We're thrilled to honor Congressman George Miller with our "Byron Sher Lifetime Achievement Award" at our annual environmental leadership award event this week.
Rep. Miller is a recognized champion for California’s fresh water resources, a clean environment, and strong protections for our national parks and forests. He has represented the East Bay of California since being elected to Congress in 1974. From 1991 to 1994 he chaired the House Natural Resources Committee, overseeing the environment, energy, and public lands, and served as that committee’s Senior Democrat until 2000, taking what worked in California to the national level. He announced this year he will not seek re-election after 40 years of service.
Miller is a leading advocate for solutions to climate change, pointing out that failure to act will directly harm our children, threaten future generations, and weaken the economy. He supports the Environmental Protection Agency's "Clean Power Plan" to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants, saying: "This new rule takes us one huge step closer to a healthier, cleaner and more prosperous America. Limiting carbon pollution will save lives, help combat climate change, and spur new clean energy jobs and innovation.”
As a respected leader on California water issues, Rep. Miller believes that it is crucial to protect the health of the Bay-Delta ecosystem and restore the state’s once-thriving salmon fisheries. One of his top priorities in coming to Congress was to ensure the residents of Contra Costa County had access to clean and reliable sources of water. In 1992, he authored the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, a historic California water reform law that requires the balanced use of our state’s scarce water supplies, including requiring the federal government to protect and restore salmon and other wild fisheries. Miller believes that any current measure to ensure water reliability by the state must balance the health of the Delta with a reliable water supply to be successful.
Miller has also led the effort in Congress to expand alternative water supplies in California and is a longstanding proponent of water recycling as a means of drought-proofing the state. Miller helped to put the tools for federal-local water recycling partnerships in place with the Reclamation Projects Authorization and Adjustment Act of 1992.
Congressman Miller has championed innovative policy solutions to protect wildlife. While Chair of Natural Resources, Miller pushed through the California Desert Protection Act, expanding the Death Valley and Joshua Tree national parks and creating a new Mojave National Preserve.
He led the effort with Senator Barbara Boxer to create the highly successful “dolphin safe” label to allow consumers in the United States to purchase tuna that is harvested without harm to dolphin populations, and authored legislation that became law in 2000 to provide federal funding for the Great Ape Conservation Program. The program, using matching private funds, has been directly responsible for numerous gains in great ape conservation around the world, including the discovery of the Cross River Gorilla, a subspecies previously thought to be extinct.
In 2007 and 2009, he introduced the Protect America’s Wildlife Act (the PAW Act) to protect wolves, bears, and other wildlife from the unethical, unscientific, and unsportsmanlike practice of airborne hunting. The PAW Act closes a loophole in the 1971 Airborne Hunting Act that outlawed airborne hunting across the nation.
Miller has always stood up to special interests, having successfully challenged "asbestos executives, subsidized agribusiness, mining corporations, oil companies, and Administration officials of both parties" over his long career. We are grateful for his service and proud to honor him at with the Byron Sher lifetime achievement award at our event this Thursday in San Francisco.
See the Contra Costa Times article about CLCV honoring Rep. Miller here.