In Congress, Scott chairs the Climate Task Force for the Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition, advancing policies that address climate change and protect clean air, water, and open spaces; foster clean energy innovation; and develop renewable energy sources.
Opposed Unsafe Oil Drilling: Scott voted against a bill that would impose new, unsafe drilling off all coasts of the United States including California, Alaska, and all eastern states.
Protecting Open Spaces from Drilling: Scott voted against a measure that would require that oil companies be granted leases on 25% of the public acreage requested each year, regardless of suitability or impact, and would bar public protest of such leases.
Fracking Safety: Scott voted to ensure that the Dept. of Interior and individual states are able to require as they determine appropriate the public disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) so the public can make informed, safe decisions about the use of such techniques. Scott also opposed a bill that would block federal oversight of fracking on federal lands.
Scott introduced the bipartisan Strengthening The Resiliency of Our Nation on the Ground (STRONG) Act, which gives state and local actors the tools they need to prepare, plan for, and more quickly recover from extreme weather events. As climate change continues to impact us all, the STRONG Act will provide the resources to keep our communities safe and the support to bounce back from increasingly destructive natural disasters.
Scott introduced the Igniting American Research Act, which would extend the R&D tax credit, make the Alternative Simplified Credit (ASC) permanent while increasing its incentives and encourage more collaborative energy and biotechnology research. He also introduced the Second Generation Biofuels Extension Act, which extends the second generation biofuels producer tax credit and bolsters our green-energy economy.
As climate change continues to grow in impact and importance, our coastal areas will receive the brunt of major changes to our environment. Scott cosponsored the Coastal State Climate Change Planning Act, which would create a climate change mitigation grant program under the Coastal Zone Management Act to help coastal states plan for the impacts of climate change.
Scott cosponsored the BREATHE Act, a bill to close that loophole in the Clean Air Act benefiting the oil and gas industry, and improving the list of hazardous air pollutants to keep communities healthy and safe.
The USDA’s renewable energy programs are a major part of our national commitment to the economy’s clean and green energy sector. Scott cosponsored the Rural Energy Investment Act, to reauthorize those programs and provide mandatory funding to help develop advanced biofuels, biopower and products, wind and other energy resources and energy efficiency.
It’s critical for government policy to support the growing renewable energy sector of our economy. Scott is a cosponsor of the Renewable Energy Parity Act of 2013, which changes the tax code for the investment tax credit (ITC) so that renewable energy products quality sooner for the ITC.
Long-term development of the renewable energy economy requires that we prepare and connect the students of today with the high-paying jobs of the future. Scott is a cosponsor of the Grants for Renewable Energy Education for the Nation (GREEN) Act, which creates unique partnerships in the renewable and sustainable energy fields that will train young Americans to develop, operate, and maintain clean energy systems.
Wildfires are always a concern for Southern Californians. That’s why Scott cosponsored the Wildfire Prevention Act, to allow states to receive more funding from FEMA for wildfire-mitigation efforts.
To protect more of our natural spaces, Scott cosponsored the Yosemite National Park Boundary Expansion Act, to expand the park’s legal boundary, making it possible for the Park Service to negotiate buying the land from Pacific Forest Trust and a group of private sellers.
In San Diego, Scott chaired the San Diego Foundation Climate Initiative, which works to deepen community awareness about the local impacts of climate change, and to spur regional action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Initiative also supports local government with philanthropic resources when they are needed to help them advance their efforts to curb air pollution. He also urged the adoption of Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategy for San Diego Bay to address problems that may result from a rising water table, which is generally due to climate change such as flooding, erosion, saltwater intrusion and habitat shift.
As a Councilman, Scott approved the City’s Sustainable Community Program and the Climate Protection Action Plan, which is the City’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The City’s new General Plan, adopted in 2008, won national awards for the standards it set for sustainability and responsible energy usage.
Helped Clean Up Our Beaches and Reduced sewer spills by 80%: In 2000, San Diego city had 365 sewer spills. That’s one every single day of that year! The New York Times travel section had recently featured San Diego beaches not as attractions, but as polluted areas to be avoided. As co-chair of the city’s Clean Water Task Force, a collaborative of academics, business, regulators, government and environmentalists, Scott led an effort to rehabilitate our long-neglected sewer system. He tripled the rate of replacement of our pipes, cleaned the system for the first time in over 15 years, televised the insides of the pipes so that we could prioritize maintenance and avoid spills, and trained the runners and bicyclists in our canyons to look for leaks. With the help of federal grants, the city of San Diego added low flow sewage diverters along the coast, to capture sewage spills before they reach the ocean. As a result, by 2007, we had reduced sewer spills and beach closure days by 80 percent, and our beaches now consistently earn A grades for water quality in the annual survey from Heal the Bay. Watch Video
Sewer Management: To prevent contamination, Scott improved sewer maintenance by tripling the rate of sewer pipe replacement, cleaning the entire sewer system, televising sewers to pinpoint repairs, and establishing the Canyon Watch program for spill reportage.
Pollution Prevention: As a member of the city council, Scott implemented measures to prevent pollution by controlling runoff into our waters. For example, the City launched an aggressive program to install “low-flow diverters” along the shoreline that captures polluted runoff before it reaches the coast.
Banned Polluting Truck Traffic: As a Port Commissioner, Scott supported the Clean Truck Program to ban trucks that are not compliant with California Air Resources Board regulations from entering Port marine terminals. Protecting air quality in and around the Port and surrounding neighborhoods was critical to protecting the health of the people living in those neighborhoods, especially children who are more prone to the effects of air pollution.
