Minneapolis, Aug. 18, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- This past weekend over 125 bipartisan state legislators from across the nation met in Minneapolis, Minnesota for a conference to set a pro-active environmental agenda for 2015 and beyond. Gathering as part of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL), lawmakers discussed issues such as the Clean Power Plan, reforming outdated chemical policy laws, clean energy and state-level strategies for protecting water quality.
Lawmakers identified solar power initiatives as a priority. "Americans want to know where their energy is coming from. They want to own it and have personal control over the resource. Solar allows consumers that control," said Iowa Representative Charles Isenhart. "In 2015, I and many other legislators will promote policies that empower homeowners and business owners to own that resource."
Conference participants discussed a wide range of issues: among them, protecting children from toxic chemicals and ocean acidification. Washington State Senator Kevin Ranker is leading a workgroup of NCEL members to address ocean acidification modeled on Washington State's successful Blue Ribbon Panel. "The health of the oceans are critical to the health of our climate," said Ranker. NCEL members in at least eight states will introduce legislation to tackle ocean related challenges in 2015.
J.R. Tolbert, Executive Director of NCEL, said "There are thousands of state legislators who act to protect the environment each year in legislatures across the country. Without a doubt the greatest gains of the past 20 years are at the state level. Fourteen states acted to ban the toxic chemical bisphenol-a from baby products, more than a dozen states passed clean car laws to reduce carbon emissions from automobiles. We know that our ability to avert climate disaster, clean the air we breathe and the water we drink will be traced back to state legislators across the country. It is amazing what we can accomplish when we cooperate with each other."
"The goal of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators is to provide our members with the information they need to promote sound environmental policy at the state level," said past NCEL Chairman and Maryland Delegate James W. Hubbard. "Our members lead the charge to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink. The conference provides members with ideas and initiatives to provide the next generation of environmental protections across the country."
Founded in 1995 by legislators as a resource for legislators, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) is a network of more than 1,000 legislators from both political parties with representation in all 50 states. NCEL's goal is to provide our members with the information they need to defend existing environmental safeguards, advance environmental protections, and to elevate the voice of state legislators in ongoing federal policy debates.
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Source:National Caucusof Environmental Legislators