Environmental Policies to Watch

National, state policies could shift with midterms

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In the upcoming election, voters will have the ability to impact the outcomes of several bills and programs affecting the state and country’s environmental policies moving forward. Here’s a breakdown of local and national bills and propositions and how the election could affect them.

California’s Proposition 3

Proposition 3 is an $8.6 billion water bond aimed toward water restoration and protection projects across the state. The bond would help restore watershed lands, Sierra Nevada forests, the San Francisco Bay and the Los Angeles River.

It would also improve water facility and supply, first to marginalized communities.

The Farm Bill

The Farm Bill, proposed by House of Representatives Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) in April, outlines initiatives for natural resource conservation on American farms.

It includes funding for programs that would help farmers receive financial assistance for conserving water, land and energy. If the bill passes, Americans would see less outsourcing of farming and more food from U.S. farms.

Both chambers of Congress submitted revisions to the bill which include funding for conservation, and are in the process of reviewing the bill before voting on it. If either the House or Senate were to become Democratic majorities, funding for these conservation efforts would likely increase.

Revision of Auto and Light Truck Fuel Emissions

In April, former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt requested the revision of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) set in place during the Obama administration, which increased car emission standards to 54 mpg by 2025. Pruitt’s proposed revisions would loosen these standards to 37 mpg by  2020.

The Obama administration’s strict standards of fuel efficiency for car companies encouraged production of fuel efficient cars. Without it, car companies could continue producing fuel inefficient vehicles like SUVs and trucks, which is likely to increase gas  sales.

The open review period for CAFE just ended. After midterm elections, Trump will propose the bill if he feels confident in the Republican vote. If it passes through Congress, U.S. residents could see a decrease in air quality and the level of fuel efficiency in cars.

Offshore Drilling

In January, Trump revealed his five-year plan to begin offshore drilling on almost all U.S. waters.

Many states are torn between the idea of conservation, and revenue from oil and gas. If the plan is approved by Congress, Obama’s permanent ban on offshore drilling in Pacific and Atlantic waters would come to an end, gas prices would drop and the economy would be stimulated, but the environment would change forever.

In the upcoming election, voters will impact the outcome of Trump’s five-year plan, by voting for either Republican or Democratic representatives in Congress. The representatives will vote on the bill after the midterm elections.