As a co-Chairman of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Caucus (SEEC), Congressman Connolly plays a leadership role in efforts to protect America's environment and public health and push for investment in clean and renewable energy. In Congress, he helped pass the largest investment in clean energy in American history and supported legislation to reduce global carbon emissions. He supports a Green New Deal and legislation investing in sustainable infrastructure.
Congressman Connolly fought President Trump's all-out assault on the environment and science. He worked with colleagues from around the region to fight proposals to eliminate Chesapeake Bay Restoration funding and supports comprehensive legislation to restore the Bay. He has also opposed efforts to slash funding for the Environmental Protection Agency. He has led efforts to oppose drilling off the coast of Virginia or in the Chesapeake Bay and introduced amendments to protect the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and to require oil companies to pay the full cost of oil spill cleanups. He will continue to oppose efforts to repeal or weaken the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Antiquities Act, the Clean Power Plan, the Paris Climate Agreement, and other important environmental legislation.
Congressman Connolly believes we must confront and dismantle the environmental racism that has forced communities of color to bear the brunt of air and water pollution and the resulting devastating health consequences. Now, these communities are on the front lines of the climate crisis as rising temperatures intensify soot and smog pollution and allergy seasons. He supports legislation that requires Federal agencies to create a working group on environmental justice compliance and enforcement; requires Federal agencies to consider cumulative health impacts under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act when making permitting decisions and helps ensure that new projects do not harm health; and invests in research that will reduce health disparities and improve public health. He fought the Trump administration's decision to maintain inadequate standards regulating soot pollution, which will needlessly subject communities of color to toxic pollution. He will continue fighting to achieve clean air and water for all.
He has also been a leader in expanding federal conservation efforts, including supporting the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and fully funding our National Park System. In addition, Congressman Connolly has continued his efforts to establish powerful voluntary tax incentives to complete America's 11 National Scenic Trails.
Locally, he has worked with community stakeholders to complete missing segments of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, and open Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge to the public. These efforts complement his advocacy as a local government official, where he led the effort to build the 41-mile-long Connolly Cross County Trail and helped protect 10% of Fairfax County as county-owned parkland. He helped design and implement the county's first comprehensive environmental plan which subsequently won a national award. Congressman Connolly was recently recognized as the "Protector of Potomac" by the Riverkeeper Network for his efforts on strengthening federal coal ash regulations.