Environmental Champion Rep. Waxman Announces Retirement
Yesterday, Rep. Waxman (D-CA) issued a statement announcing he will not be seeking reelection in the fall. Rep. Waxman will retire at the end of the year, after serving 40 years in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“I first ran for office because I believe government can be a force for good in people’s lives," Rep. Waxman said in a written statement. "I have held this view throughout my career in Congress. And I will leave the House of Representatives with my conviction intact. I have learned that progress is not always easy. It can take years of dedication and struggle. But it’s worth fighting for."
Rep. Waxman helped author the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments, sponsored the 1986 and 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments, successfully passed the Waxman-Markey climate bill out of the House and was instrumental in fighting back against 317 anti-environmental riders during his time in Congress.
“Congressman Waxman has been a stalwart champion of fighting for cleaner air, water and programs that protect public health and the environment," said Trip Van Noppen, president of Earthjustice. "Not only has Waxman been a leader in speaking out against climate change, he dedicated more than two decades of his career working to pass legislation that would address the climate crisis."
“In every battle, at every juncture, in every moment that mattered most, Rep. Waxman stood up for the air we breathe, the water we drink, the lands we love and the wildlife we cherish," said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “He embodies public service of the highest order, and we are all the better for his work."
Rep. Waxman was an outspoken critic of the Keystone XL pipeline, often addressing the effects increased tar sands production would have on climate change. A full summary of Rep. Waxman's accomplishments in Congress can be found here.
“In perhaps no area have the special interests held more sway than environmental policy, and I have battled them to protect clean air and safe drinking water throughout my career," Rep. Waxman continued in his written statement.
“I have had a long career and an eventful one—and I wouldn’t trade any of it. I woke each day looking forward to opportunities to make our country stronger, healthier and fairer."
Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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