Senator Boxer has earned a reputation as the Senate’s leading champion on protecting our environment. She chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and is the first woman in Senate history to do so. Throughout her career, Senator Boxer has fought to protect California’s spectacular coast, mountains, deserts, rivers and forests to preserve them for future generations. She continues to work to protect our health by improving air and water quality and to promote the sustainable use of natural resources. She has led efforts in the Senate to fight global warming and create millions of clean energy jobs in America.

Protecting and Preserving Our Natural Heritage

  • Protecting Our Land as Wilderness – Senator Boxer wrote the California Wild Heritage Act, a bill that would protect 2.5 million acres of spectacular land in California by designating it as wilderness. She has worked with Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives to preserve more than one million acres of wilderness in areas ranging from the North Coast to the Eastern Sierra Nevada range. Most recently, in 2009, the Senate approved a public lands bill that included three of Senator Boxer’s bills designating more than 700,000 acres of wilderness.

  • Protecting California’s Coast - Senator Boxer, like every other Californian, cherishes California’s magnificent coast and understands the benefits it provides for our state. That is why she has fought to stop any new offshore drilling off California’s coast and repeatedly introduced legislation to protect the state’s coastline. A clean, unspoiled coast is crucial to California’s ocean-related industries, including tourism, recreation, and fishing, which generate $23 billion a year in economic activity and support 390,000 jobs.

  • Appropriations for Land Conservation - Senator Boxer secured over $200 million for conservation-related land acquisition in areas throughout California, including portions of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Pt. Reyes National Seashore, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Los Angeles Padres National Forest in Big Sur, Cleveland National Forest near San Diego, and Tahoe National Forest. 

  • Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - Senator Boxer has been a strong advocate for protecting the magnificent beauty of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She repeatedly voted against opening ANWR to oil drilling, and in 2003, she led the successful effort to block ANWR drilling provisions in the fiscal year 2004 budget resolution.  

Saving Our Oceans, Fisheries and Water Resources  

  • Marine Sanctuaries - Senator Boxer introduced the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries Boundary Modification and Protection Act, which would expand the boundaries of two existing National Marine Sanctuaries to protect the entire coastline in Sonoma County as far north as Point Arena in Mendocino County. The Sonoma and Mendocino coasts are one of the planet’s most biologically productive marine environments.
  • Pacific Salmon - Senator Boxer worked to promote the recovery of salmon populations, introducing legislation to authorize and improve a state grant program to restore critical salmon habitat. Senator Boxer has also fought for salmon fishermen and communities devastated by recent fishery closures. Senator Boxer wrote the Salmon Assistance and Recovery Act to provide disaster relief to fishermen following the Klamath River salmon collapse. Much of the bill was included in the 2006 Senate-passed Magnuson-Stevens bill, and fishermen and affected businesses have received over $47 million. In addition, Senator Boxer worked with the West Coast delegation to obtain $170 million in disaster assistance for fishermen and businesses affected by the 2008 Sacramento River salmon collapse.

  • Comprehensive Ocean Protection - Senator Boxer wrote the comprehensive National Oceans Protection Act to protect our oceans by implementing recommendations outlined by the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. This legislation would formally establish the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, enhance coordination among federal and state agencies in protecting ocean resources, establish a trust fund to support ocean management and expand ocean research and education. The Administration is now in the processes of implementing many of the reforms outlined in this bill.

  • Securing Funding for Clean Water - CALFED is a state and federal partnership that was formed in 1994 to ensure a clean and adequate water supply for agriculture, urban use, and environmental interests in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. In 1997, while serving on the Appropriations Committee, Senator Boxer secured the first and largest annual appropriation for the program: $85 million. In 2001, Senator Boxer worked with Senator Feinstein in 2001 to negotiate and introduce legislation reauthorizing the program. A modified version of this legislation was enacted as part of a larger water management package in 2004.  

Fighting Global Warming 

  • Leading Efforts to Address Global Warming – When Senator Boxer became the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in 2007 she immediately began to address global warming. She held a series of groundbreaking hearings to focus attention on the threats of global warming. In 2008, she joined Republican Senator John Warner of Virginia and Independent Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut in crafting a bill to confront global warming and move the United States toward a clean energy future. She took that bill – with the support of 54 senators – to the floor of the Senate. 

  • Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act – Senator Boxer joined with Massachusetts Senator John Kerry to write the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act of 2009, legislation aimed at reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil, addressing global warming and creating millions of clean energy jobs. Senator Boxer remains committed to making the United States a world leader in the fight against global warming.

  • Making Federal Buildings More Energy Efficient - Senator Boxer authored portions of the 2007 Energy bill requiring federal buildings to reduce energy use and global warming pollution. The law also provides grants to help local governments make their buildings more energy efficient. 

  • Advancing New Vehicle Technologies - As a leader on clean-fuel technologies, Senator Boxer successfully fought to repeal the luxury tax on electric cars – to make them more affordable for consumers – for other alternative fuel projects. She supports funding for clean fuel vehicles and has introduced legislation to remove subsidies for gas guzzlers.

Protecting Public Health 

  • Protecting Children from Pesticides – In 2000, Boxer sponsored an amendment that became law that prevents the Department of Defense from using pesticides that contain known or probable carcinogens in areas used by children, including parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, day care centers and base housing.

  • Reducing Arsenic in Drinking Water - In 2001, Senator Boxer sponsored an amendment to create a standard for arsenic at a level to protect those at greatest risk – infants, children, pregnant women, and the elderly ensuring the protection of the entire population. Her amendment – which was signed into law – also made it easier for people to know how much arsenic was in their water. 

  • Cleaning Up Brownfields - In 2001, Senator Boxer authored a provision in the Brownfields cleanup bill – which became law – that gave priority in cleanup to sites affecting children and other vulnerable populations. 

  • Eliminating MTBE - The Senate passed Boxer’s 1999 amendment expressing the sense of the Senate that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should eliminate the use of MTBE, an additive in gasoline and possible carcinogen that was contaminating drinking water. In March 2000, after persistent urging by Senator Boxer, the EPA, under its authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act, began the phase-out of MTBE.

  • Preventing Pesticide Testing on Humans – The Senate passed Senator Boxer’s amendment to place a temporary ban on human pesticide testing until the EPA reviewed its standards for these tests. The amendment came in response to a report by Senator Boxer and Congressman Henry Waxman of Los Angeles that found that more than twenty human pesticide studies had violated scientific and ethical guidelines.

  • Ensuring Safe Drinking Water – Senator Boxer wrote legislation to give consumers access to an annual report detailing the level of contaminants in their drinking water. Her bill was included in the Safe Drinking Water Act and became law by President Clinton. The law requires water utilities to provide “plainly-worded” reports to customers.