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Our campaign received yet another political survey, this time from the Sierra Club. While many people assume that my positions inherently do not align with those of the Sierra Club, I would strongly disagree. While I do not believe taxes should be taken to accommodate environmental concerns, I feel very strongly that we are significantly damaging the environment. Furthermore, I am openly in favor of allowing individuals to pursue damages against companies that infringe on their most basic property rights.
1. What has been your greatest environmental accomplishment or your most significant activity on behalf of the environment and/or managing natural resources as an elected official, private citizen, or business owner?
As an individual and small business owner, always pursuing modest and easily maintainable living and business spaces. And when possible, utilizing any renewable technologies available to me.
Within the political realm, I am a vocal proponent of renewable energies and technologies and will continue to encourage my family, friends, and any future constituents of the benefits of self-reliance with respect to energy, food, and even transportation.
2. What environmental and natural resource goal(s) will you actively pursue in the next state legislative session if you are elected?
I would like to remove any barriers to entry, regulatory taxes, and individual usage fees and taxes from renewable technologies. Self-sustainability should be encouraged and people certainly should not be taxed for this pursuit.
3. Most of Texas cannot import or export electricity to and from other states. In other words, unlike California, we have to generate and consume all of our electricity within the state. What should the Legislature do, if anything, to ensure we have enough power to meet demand?
The legislature should remove any and all regulations regarding the transmission and selling of electricity.
4. Texas leads the country in installed wind power. As a state official, what would you do to improve market conditions for other renewable resources, such as solar and geothermal energy?
I believe that solar, wind, geothermal, and other forms of renewable energy are wonderful technologies. As a State Representative, I would ensure that the legislature removed any regulatory barriers that impeded the progress and development of these technologies.
Going further, I would consider any legislation that prohibited local municipalities from taxing or requiring expensive development review processes for individuals or businesses seeking to install renewable forms of energy.
5. Do you support homes and businesses generating their own power from renewable resources such as solar? If so, how would you reconcile the revenue loss by utilities that depend on selling kilowatt-hours? Would you support legislation to ensure that homes and businesses earn a fair market value for any excess solar generation?
I absolutely support homes and businesses generating their own power from renewable resources. I follow the technologies closely and promote them often. I would not, in any way, attempt to reconcile the revenue lost by utilities that "depend" on selling kilowatt-hours.
I would also not support any legislation that forced a fair market value for renewable energies. If people are inclined to turn their homes into renewable power plants then I am all for them selling their energy to whomever they saw fit (presumably the highest bidder).
6. What do you see as the most pressing issues on groundwater? Do you favor local management of groundwater resources through groundwater conservation districts or a more centralized approach?
Generally speaking I see chemical and heavy metal contaminants as pressing issues, though more recently speaking, it strikes me that a lack of water is probably a much more significant issue than contaminated water. Of course both are very serious issues needing to be dealt with.
I believe that local areas should determine the best way to monitor, regulate, and/or distribute their groundwater. I do not support a centralized mechanism for this, especially in a state as large as Texas.
7. What role do you see emerging water supply strategies such as desalination and aquifer storage and recovery playing in meeting the future water needs for the state? Does anything need to be done to enhance the role of these strategies and if so, what do you propose?
I think these technologies are wonderful and very interesting. That said I am not familiar with the economics of desalination plants. I believe we should be encouraging engineering firms to pursue these technologies, but I do not believe the government should favor them over other technologies. Incidentally, I also do not believe any other form of energy development should have favor within the government either and this most certainly includes oil and gas exploration.
8. Water supply is a big challenge in many parts of the state. Using the water that we already have as efficiently as possible is one strategy to meeting our future water needs. Would you support efforts to fund a statewide water education campaign to inform people of their sources of water and how to conserve those sources?
In general I support campaigns aimed at educating people on scientific realities. At the same time, I would not support taxing people to accomplish this educational goal. If the scientific community felt it would have a large enough impact then I would support funding such a campaign through existing taxes (thereby requiring a different program, or perhaps several different programs to lose funding or have funding reduced).
9. Do you accept the broad consensus of the scientific community that climate change is occurring and human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels, is causing it? What, if anything, would you do as an elected official to address climate change at the state level?
Yes. I have a degree in mathematics and work as an engineer. I believe in science.
At the same time, I also believe that the discussion of the topic has been largely co-opted by both Republicans and Democrats as a political tool to create further division between people. To that extent, I am very uninterested in the topic.
As an elected official I would aggressively pursue companies (and individuals) that violated the property rights of others. Furthermore, I would work to ensure that individuals could pursue litigation against these companies for violations of basic property rights.
10. What is your position on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to reduce carbon dioxide pollution from stationary sources, such as coal-fired power plants, to protect human health? Please explain why you take this position.
I do not especially support it. I cannot in good consciousness support the EPA in any way. It is clear that they play favorites with who is allowed to pollute and who is not based upon corporate influence and lobbying efforts.
11. Given the dramatic rise in activity and growing public concerns about its environmental impacts, what is your position on "fracking"?
While I do support the exploration of oil and natural gas, the evidence to how devastating fracking is to groundwater appears to be overwhelming. I therefore do NOT support it in practice.
As I mentioned above, I would support any efforts that provided individuals with easier mechanisms for pursuing damages against fracking offenses.
While I support engineering firms pursuing better and safer ways of applying fracking methods, it is clear we simply do not have the technology to accomplish this safely and cleanly at this point in time and I therefore do NOT support it.
12. Would you support additional funding for our state parks and wilderness areas, including a dedicated fund for the acquisition and development of additional parkland and wilderness areas?
13. There is much debate and discussion about how to meet the current and future transportation needs of Texans. What do you see as the best ways to address the transportation needs of the state, especially given constraints on funding?
Like so many of my responses, I think the best thing to do is remove excess regulations placed on individuals and businesses trying to provide transportation needs.
Beyond that I believe this question is best left to local governments. It need not be thoroughly defined at the state level.