Tom Ridge on Environment

Secretary of Homeland Defense; Former Republican Governor (PA)


Regional DHS office would have decreased Katrina damage

Katrina became the costliest [$81.2 billion] and one of the deadliest storms in American history [about 2,500 people killed or missing]. In New Orleans, the levee system protecting the city broke in more than 50 places. And meanwhile, almost no governmen assistance--state, local, or federal--in evidence. It reminded viewers of scenes from third world countries.

To be sure, had all gone right, there would still have been great loss of life and property. Even so, there is no doubt that many more people died and many more suffered than would have occurred if the government network had been working together in the way we had planned it.

If we had been able to establish a regional office in New Orleans, there would have been mutual support to deal with everything from evacuation to health care to emergency food and water supplies--and attention given to the immense task of dealing with the cleanup, and the even more daunting task of helping recapture the spirit of a city and its environs.

Source: The Test of our Times, by Tom Ridge, p.219 , Sep 1, 2009

Changed rules & got 350 polluted industrial sites cleaned up

[Under Ridge], the gas tax was increased to provide for more road building. He set up an opportunity zones program for distressed areas and set up a program that cleaned up 350 polluted industrial sites, by limiting landowners’ liability after certain conditions were met; in contrast, the federal government’s Superfund program, which relies on lawyers seeking big judgment from landowners, had cleaned up only 13 of 111 sites in Pennsylvania in nearly 20 years.
Source: National Journal, the Almanac of American Politics , Jan 28, 2000

Let industries audit themselves & then clean up

Source: 1998 PA National Political Awareness Test , Jul 2, 1998

More flexibility in environmental regulation

Source: 1998 PA National Political Awareness Test , Jul 2, 1998

More state autonomy on brownfields & Superfund cleanups.

Ridge 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.

Ridge 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

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