Kamala Harris on Environment

Democratic candidate for President (withdrawn); California Senator


We turned brown skies to blue by taking on oil companies

When I think about [environmental] issues, it really is through the lens of my baby nieces. When I look at what is going to be the world if we do nothing, when they turn 20, I am really scared.

[Climate change] is a problem that was created by human behaviors. And we can change our behaviors in a way that saves our planet. I've seen it happen in California.

As the attorney general of California, I took on the big oil companies and we saw progress. If any of you have been to Los Angeles, 20 years ago, you'll remember, that sky was brown. You go there now, the sky is blue and you know why? Because leaders decided to lead and we took on these big fossil fuel companies.

We have some of the most important and strongest laws in the country and we made a difference. And my point being, I've done it before and I will lead as president on this issue because we have no time, the clock is ticking, but we need courage, and we need courageous leadership. We can get this done.

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

Declare drinking water emergency on Day One

Q: If you become president on day one, do you declare a national emergency on the climate?

HARRIS: Well, I certainly would declare an emergency--a drinking water emergency. And, if you don't mind, I'm just going to stand. And, also, I think it's critically important that we immediately on day one get back in the Paris agreement. I think it's important that, on day one, we immediately ratify the Kigali agreement in terms of the Montreal Protocol and that amendment. And I think it's critically important, on day one, that we end any fossil fuel leases on public lands. And, that, I'm prepared to do on day one as a matter of executive action.

Source: CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall marathon (10 Democrats) , Sep 4, 2019

Ban fracking & offshore drilling

Q: The toxic impacts of fracking are immense--will you commit to implementing a federal ban on fracking?

HARRIS: There's no question I'm in favor of banning fracking, so yes. This is something I've taken on in California. I have a history of working on this issue. We have to acknowledge that the residual impact of fracking is enormous in terms of the impact on the health and safety of communities.

Q: Would you also ban offshore drilling?

HARRIS: Yes, and I've again, worked on that. You can talk to the folks in Santa Barbara about the work that I've done there where it's a big problem--but it's a big problem in many areas of our country--and yes, I would. Yes.

Source: CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall marathon (10 Democrats) , Sep 4, 2019

Ban plastic straws & bags; limit single-use plastic

Q: We're told that there'll be more tons of plastic than of fish in the oceans by 2050. What will you do as president to drastically curb reliance on single-use plastics?

HARRIS: Everyone needs to see the images of what these plastic bottles and straws and everything are doing to our oceans. [The solution] is about one, creating the incentives. We banned plastic bags in California--people had to get used to it.

Q: So would you ban the single-use plastic?

HARRIS: I think we have to create incentives. Look, those little plastic grocery bags when I was growing up--we used them as garbage bags. Then we didn't have those anymore so we used paper bags as garbage bags--we can adapt.

Q: Do you ban plastic straws?

HARRIS: I think we should, yes. I'm going to be honest--it's really difficult to drink out of a paper straw. Let's encourage innovation and I think we could do a little bit better than some of those flimsy plastic straws but we do need to ban the plastic.

Source: CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall marathon (10 Democrats) , Sep 4, 2019

I like cheeseburgers, but less meat in food pyramid

Q: What about the impact of certain foods on the environment? Livestock cattle contribute 14% of all human-produced greenhouse gases. Would you support changing dietary guidelines?

HARRIS: Yes, in a broader context, as a nation we actually have to have a real priority at the highest level of government around what we eat and in terms of health eating because we have a problem in America. We can talk about the amount of sugar in everything; we could go on and on. So the answer is yes. But we have to strike a balance around creating incentives and then banning certain behaviors. I love cheeseburgers from time to time. But in terms of creating incentives--that we will eat in a healthy way, that we will encourage moderation--the government has to do a much better job of that.

Q: Would you support changing the dietary guidelines? The food pyramid, to reduce red meat specifically?

HARRIS: Yes, I would.

Source: CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall marathon (10 Democrats) , Sep 4, 2019

Figure out what to do with nuclear waste--not Yucca Mountain

Q: What about the new and smarter generation of nuclear power technologies?

