Julian Castro on Environment

Democratic Presidential Challenger; former HUD Secretary


Backed fracking as mayor; leave bans to each community

Q: As mayor of San Antonio, you welcomed the fracking boom. Why should we trust you as president to transition our economy to renewables, given your past middle ground approach?

CASTRO: She's right. When I was mayor of San Antonio, I did believe that there were opportunities to be had in fracking that was going on in South Texas. Back then, almost a decade ago, we had been saying that natural gas was a bridge fuel. We're coming to the end of the bridge. And my plan calls for moving toward clean, renewable, zero emission energy in the years to come. That's what I would focus on.

Q: So just to clarify on fracking, if you were president, would you ban fracking?

CASTRO: Look, I support local communities and states that want to ban fracking. I have not called for an immediate ban on fracking. hat I am doing is moving us away from fracking and natural gas and investing in wind energy, solar energy, other renewables to get us to net zero by 2045.

Source: CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall marathon (10 Democrats) , Sep 4, 2019

Reinstate private right to sue polluters

Q: Oftentimes low-income communities are the ones who suffer the most from environmental inequities. What will your administration do to give voice to the issue known as environmental racism?

CASTROI connect the dots to places like Flint, Michigan, and I know that too often it's people who are poor, and communities of color, who take the brunt. And so my plan actually calls for new civil rights legislation to be able to address environmental injustice, including making sure that there's a to make a claim. I want to vest that power back in the people so that when we can show a disparate impact of certain practices of companies, of polluters that everyday Americans are able to file suit to try and get some sort of recourse.

Source: CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall marathon (10 Democrats) , Sep 4, 2019

PAW: connect the dots for Protecting Animals and Wildlife

Q: You propose setting aside half of American land and oceans for wildlife, for biodiversity?

CASTRO: We actually need to undo the damage that this administration has done and then expand the lands that we're protecting in our country. We can do that. A few weeks ago, I put out something that we called PAW, Protecting Animals and Wildlife. And I have to be honest with y'all, some people when they heard that, were like, what? You're putting out a plan to protect animals and wildlife? It's not usually something that a lot of presidential candidates do. But again, we need to connect the dots. I've connected the dots of actually preserving more of our lands both for the benefit of wildlife and for our benefit to combat climate change. And so we would go back and reclassify places like Bear's Ear and other land that this administration has gone backward on, and then look for other land that we can also protect and preserve. And we need to do it. We need to do it and we can do it.

Source: CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall marathon (10 Democrats) , Sep 4, 2019

Don't wait for natural disaster to move to sustainability

Q: What's your natural disaster plan?

CASTRO: My plan calls for investing in national disaster resilience investment and also, very importantly, in pre-disaster mitigation. We don't want to wait until there's a natural disaster to actually make our communities more sustainable. I would invest in that. Most importantly, we have to tackle the issue of the climate crisis so that these storms are less likely to happen in the first place.

Q: Flood insurance rises in cost 18% every year. What about families who can't afford the insurance?

CASTRO: We need to make sure that more people are protected by our national flood insurance program. I would subsidize the cost for folks because I want to make sure that people are protected. And where, because of a natural disaster, they have to rebuild, that they're able to do that. Oftentimes the first folks to get flooded out are the poorest communities. They're often communities of color.

Source: Climate Crisis Town Hall (CNN 2019 Democratic primary) , Sep 4, 2019

Will appoint EPA administrator to crack down on polluters

We're going to impose a carbon pollution fee on the biggest polluters, industrial scale polluters.

We're also going to set a clean energy standard and ensure that we're able to get to net zero because we have a strong clean energy standard across the United States. And we're going to crack down on corporations that violate our laws. I'm going to appoint an EPA administrator that actually believes in environmental protection and then goes and enforces those laws in the next administrati

Source: Climate Crisis Town Hall (CNN 2019 Democratic primary) , Sep 4, 2019

Injustice that 70% of HUD housing is near Superfund site

When I was Secretary of Housing, one of the things that I found out was that 70% of HUD-funded public housing or subsidized housing was within a mile of a superfund site. Think about that. That's the environmental racism and injustice that we're dealing with and my plan would equip Americans with the tools to fight back and also make investments so that we can bring justice to right now what is a tremendous injustice.
Source: Climate Crisis Town Hall (CNN 2019 Democratic primary) , Sep 4, 2019

I dealt with lead in water in Flint as HUD Secretary

Q: We're not far from Flint, Michigan, where residents are still dealing with the consequences of having lead in their drinking water. How can you assure the people of Flint and across the nation that you are the right person to handle such a problem?

