "Issues"
, Sep 5, 2015
- Breeding and Captivity Practices: No animal should be subjected to inhumane commercial breeding habits nor should they be contained within neglected and inadequate shelters.
- Livestock Issues:
All animals that are raised for food should be treated humanely with minimum standards of care.
- Cruelty Toward Animals: Non-human animals must be protected from all forms of cruelty, suffering and abuse, whether in captivity or in the wild.
Protecting Wildlife: All wild animals must be protected from unnecessary danger to their livelihood and habitats, including threats to endangered species.
Protect important watersheds and wildlife areas
Bernie Sanders has consistently advocated for and worked towards legislation that protects important watersheds and wildlife areas. He introduced key legislation with The Rebuild America Act of 2015 to improve stormwater and wastewater treatment and
improve our national parks. Bernie has spoken out against black carbon pollution and drilling initiatives which carry high risk of oil spills, and he has voted and continues to work to fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Source: 2016 grassroots campaign website FeelTheBern.org, "Issues"
, Sep 5, 2015
Conservation: Aims to ensure the continued conservation of watersheds, national reserves, and natural areas.
Clean Water and Air: Recognizes the importance of clean water and air to the continued health of ecosystems and public health.
- Public Parks & Hunting Lands: Supports the continued and strong funding of parks, hunting lands, and public use areas.
GMOs are ok, but only with required labeling
Q: Where does Bernie stand on GMOs?
A: While Bernie isn't against GMOs, Bernie says, "when a mother goes to the store and purchases food for her child, she has the right to know what she is feeding her child." People have the right to know what is in
their food so that they can decide on whether or not they want to consume it. The FDA already requires the labeling of over 3,000 ingredients, additives, & processes in our food; it makes sense that people should know if their food contains GMOs.
Source: 2016 grassroots campaign website FeelTheBern.org, "Issues"
, Sep 5, 2015
Our kids will ask why we made planet less habitable
I believe that decades from now our kids and our grandchildren will scratch their heads and they will say:
What world were these people--Members of Congress--living in in 2015 when they voted for this Keystone Pipeline?
How did it happen that they did not listen to the overwhelming majority of scientists who told us we have to cut greenhouse gas emissions, not increase them?
I think our kids and our grandchildren will be saying to us: Why did you do that to us? Why did you leave this planet less habitable than it could have been?
Source: The Essential Bernie Sanders, by Jonathan Tasini, p. 35
, Oct 17, 2013
Sophisticated equipment transformed farms to overproduction
Milk overproduction is caused by to many cows being milked, but it also has to do with dramatic changes that have transformed dairy farms over the past decades. How is it that individual cows today produce much more milk than cows in the past?
Science and breeding have transformed a whole sector of farming.
I feel sure that similar techniques in fruit, grain, and vegetable farming, techniques having to do with cross-pollination and grafting and other procedures, mirror the development of our current generation of dairy cows and their great productivity.
Similarly, the development of automated milking machines is paralleled by the use of increasingly sophisticated equipment in other types of farming.
Source: Sanders Intro to `Milk Money`, by Kirk Kardashian, p. ix
, Oct 9, 2012
Very large farms raise questions about animal cruelty
And the cows [on small farms]? Some are contended. I have been on many dairy farms in Vermont where the cows were cared for almost as if they were part of the farmer's family. VT's Bovine Practitioner of the Year says; "The majority of farmers I work
with are farmers because they love their animals. They treat them well." I think those words ring true for the many Vermont famers I have met. They are wonderful people. But very large farms, and veal operations, can raise questions about animal cruelty.
Source: Sanders Intro to `Milk Money`, by Kirk Kardashian, p. x
, Oct 9, 2012
Cut subsidies of wealthy farmers; increase grazing fees
In 1995, I introduced HR 2534, the Corporate Responsibility Act, which contained many of these provisions. While the fight against corporate welfare has been led by progressives in Congress, we've also had support from honest conservatives who are
rightfully appalled at this waste of taxpayer dollars. As a result, the concept of corporate welfare is now filtering into the mainstream, and some legislation has been passed which is beginning to chip away at this outrageous waste of money.
Source: Outsider in the House, by Bernie Sanders, p. 207-10
, Jun 17, 1997
- Reduce subsidy of wealthy farmers by limiting payments to $50,000 per person : increased income--$760 million.