HARRIS: The biggest issue we face in terms of nuclear energy is the waste and what are we going to do with that. Yucca Mountain--that's a nonstarter for me. The kind of disposal that has happened at Yucca Mountain--and also taking away that state's ability to make decisions--this administration was, in the middle of the night, carting waste in to Yucca Mountain without the authority and the permission of the leaders of the state of Nevada.

Q: Senator Bernie Sanders now says he wants to phase it out, get rid of nuclear power. Do you agree?

HARRIS: We have to figure out what we're going to do about the waste. My bottom-line is that I'm not going to allow the federal government to go in and impose its priorities on any state--it's going to have to be those states who make that decision.

Source: CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall marathon (10 Democrats) , Sep 4, 2019

Take on interests with profit motive to pollute

Leaders have to lead. I'm prepared to do it, because, on this issue, it's not a question of debating the science. It's a question of taking on powerful interests, taking on the polluters, understanding that they have a profit motive to pollute. Let's take them to court. Let's require that, if they don't change their behaviors, they will pay those fines and there will be accountability and consequences.
Source: Climate Crisis Town Hall (CNN 2019 Democratic primary) , Sep 4, 2019

Develop new nuclear technologies

Kamala Harris on Nuclear Power: Support developing new nuclear technologies as part of an effort to fight climate change.


Utilities and scientists are developing nuclear power reactors that are much smaller than the massive facilities that have been used in past decades. The new reactors, called Small Modular Reactors that the Energy Department's national labs are helping to develop, would produce perhaps 50 to 100 megawatts.

Source: Politico "2020Dems on the Issues" , Jul 17, 2019

100% lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters

Harris voted against repealing regulations on methane emissions, and has a 100 percent lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters, which tracks lawmakers' voting records on energy and environmental issues.
Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Jan 21, 2019

Prosecuted polluters for illegal dumping and air pollution

Harris also has a strong history of going after polluters. As district attorney, she created San Francisco's first Environmental Justice Unit and went after cases involving illegal dumping and air pollution. As attorney general, she went after companies including BP, Chevron, Comcast, Cosco Busan, ExxonMobil, and South California Gas Company, with Cosco Busan agreeing to the largest settlement of its kind for its 2007 spill in the San Francisco Bay.
Source: Jacobin Magazine on 2018 California Senate race , Aug 10, 2017

Civil business penalties should go to protect public health

Harris has introduced a series of regulatory changes to Proposition 65 meant to curb frivolous lawsuits. The law, originally passed by voters in 1986, forces businesses to post warnings about the presence of toxic chemicals in products, homes and in the workplace. The proposal seeks to ensure that a greater share of civil penalties paid by businesses go to fulfilling the law's purpose of protecting public health, said Kristin Ford, press secretary for Harris.
Source: BizJournal: California legislative voting records: Prop. 65 , Sep 29, 2015

Fight to protect our coast

I will be a fighter for the next generation on the critical issues facing our country. I will be a fighter for middle class families who are feeling the pinch of stagnant wages and diminishing opportunity. I will be a fighter for our children who deserve a world-class education, and for students burdened by predatory lenders and skyrocketing tuition. And I will fight relentlessly to protect our coast, our immigrant communities and our seniors.
Source: 2016 Senate campaign website, KamalaHarris.org , Apr 1, 2015

Keep restrictive rules for predator control in Alaska.

Harris 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

Other candidates on Environment: Kamala Harris on other issues:
2020 Presidential Candidates:
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
CEO Don Blankenship (Constitution-WV)
CEO Rocky De La Fuente (R-CA)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian-IL)
Gloria La Riva (Socialist-CA)
Kanye West (Birthday-CA)

2020 GOP and Independent primary candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (Libertarian-RI)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Zoltan Istvan (Libertarian-CA)
Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Ian Schlackman (Green-MD)
CEO Howard Schultz (Independent-WA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (Green-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld (Libertarian-NY,R-MA)

2020 Democratic Veepstakes Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D-GA)
Rep.Val Demings (D-FL)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
Gov.Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D-NM)
Sen.Catherine Masto (D-NV)
Gov.Gina Raimondo (D-RI)
Amb.Susan Rice (D-ME)
Sen.Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Gov.Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI)
A.G.Sally Yates (D-GA)
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External Links about Kamala Harris:

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

Page last updated: Mar 20, 2021