Environment and Lake Michigan

Though our environment has improved dramatically in the four decades since the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, our primary environmental statutes are woefully outdated and do not reflect current conditions. We no longer get as much bang-for-the-buck as we should — too little environmental benefit is derived from too much cost. That’s because we ignore regulatory costs and fail to spend where spend where the environmental benefits would be greatest.

Forty years of back-and-forth between command-and-control regimes have led to massive, ineffective, and unaccountable bureaucracies. Too often, agencies fail to properly perform scientific analyses before rulemaking. I believe in using simple, clear price and market incentives instead of one-size-fits-all mandates. I want cost/benefit analyses based on sound science used to set those incentives.

Congress routinely enacts vague environmental statutes and leaves the regulatory details to unelected bureaucrats. That approach invites political manipulation and error because there is little accountability. Environmental protection therefore ebbs and flows with changing politics, which both undermines environmental protection and creates uncertainty for businesses that bear the costs of compliance. I will oppose vague delegation of environmental responsibility to the administrative branch.

For the Ninth District — and our entire region, for that matter — protecting Lake Michigan is perhaps the most immediate issue. The challenges are rapidly evolving and demand constant attention, with invasive species now threatening to undermine the lake’s natural balance of life, bringing unknown consequences to all connected lakes and surrounding states. I will fight to ensure proper Federal funding for all efforts necessary to protect Lake Michigan.

The economic growth that’s essential for restoring job opportunity, which I strongly support, need not sacrifice the environment. I am determined to ensure we conserve what I treasure as a sacred heritage — the natural resources we inherited.