- End subsidy of produce purchased by foreign consumers: increased income--$4.2 billion.
- End subsidy of overseas advertising
campaigns and trade shows for US firms: increased income--$500 million.
- End tobacco subsidies: increased income--$287 million.
- Raise fees for grazing on public lands: increased income--$280 million.
- : increased income--$50 billion.
City residents often frozen out of development decisions
Even though my campaign was geared towards lower- and middle-class people, a number of Burlington's upper-income citizens voted for me. One reason for this was that I attacked a plan to build high-rise condominiums along the choicest sections of the
waterfront, located on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, with stunning vistas of the lake & the Adirondack Mountains.
[Our Mayoral campaign poster] boldly proclaimed, "Burlington is not for sale." Our campaign reminded the people of Burlington that
the incumbent mayor and his local Democratic machine were in cahoots with the downtown business community and irresponsible "pro-growth" forces, and out of touch with the concerns of the average citizen. My basic campaign message was that if I were
elected mayor, I would open City Hall to ALL the people. I would run the city by responding to the best interests of working people, low-income people, and the middle-class --the very folks who had largely been frozen out of the decision-making process.
Source: Outsider in the House, by Bernie Sanders, p. 31-2
, Jun 17, 1997
Voted YES on protecting ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems.
Whitehouse Amdt. No. 803 to S.Amdt. 799 to S. 601 (Water Resources Development Act of 2013): To create the National Endowment for the Oceans to promote the protection and conservation of United States ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Mr. WHITEHOUSE: This measure was part of the RESTORE Act, [but] this piece of it fell out of the bargain. If you supported the RESTORE Act, you have already supported this bill. If you believe that deals should be deals in the Senate, then you should support this bill. It is very important that we as a body support this bill. It does not create a single extra bureaucracy or person. It works within the existing government, and it adds no funding.
MississippiRiverDelta.org Summary of RESTORE Act: The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act) dedicates 80% of all
Clean Water Act penalties paid by those responsible for the 2010 gulf oil disaster to Gulf Coast restoration.
Proponent's press release supporting Yes vote: The National Endowment for the Oceans, Coasts, and Great Lakes Act would provide steady funding that universities, non-profit organizations, and government agencies can count on every year to support research and restoration projects. It would be funded primarily by dedicating 12.5% of revenues from offshore energy development, including oil, gas, and renewable energy. Revenue is generated through offshore lease sales and production based royalty payments. Funds from the Endowment would be distributed through a competitive grant program to fund projects to restore habitat, manage fisheries, plan for sustainable coastal development, enhance ocean monitoring and research activities, acquire coastal properties for preservation, and relocate critical coastal infrastructure.
Reference: National Endowment for the Oceans;
Bill S.Amdt. 803
; vote number 13-SV116
on May 8, 2013
Voted YES on $2 billion more for Cash for Clunkers program.
Congressional Summary:Emergency supplemental appropriations of $2 billion for the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) Program.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. OBEY (D, WI-7): The cash for clunkers program has proven even more wildly popular than its strongest supporters had predicted. Just last month, Congress passed the program, which provided up to $4,500 if you trade in your old gas guzzler for a new car that gets better mileage. That was done in the hopes of spurring some new car sales and encouraging people to be a little more environmentally friendly. We provided $1 billion in the supplemental to get it going, enough for about 250,000 sales--which was just about exhausted in one week. This bill transfers $2 billion from the Department of Energy's Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee program, which doesn't expect to award funding until late next year.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. LEWIS (R, CA-41):
In the majority's haste to slam legislation with no time for consideration or amendments, we are now seeing the effects of such shortsighted martial law tactics.
Senator Feinstein tried to negotiate some changes to improve the program but was told that it was this way or the highway. Not one hearing on the Cash for Clunkers program, not one hearing on how the first billion dollars has been spent, not one hearing on how much money the program will need to get through the fiscal year.
Many of my colleagues will say, This is a great program, and it is necessary for the revitalization of the car industry. I'm not really going to argue with those goals. However, are we sure this program is working like it's supposed to? I don't think so. This program has only been up and running 1 week. If that is how the government is going to handle billion-dollar programs affecting all Americans, I ask, Whatever will we do if the administration takes control of our health care system?
