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Tom Vilsack on Environment

Democratic IA Governor


Vetoed a bill that failed to adequately protect health

Although House File 2523 was touted as the “air quality bill” by legislators, the fact is that the Minimal Risk Levels established in this bill fail to adequately protect the health of Iowans. The levels established in the bill misrepresent the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations by allowing exposures for longer time periods than recommended and by failing to require immediate responses to exceedences of those standards.
Source: Veto Message Apr 13, 2004

Burn waste oat hulls to save energy costs

Vilsack announced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted his request for a waiver of an EPA permit review, which will allow the University of Iowa power plant to burn waste oat hulls from Quaker Foods and Beverages in Cedar Rapids. The project will reduce the use of coal by 20,000 to 30,000 tons per year and save the university more than half a million dollars each year in energy costs.
Source: Press Release Apr 13, 2004

Vetoed a bill without adequate environmental safeguards

I do not want to sign a bill into law that would immunize from any accountability those who bear some or all responsibility for causing injury or death. A buyer of land who had nothing to do with causing the property to become environmentally contaminated, could nonetheless be fully and knowingly responsible for causing completely innocent Iowans to become exposed to and injured or killed by the contaminants that already existed on the land at the time of purchase.
Source: Veto Message Mar 31, 2004

Fund solutions for runoff contaminating waterways

Other federal priorities include funding of solutions to prevent runoff contaminating lakes, rivers and streams; and funding for full implementation of the Conservation Security Program.
Source: Press Release Jan 23, 2004

Replace MTBE in gasoline with cleaner ethanol.

Vilsack signed the Midwestern Governors' Conference resolution:

Source: Resolution of Midwestern Governors' Conf. on Ethanol 00-MGC1 on May 25, 2000

More state autonomy on brownfields & Superfund cleanups.

Vilsack adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), otherwise known as Superfund, was created to clean up the worst hazardous waste sites across the country and to recoup expenses from responsible parties. Since the law was enacted in 1980, the Superfund program has caused significant amounts of litigation, while cleanup of hazardous waste sites has not been as fast or effective as the statute envisioned. In addition, states have not had the necessary tools or funding from the federal government to adequately clean up state sites. “Brownfields” sites—abandoned or undeveloped non-Superfund industrial or commercial sites under state jurisdiction—have gained increasing attention from Congress in recent years as passage of a comprehensive Superfund package has become increasingly unlikely.

NGA’s Position

NGA supports the reauthorization of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980. NGA policy calls for more opportunities for states to take authority for cleanup of National Priorities List (NPL) sites, increased autonomy and funding over brownfield sites, and the concurrence of a Governor before a site can be listed on the NPL.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA15 on Aug 1, 2001

Support State Revolving Loan Fund for flexible Clean Water.

Vilsack adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The Clean Water Act (CWA) has not been reauthorized since 1987. At that time, provisions were added to address nonpoint source pollution, pollution from diffuse sources such as runoff of fertilizers and pesticides, stormwater runoff, and sediment. Governors and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disagree on the best approach to addressing the problem of nonpoint source pollution.

NGA’s Position

NGA supports the reauthorization of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 (the Clean Water Act). The Governors support an increased focus on watershed management planning, including funding for the State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF) and nonpoint source pollution programs. States should have the flexibility to develop plans for attaining federally approved water quality standards in impaired waters - in consultation with local government officials and stakeholders - and to allocate responsibility for cleanup among contributors. The TMDL regulations should be revised, by legislation if necessary, to give states adequate flexibility, funding, and time to address impaired waters.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA9 on Aug 1, 2001

More EPA flexibility on interstate ozone.

Vilsack signed the Midwestern Governors' Conference resolution:

Source: Resolution of Midwestern Governors' Conf. on Clean Air 98-MGC2 on May 12, 1998

Maintain joint EPA-state authority over nuclear waste.

Vilsack adopted a letter to Senate leaders from 4 Governors:

On behalf of the nation’s Governors we write in opposition to provisions contained in the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1999. Specifically, we object to Section 103, which removes authority from the EPA to set radiation protection standards at the proposed high-level nuclear waste storage facility. Section 103 is in direct conflict with NGA’s Policy NR-8,Environmental Compliance at Federal Facilities, which was unanimously reaffirmed at the Governors’ annual meeting in August. NGA policy NR-8 is based on the premise that

The problems of environmental cleanup and compliance at federal facilities are deep-rooted. Contamination and environmental degradation are the result of years of mismanagement and neglect. They reflect noncompliance with federal policies, unclear or inadequate laws and regulations, institutional attitudes that devalue environmental concerns, and the reluctance of federal agencies to work with federal and state regulators.
NGA policy NR-8 recommends that
Congress should amend applicable federal laws to ensure that all wastes, including radioactive wastes and munitions, are within the purview of state and EPA authorities. Efforts should be made to coordinate all federal requirements. In addition, Congress should require that all quasi-federal sovereign businesses and corporations meet the same environmental compliance standards as other federal agencies.
Section 103 removes EPA authority to set radiation standards at the proposed high-level nuclear waste storage facility and is contrary to the NGA policy recommendation that both EPA and states should have authority over radioactive wastes. It is a disturbing precedent that could lead to further dilution of state and EPA authority to set environmental standards at federal facilities and coordinate eventual clean-up activities in all 50 states.
Source: National Governor's Association letter to Congress 99-NGA22 on Oct 21, 1999

Other candidates on Environment: Tom Vilsack on other issues:
Nominees:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010