Senator and presidential hopeful Cory Booker is polling at roughly 2%, and hasn’t yet broken through $10 million in individual donations. But he’s not giving up. Booker made the stage for the next round of debates, and is now rolling out a huge policy initiative as he tries to get some media coverage.
The plan calls for a 100% clean energy economy by 2045 by sharply curbing fossil fuels while investing heavily in renewable energy sources, and a new White House-coordinated “Environmental Justice Fund” that would focus on defending at-risk communities from environmental threats, including a nationwide lead remediation program to replace all lead water pipes for schools and residences.
Lead pipes aren’t part of climate change, but like plans from other candidates, the Booker initiative throws in some extras that might capture the attention of the press. Lead pipes are of particular concern to the Senator because Newark, New Jersey, where he was mayor for seven years, is suffering with lead contamination in the water supply.
“We are facing a dual crisis of climate change and economic inequality. Without immediate action, we risk an incredible human toll from disasters, health impacts, rising national security threats, and trillions of dollars in economic losses.”
Booker said he would impose a carbon tax on natural gas, coal and oil producers and return some of the revenue to Americans via a monthly dividend, though his campaign did not offer specific figures. Several lawmakers from both parties have introduced versions of a fee-and-dividend system in Congress, though none of the bills appear likely to pass.
The proposal includes several executive actions that Booker would take as president, including barring new offshore and onshore fossil fuel leases, requiring all new passenger vehicles be zero emission starting in 2030 and requiring fossil fuel companies to stop all methane leaks.
In addition to lead remediation, the Environmental Justice Fund would clean up every abandoned coal, uranium and hard rock mine in the country, plant 100 million trees in urban areas and ensure all households have adequate plumbing, all moves Booker said would help low-income and minority communities that are hardest hit by environmental problems.
Even though he made the stage for the next debate, Booker lags far behind the front runners.