Reference: Cash for Clunkers bill;
Bill H.R. 3435
; vote number 2009-S270
on Aug 6, 2009
Voted NO on prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land.
To prohibit the involuntary acquisition of farmland & grazing land by government for parks, open space, or similar purposes. Exceptions include takings for use by:
- public utility
- road or other right of way
- an aqueduct or pipeline
- a prison or hospital
- national disaster
Proponents support voting YES because:
Sen. CRAIG: "Eminent domain was elevated greatly as an issue following a highly controversial 2005 Supreme Court decision known as Kelo vs. The City of New London. Since that decision, we as a nation have allowed state & local governments to utilize eminent domain to force landowners to yield their property to private development. Farmers and ranchers in particular have become vulnerable to state and local governments taking their property for economic development or open space designations. My amendment is a very targeted amendment. It addresses only cases in which private working agricultural land is taken and turned into public open space."
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Sen. HARKIN: This amendment doesn't reach the Kelo decision [because Kelo was about taking open space for private development]. Under this amendment they can still do that.
CRAIG. Oh, I disagree totally. We reach a portion of Kelo that is now most frequently impacting farms and ranches, and that is open space for open space.
HARKIN. The amendment has the Federal Government telling a local government what it can and cannot do within its own jurisdiction.
Letter from the National Conference of State Legislatures & US Conference of Mayors:
"This amendment is not only ill-advised, but it is also unconstitutional [because it] preempts state & local land use laws. The 5th Amendment expressly permits the taking of private property for public use provided just compensation is provided to the owner. The power of eminent domain has always been, and should remain, a state and local power."
Reference: Craig Amendment to Farm Bill Extension Act;
Bill S.Amdt. 3640 to H.R. 2419
; vote number 2007-429
on Dec 13, 2007
Voted YES on increasing AMTRAK funding by adding $214M to $900M.
Voting YES on this amendment would restore $214 million in funding for AMTRAK, bringing the total annual expenditure for AMTRAK to $1.114 billion. The chairman of the Railroad Subcommittee explained the increase as follows:
Opponents of the amendment say that it would increase funding for Amtrak by gutting and eliminating critical programs, including safety programs, resulting in reductions in force at several agencies.
Reference: Department of Transportation appropriations;
Bill HR 5576 Amendment 1008
; vote number 2006-263
on Jun 13, 2006
- Unlike aviation, highways and transit, there is no dedicated funding for investing in our Nation's passenger rail service. This amendment restores $214 million to the Amtrak account, taking it to $1.114 billion, which is still about $300 million less than we had during the course of last year's discussion.
- Last year the President sent up a budget of zero for Amtrak. We had an amendment process that we went through this time. This time we are up to $900 million in the bill [without this amendment].
- But if you look at that $900 million, there is only $500 million for capital expenditures, out of which has to come a debt service of $280 million, which only leaves $220 million for the capital needs of this country for Amtrak, for passenger rail.
- There is nothing for
operation, and I know that the response to that is going to be that there are some incentive grants in the bill.
Voted YES on barring website promoting Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump.
An amendment to prohibit funding the "Yucca Mountain Youth Zone" website. Voting YES indicates opposition to using Yucca Mountain as the national nuclear waste repository. The amendment's sponsor says:
I would like to introduce the American people to the newest member of the Bush administration's energy policy team. His name is Yucca Mountain Johnny. He is the star of the Energy Department's Yucca Mountain Youth Zone Web site devoted to brainwashing school children into believing that burying the Nation's nuclear garbage 90 miles from Los Vegas is safe.
- The Web site features games and activities to make high level nuclear waste fun. High level nuclear waste is not fun. It is dangerous, and the Department of Energy should not be using taxpayer money for a propaganda tool.
- I would probably not be as upset with Joe Camel, excuse me, Yucca Mountain Johnny, if there was a more balanced approach on this Web site. It doesn't talk about the potential of accidents or being an inviting target for
terrorists. It doesn't talk about the fact that Yucca Mountain is in a volcanic and seismic zone area. It doesn't say anything about the existence of safer and cheaper alternatives.