Acquired and Protected Open Space: San Diegans treasure their hillsides and mountaintops as much as the coastline. Scott worked hard to protect those natural treasures from overdevelopment. In 2001, the city acquired the Montana Mirador, zoned for hundreds of single-family homes, and added that 538 acre property to the Black Mountain Open Space. The City also purchased the final open space parcels of Del Mar Mesa, making them available for trails and recreation and keeping them from development.
Ecological Protection: Scott supported various watershed improvement projects across the City in order to protect beaches, bays, and water bodies such as Chollas Creek and the La Jolla Shores Ecological Preserve.
Water Supply: When Scott was elected, San Diego was still in the midst of the irrational fears about indirect potable reuse systems to recycle our water. From 2001 forward, along with Councilmembers Donna Frye and Jim Madaffer, Scott led the effort to rely on science and careful testing to promote water purification and indirect potable reuse. Finally, they gained the support of a council majority and voted in November 2008 to begin the program. This is critical to diversifying and expanding the City’s water supply portfolio. Scott also supported the proposed desalination plant in Carlsbad, which would increase water supply.
Runoff Management Plans: Scott helped update regional runoff management plans to ensure compliance with the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s standards.
Water Quality Report Card: While on the City Council, Scott received consistently high grades on water quality, most recently an A- for 2007, in the independently conducted annual “Water Quality Report Card” for elected officials.
San Diego Bay Water Quality: As Chair of the Port’s Environmental Committee, Scott spearheaded the Center for Bay and Coastal Dynamics, which brought together the Port, The Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute, and San Diego State University’s Coastal and Marine Institute Laboratory to help understand the seismic stability of the harbor floor, and to restore sea life populations and habitat.
San Diego Tidelands Air Quality: As Port Commissioner, Scott supported the Port of San Diego Green Business Challenge, which encouraged Port tenants to find ways to prevent pollution and to reduce waste, water and energy consumption. This challenge is the first of its kind on the West Coast and often resulted in lower utilities costs for participants.
Built Trails and Trail Connections throughout the City: San Diego’s climate makes this a natural place for bicycling, hiking and horseback riding, and improving trails has been a priority for Scott. He made sure that every new development in his district contained trails and trail connections. Since he left the City, Scott has continued to be active in adoption and implementation of SANDAG’s Bicycle Master Plan, and has represented the Port on and served as co-chair of the Bayshore Bikeway Work Group, which is building a 26-mile dedicated bikeway around the perimeter of San Diego Bay.
Created the Super Loop: San Diego has spent over a billion dollars developing the trolley system, which is focused on downtown. But our major job center is now to the north, including North University City, where there was absolutely no transit. Working with the transportation staff and the community, he worked to create the “Super Loop“, a circulator that now moves people throughout North UC at frequent intervals, with upgraded stations and traffic priority. The Super Loop has been a tremendous success in the community, and strong demand has led to expansion of the program.
Sued Polluting Shipyard: In private practice, Scott represented environmental groups in a Clean Water Act lawsuit against a shipyard that refused to prevent contaminated runoff from running into San Diego Bay. Scott’s hard-won victory set new nationwide standards for water quality around these dangerous facilities. Natural Resources Defense Council v. Southwest Marine, Inc., 236 F.3d 985 (9th Cir. 2000)
Restarted Utility Line Undergrounding: In the 1990s, the City abandoned its plan to force SDG&E and other utilities to underground the unsightly overhead power lines that drape our older neighborhoods. In 2003, the City Council resurrected the plan, working with the local utilities and the state Public Utilities Commission, so that over time, the “graffiti of the sky” would be buried once and for all.
Built the Peñasquitos Skate Park: For six years, the community had fought over whether to site a skate facility in Hilltop Park, a beautiful community park in the middle of a residential area, where the lights and noise from teens could be disruptive. Scott located surplus property owned by Caltrans near a shopping mall and convinced Caltrans to give it to the city so it could serve our community teens. The community itself designed the skate park, the City Council approved it, and today, Rancho Peñasquitos has preserved the pastoral nature of Hilltop Park and created a separate and exciting place for its teens to skate safely.
Turned Sorrento Valley Road into a Park: In 2000, a segment of Sorrento Valley Road had been closed because it was unsafe and had to be reconfigured; reopening this road was an urgent priority for the high tech businesses in the area. However, when a group of environmentalists showed Scott what a treasure the road was without cars, adjacent to sensitive and rare lagoon habitat, he agreed that the road should remain closed to automobile traffic, and got the City Council to agree with him. Today, the expansion of Highway 5 to more than 20 lanes and the opening of the new Carmel Mountain Road exit provides more than enough room for cars, while bicyclists, joggers and rare birds continue to enjoy that special space where cars can’t go. Watch Video
Completed the Carmel Valley Road Enhancement Project: While it is in one of the most beautiful settings, adjacent to the Peñasquitos Lagoon, Carmel Valley Road was a safety nightmare for bicyclists and poured polluted runoff into the lagoon. Working with the community and SDG&E on this $6 million project, the city improved the road with new, safer bicycle lanes, pedestrian amenities and protections for the lagoon from storm water pollution.
Completed 24 New Parks or Major Park Improvements: Despite San Diego’s tight budget, Scott was able to complete numerous park improvements to serve the neighborhoods of City Council District 1, including new tot lots, dog parks, field turfing, rest rooms, and 12 entirely new parks.
Opened the Nobel Park and Library: In 2007, the city opened a gorgeous new library on a plateau above a 30-acre park. The facility was funded entirely by developer fees collected to ensure that infrastructure was built as communities grew. Today, the library is a treasured resource for this community of 60,000, and the park gives hundreds of baseball, soccer and lacrosse players in this urban area a wide-open space to play.