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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes, we need to work across the aisle. But I'm going to tell you, I have been there now two years and some months. I'm seeing no evidence of it. I kid you guys not--in our United States Congress, I was part of a committee hearing, during which the underlying premise of the hearing was to debate whether science should be the basis of public policy. This on a matter that is about an existential threat to who we are as human beings. So, again, back to the United States Congress, here's my point. If they fail to act, as president of the United States, I am prepared to get rid of the filibuster to pass a Green New Deal.
HARRIS: I'm not saying there won't be any change but part of my perspective on this is I've actually seen what's possible when leaders lead. I've seen how in California we put in place some of the toughest, smartest laws and required changes in behavior and we saw outcomes. And I don't think anybody who has lived in California over all those years would say there was any drastic change to their lifestyle. Yes, they may say "well, I'm now driving a car that I can't really hear sometimes." You know, that Prius, right?
The above quotations are from 2019 CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall .
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