- Among Yucca Mountain Johnny's witty sayings, he says, "The worst mistake is never making one." Well, Yucca Mountain is a mistake. This Web site is a mistake. Yucca Mountain Johnny is a mistake, and to promote the proposed nuclear waste repository to our children under the guise of education is a big mistake.
The amendment's opponents respond:
Reference: Energy and water development appropriations bill;
Bill HR 5427 Amendment 919
; vote number 2006-200
on May 24, 2006
- To my knowledge, nobody has questioned the accuracy or truth of what is on the Web site. My guess is that most of the children that access this website use it for term papers and papers in their classrooms that they have to do on nuclear power.
- Whether you oppose or support the repository, we should at least want the facts out to our children and adults who wish to use that same Web site about just what exactly it is.
Voted NO on deauthorizing "critical habitat" for endangered species.
To amend and reauthorize the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to provide greater results conserving and recovering listed species, and for other purposes, including:
Reference: Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act;
Bill HR 3824
; vote number 2005-506
on Sep 29, 2005
- Repealing the authority to designate an area as “critical habitat” for an endangered species
- Requiring the Secretary of the Interior to create “recovery plans” within two years of classifying species as endangered or threatened
- Allowing recovery agreements with private citizens whose land may be part of a species recovery plan
- Issuing grants to support private property owners who voluntarily help to increase the number of endangered or threatened species on their private land
- Providing compensation in an amount no less than fair market value to private landowners who have had regulation imposed upon their land
- Calling upon the Secretary to submit an annual cost analysis of the previous years spending to Congress, including the amount of Federal and State funds used for each species
Voted NO on speeding up approval of forest thinning projects.
Vote to adopt the conference report on the bill that would reduce and expedite (speed up) environmental and judicial reviews of forest thinning projects. The bill would authorize $760 million a year from fiscal 2004 to fiscal 2008. The Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service would have the authorization to remove vegetation that could cause or assist the spread of wildfires, disease or insect infestation. All forest thinning project would come after public meetings had been held. Forest thinning would be restricted to land that is within a 1.5 miles of at-risk communities , high-risk land that serves as a home for threatened and endangered species, high-risk land in the area of municipal water sources and and high-risk land that is specifically susceptible to disease or insect infestation.
Reference: Healthy Forests Restoration Act;
Bill HR 1904
; vote number 2003-656
on Nov 21, 2003
Prohibits commercial logging on Federal public lands.
Sanders co-sponsored prohibiting commercial logging on Federal public lands
Congress finds the following:
- Forest Service polls show that a strong majority of the American people think that natural resources on Federal public lands should not be made available to produce consumer goods.
- Recreation and tourism in the National Forest System creates over 30 times more jobs, and generates over 30 times more income, than commercial logging on national forests.
- Timber cut from Federal public lands comprises less than 5% of US annual timber consumption.
- The vast majority of America's original pristine forests have been logged, and what little primary forest that remains exists almost entirely on public lands.
- It is in the interests of the American people and the international community to protect and restore native biodiversity in our Federal public lands for its inherent benefits.
- Commercial logging has many indirect costs which are very significant, but not easily measured, such as flooding damage, damage to
the salmon fishing industry; and harm to the recreation and tourism industries.
EXCERPTS OF BILL:
- Prohibits commercial logging and timber sales (with specified exceptions) on Federal public lands, with a two-year phase-out for existing contracts.
- Provides for payment of relinquished contracts.
- Establishes a National Heritage Restoration Corps to restore (and monitor) such lands to their natural pre-logging condition.
- Sets forth provisions respecting forest fire and hazardous fuel reduction.
- Provides for worker retraining of eligible persons whose jobs have been lost due to terminated timber and logging contracts.
- Sets forth fund allocation provisions, including amounts for an Environmental Protection Agency investigation of non-wood paper and construction alternatives.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to House Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness; never came to a vote.
Source: National Forest Protection and Restoration Act (H.R.1494) 01-HR1494 on Apr 4, 2001
Rated 90% by the LCV, indicating pro-environment votes.
Sanders scores 90% by the LCV on environmental issues
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is the political voice of the national environmental movement and the only organization devoted full-time to shaping a pro-environment Congress and White House. We run tough and effective campaigns to defeat anti-environment candidates, and support those leaders who stand up for a clean, healthy future for America. Through our National Environmental Scorecard and Presidential Report Card we hold Congress and the Administration accountable for their actions on the environment. Through regional offices, we build coalitions, promote grassroots power, and train the next generation of environmental leaders.
