House Democrats demand stronger US involvement at Environmental Summit

August 15, 2002
Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC--Today, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), together with 41 House Democrats, called on the Bush Administration to play an active role in negotiating environmental commitments at the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In a letter sent today to President Bush, Democrats explained, "First and foremost, we are deeply concerned by reports that you do not plan to attend the Summit and urge you to reconsider. Avoiding a global summit that other world leaders consider critical in addressing the link between environmental stewardship and poverty alleviation may hamper our ability to achieve broader international policy goals that are in our national interest."

President Bush is not planning to attend the Summit; he will be on vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

The letter, organized by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, also expresses concern about the Administration's failure to consult Congress about the United States' positions in the negotiations.

The following Members of Congress signed the letter to the President: Earl Blumenauer, Edward Markey, Hilda Solis, Nancy Pelosi, Rosa DeLauro, George Miller, Tom Allen, John Olver, Henry Waxman, Dennis Kucinich, Frank Pallone, Tom Udall, William Delahunt, Lois Capps, Barbara Lee, John Conyers, Anna Eshoo, Susan Davis, Jim McDermott, Neil Abercrombie, Tammy Baldwin, Sherrod Brown, Michael Honda, James McGovern, Brad Sherman, Diane Watson, Howard Berman, Cynthia McKinney, Alcee Hastings, Donald Payne, Betty McCollum, Mark Udall, Joseph Crowley, Adam Schiff, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Bob Filner, Barney Frank, Luis Gutierrez, Major Owens, Juanita Millender-McDonald, Jerrold Nadler and Tom Lantos.

Beginning on August 26, representatives from a majority of nations will gather in Johannesburg, South Africa for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The WSSD will be the largest international environmental conference in history, attended by international heads of state, parliamentarians and NGOs.

The Summit marks the ten-year anniversary of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and presents opportunities for the United States to assume a leadership role in efforts to protect the global environment and promote sustainable development. Four House Democrats will be attending the conference, including Reps. Earl Blumenauer, George Miller, Tom Allen, and Dennis Kucinich. For additional information about the conference, visit the following website: www.johannesburgsummit.org/.