The 2003 National Environmental Scorecard provides objective, factual information about the environmental voting records of all Members of the first session of the 108th Congress. This Scorecard represents the consensus of experts from 20 respected environmental and conservation organizations who selected the key votes on which Members of Congress should be graded. LCV scores votes on the most important issues of the year, including environmental health and safety protections, resource conservation, and spending for environmental programs. Scores are calculated by dividing the number of pro-environment votes by the total number of votes scored. The votes included in this Scorecard presented Members of Congress with a real choice on protecting the environment and help distinguish which legislators are working for environmental protection. Except in rare circumstances, the Scorecard excludes consensus action on the environment and issues on which no recorded votes occurred.
Source: LCV website 03n-LCV on Dec 31, 2003
Promote conservation of rare felids & canids.
Sanders co-sponsored promoting conservation of rare felids & canids
To assist in the conservation of rare felids and rare canids by supporting and providing financial resources for the conservation programs of nations within the range of rare felid and rare canid populations and projects of persons with demonstrated expertise in the conservation of rare felid and rare canid populations. Congress finds the following:
Source: Great Cats and Rare Canids Act (H.R.1464) 07-H1464 on Mar 9, 2007
- Many wild populations of felids and canids, once considered common, are in decline, and many have declined to the point that their long-term survival in the wild is in serious jeopardy.
- Of the 37 wild felid species worldwide, all are currently recognized as species in need of protection. Of the 35 wild canid species worldwide, nearly 50% are recognized as in need of such protection.
- In addition to their intrinsic value, felids and canids are important aesthetic, economic, and ecological global resources that need to be conserved.
Large felids and canids are considered both keystone and indicator species. Healthy populations of these species act as an important indicator of the integrity of entire ecosystems.
- Rare felids and rare canids face an array of threats, including loss of habitat and natural prey, intentional and unintentional takings by humans, disease transmission, and a vast number of other threats. These threats need to be addressed in a coordinated fashion.
- The purposes of this Act are to provide financial resources and to foster international cooperation (1) to restore and perpetuate healthy populations of rare felids and rare canids in the wild; and (2) to assist in the conservation of rare felid and rare canid populations worldwide.
- Related bills: H.R.1913, S.1033
Make tax deduction permanent for conservation easements.
Sanders signed H.R.1831 & S.812
Amends the Internal Revenue Code to make permanent the tax deduction for charitable contributions by individuals and corporations of real property interests for conservation purposes. Known in the Senate as the Rural Heritage Conservation Extension Act of 2009.
Source: Conservation Easement Incentive Act 09-HR1831 on Mar 31, 2009
Regulate all dog breeders down to kennels of 50 dogs.
Sanders co-sponsored PUPS: Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act
Congressional Summary:Amends the Animal Welfare Act to define a "high volume retail breeder" as a person who, in commerce, for compensation or profit: has an ownership interest in or custody of one or more breeding female dogs; and sells more than 50 of the offspring of such dogs for use as pets in any one-year period. Considers such a breeder of dogs to be a dealer.
Promulgates requirements for the exercise of dogs at facilities owned or operated by high volume retail breeders, including requiring daily access to exercise that allows the dogs to move sufficiently in a way that is not forced, repetitive, or restrictive; and is in an area that is spacious, cleaned at least once a day, free of infestation by pests or vermin, and designed to prevent the dogs from escaping.
Opponent's Comments (GSDCA, the German Shepherd Dog Club of America):In the past, legislation has excluded home/hobby breeders. This bill would, for the first time, require
home/hobby breeders to follow the strict USDA requirements, such as engineering standards designed for large commercial kennels and not homes. Such regulations would exceedingly difficult to meet in a home/residential breeding environment. If passed, PUPS would disastrously reduce purposely-bred pups for the public.
There is nothing in this bill that changes the status of already known substandard kennel violators. There is no increase in funding for additional inspectors, nor is increased inspection evaluation education included.
Dogs purposely bred for showing, trialing or other events often are not bred for several years due to many different reasons. Some of these dogs may never be bred, yet are included in the count.
Working kennels maintain a large dog population while they are evaluating dogs; if the dogs do not work out for the purpose for which they were intended, they are often sold as pets. This could bring those working/training kennels under USDA regulations.
Source: HR835/S707 11-S0707 on Feb 28, 2011
Prohibit invasive research on great apes.
Sanders signed Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act
The Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act prohibits:
- conducting invasive research on great apes
- possessing, maintaining, or housing a great ape for the purpose of conducting invasive research
- using federal funds to conduct such research on a great ape or to support an entity conducting invasive research either within or outside of the US
- knowingly breeding a great ape for the purpose of conducting or facilitating such research
- transporting or selling a great ape in interstate or foreign commerce for conducting or facilitating such research.
Source: S.810&HR1513 11-S0810 on Apr 13, 2011
- Defines "great ape" as any chimpanzee, bonobo, gorilla, orangutan, or gibbon.
Defines "invasive research" as research that may cause death, injury, pain, distress, fear, or trauma to great apes, including drug testing or exposure to a substance or isolation, or social deprivation.
- Requires the permanent retirement of all great apes that are owned by the federal government and that are being maintained in any facility for the purpose of breeding for, holding for, or conducting invasive research.
- Sets forth civil penalties for violations of this Act.
- Establishes in the Treasury the Great Ape Sanctuary System Fund to be administered for construction, renovation, and operation of the sanctuary system for surplus chimpanzees.
Prohibits breeding or possessing Big Cat species.
Sanders co-sponsored Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act
Source: H4122/S3547 12-HR4122 on Mar 9, 2012
- Prohibits any person from importing, exporting, transporting, selling, receiving, acquiring, purchasing, breeding, possessing, or owning any prohibited wildlife species (current law prohibits importing, exporting, transporting, selling, receiving, acquiring, or purchasing such a species in interstate or foreign commerce).
- Defines "breeding" as facilitating the reproduction of prohibited wildlife species (any live species of lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, or cougar or any hybrid of such species) for commercial use.
- Defines a list of exemptions to such prohibition by authorized persons.
- Includes in the list of persons authorized to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, breed, possess, own, or purchase such species a wildlife sanctuary or a zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; and a person that is in possession of animals of such species that were born before the date of this Act's enactment.
Rated 100% by HSLF, indicating a pro-animal welfare voting record.
Sanders scores 100% by the Humane Society on animal rights issues
112th Mid-Term Humane Scorecard: The Humane Society Legislative Fund has posted the final version of the 2011 Humane Scorecard, where you can track the performance of your federal lawmakers on key animal protection issues during last year. We rated legislators based on their voting behavior on measures such as agribusiness subsidies, lethal predator control, and the Endangered Species Act; their cosponsorship of priority bills on puppy mills, horse slaughter, animal fighting, and chimps in research; their support for funding the enforcement of animal welfare laws; and their leadership on animal protection.
All of the priority bills whose cosponsorships we're counting enjoy strong bipartisan support; in the House, each of the four now has more than 150 cosponsors.
The Humane Scorecard is not a perfect measuring tool, but creating some reasonable yardstick and allowing citizens to hold lawmakers accountable is central to our work. When the Humane Scorecard comes out each year, it helps clarify how the animal protection movement is doing geographically, by party affiliation, and in other categories. It helps us chart our course for animals by seeing where we have been effective, and where we need to improve.
Source: HSLF website 12-HumaneS on Jan 13, 2012
Require labeling genetically engineered food.
Sanders signed Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act
- [Require labeling] any food that has been genetically engineered or contains genetically engineered ingredients.
- Defines "genetically engineered" (GE) as a material intended for human consumption that is an organism produced through the intentional use of genetic engineering, or its progeny, without regard to whether the altered molecular or cellular characteristics of the organism are detectable.
Discussion of pro/con (Huffington Post 4/25/2013):
Polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans--over 90%--supports mandatory labeling of foods with GE ingredients. 64 other countries already require such labels. However, strong opposition from the agriculture and biotech industries has scuttled proposals for GMO (Genetically-Modified Organisms) labeling laws in the past. The most recent and high-profile of these failed attempts at a GMO labeling requirement was California's Proposition 37, which was narrowly
defeated after opponents spent $50 million lobbying against it. "Unfortunately, advocates of mandatory GMO labeling are working an agenda to vilify biotechnology and scare consumers away from safe and healthful food products," a Biotechnology Industry Organization spokeswoman wrote.
Argument in opposition (Food Democracy Now 5/26/2012):
Exactly 20 years ago today, the first Bush administration declared genetically engineered foods to be "substantially equivalent" to foods that farmers had traditionally bred for thousands of years. With this single policy, the US government radically altered the food supply, introducing novel genes into our food that had never before been consumed by humans. Corporate executives at Monsanto colluded with elected officials to make sure that their new "products" were placed onto the market as quickly as possible. Two decades later, Americans are still denied the basic right to know what's in their food because of this infamous policy.
Source: S.809/HR1699 14_S0809 on Apr 24, 2013
Keep restrictive rules for predator control in Alaska.
Sanders voted NAY Disapprove Subsistence Hunting Rule on ANWR
Library of Congress Summary: This joint resolution nullifies the rule finalized by the Department of the Interior on Aug. 5, 2016, relating to non-subsistence takings of wildlife and public participation and closure procedures on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska.
Case for voting YES by House Republican Policy Committee: The Fish and Wildlife Service rule--which lays claim to more than 20% of Alaska--violates ANILCA (Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act) and the Alaska Statehood Compact. Not only does [the existing 2016 rule] undermine Alaska's ability to manage fish and wildlife upon refuge lands, it fundamentally destroys a cooperative relationship between Alaska and the federal government.
Case for voting NO by the Sierra Club (April 6, 2017):
Legislative outcome: Passed Senate, 52-47-1, March 21; passed House, 225-193-12, Feb. 16; signed by Pres. Trump April 3.
Source: Congressional vote 18-HJR69 on Feb 16, 2017
- President Trump signed H.J. Res. 69, overturning the rule that banned "predator control" on federal wildlife refuges in Alaska unless "based on sound science in response to
a conservation concern."
- Any rule mentioning "sound science" is in trouble under a Trump administration.
- So what kinds of practices will the Trump administration now allow on our federal wildlife refuges? Activities that include shooting or trapping wolves while in their dens with pups, or hunting for grizzly bears from airplanes.
- It's all about ensuring a maximum yield of prey species like elk, moose, and caribou for the real apex predator: humans. So if having more elk requires killing wolf pups in their dens, then so be it.
- The Obama administration's rule (which Trump revoked) never tried to stop all hunting. Subsistence hunting was still allowed. What's changed is that the predators on federal wildlife refuges are now under the control of the state of Alaska. And that makes them prey.
Strengthen prohibitions against animal fighting.
Sanders co-sponsored strengthening prohibitions against animal fighting
Sen. CANTWELL. I reintroduce today the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2007. This legislation has won the unanimous approval of the Senate several times, but unfortunately has not yet reached the finish line.
There is no doubt, animal fighting is terribly cruel. Dogs and roosters are drugged to make them hyper-aggressive and forced to keep fighting even after suffering severe injuries such as punctured eyes and pierced lungs. It's all done for "entertainment" and illegal gambling. Some dogfighters steal pets to use as bait for training their dogs, while others allow trained fighting dogs to roam neighborhoods and endanger the public.
The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act will strengthen current law by making the interstate transport of animals for the purpose of fighting a felony and increase the punishment to three years of jail time. This is necessary because the current misdemeanor penalty has proven ineffective--considered a "cost of doing business"
by those in the animal fighting industry which continues unabated nationwide.
These enterprises depend on interstate commerce, as evidenced by the animal fighting magazines that advertise and promote them. Our bill also makes it a felony to move cockfighting implements in interstate or foreign commerce. These are razor-sharp knives known as "slashers" and ice pick-like gaffs designed exclusively for cockfights and attached to the birds' legs for fighting.
This is long overdue legislation. It's time to get this felony animal fighting language enacted. It's time for Congress to strengthen the federal law so that it can provide as a meaningful deterrent against animal fighting. Our legislation does not expand the federal government's reach into a new area, but simply aims to make current law more effective. It is explicitly limited to interstate and foreign commerce, so it protects states' rights in the two states where cockfighting is still allowed.
Source: Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act (S.261/H.R.137) 2007-S261 on Jan 4, 2007
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