CASTRO: Well, because people don't have to wonder what I would do; I've actually done it. I was secretary of housing and urban development when Flint had its water crisis. I went to Flint. We did what we could to help folks get water filters. And then we didn't stop there. We improved the standard of how we deal with elevated blood lead levels in children. A lot of Americans don't know that this is still a major problem out there. I was back in Flint about six weeks ago, and I released a plan to invest $50 billion so that we remove lead as a major public health threat. We need to do it. We can do it. And I will do it if I'm president.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

Executives must deal with disasters in sustainable way

My first visit after I announced my candidacy wasn't to Iowa or New Hampshire. It was to San Juan, Puerto Rico. When I was mayor of San Antonio, we moved our local public utility, we began to shift it from coal-fired plants to solar and other renewables, and also created more than 800 jobs doing that. When I was HUD secretary, we worked on the National Disaster Resilience Competition to invest in communities that were trying to rebuild from natural disasters in a sustainable way.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

We still need to find a long-term solution for nuclear waste

Q: Do you think nuclear energy should be part of the U.S.'s decarbonizing toolbox?

Castro: Nuclear power has a number of challenges that have not yet been solved. For example, we still need to find a long-term solution for the safe disposal of nuclear waste. I support greater investment into technologies and techniques to address these issues. Approximately 20 percent of our nation's energy comes from nuclear power. We should work towards reducing our reliance on nuclear power with investments in renewable energy.

Q: Do you support increasing federal funding for clean-energy research?

Castro: Yes. I support expanding federal funding for clean-energy research through our public and private universities and through government institutions. We must expand the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E), including through funding from priced carbon.

Source: 2019 "Meet the Candidates" (NY Times.com) , Apr 18, 2019

Opposed golf course development to protect city's aquifer

My employer, Akin Gump [law firm], represented an Austin-based developer seeking to develop a 2,861-acre golf complex in San Antonio in partnership with the Professional Golf Association of America. The project, known as PGA Village, would sit atop some of the last remaining open acreage in the recharge zone San Antonio's drinking water supply. Battles over the aquifer preceded my time in office, and it remained a hot issue. Almost all hydrologists foresaw that fertilizers and recycled wastewater could leach into the aquifer below.

At the law firm, I explained that I felt an obligation to resign. [On the City Council], I said simply, "I'm voting no," becoming the first member of the city council to publicly announce opposition to the PGA Village. "Corporate subsidy; corporate welfare; are those reasons enough for giving away $60 million in taxes even if they establish superior safety." [The City Council voted in favor pf PGA Village but the project was killed later]

Source: An Unlikely Journey, by Julian Castro, p.171-6 , Oct 16, 2018

At HUD: $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition

When natural disasters struck, as with Superstorm Sandy in the Northeast, the historic flooding in Louisiana, and many other major disasters-- HUD helped the hardest-hit communities to rebuild, cumulatively investing more than $18 billion in those areas, and making it possible for folks to get back in their homes and back to work. And when we invested those dollars, we encouraged communities not just to rebuild, but to rebuild in more resilient ways. The $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition demonstrated our commitment to encourage communities to build infrastructure that can better withstand the next storm and reduce the costs to the American taxpayer.
Source: HUD.gov Cabinet Exit Memo for Obama Cabinet biographies , Jan 5, 2017

More funding for lead-safe regulations in low-income housing

With HUD's "Lead-Free Homes, Lead-Free Kids" toolkit, we have laid out a path for strengthening protections against lead poisoning. The centerpiece of these actions will be our efforts to immediately help young children with dangerous blood lead levels. Looking ahead at how we can end childhood lead poisoning, we strongly recommend that Congress greatly increase funding for the lead hazard grant program--the largest effort toward remediating lead paint hazards in low-income homes in our nation--at a level that would eliminate this public health problem. In order to achieve this goal, Congress must give HUD the authority, along with the necessary funding, to require landlords of housing receiving tenant-based rental assistance to follow the same strict lead-safe regulations as landlords of housing receiving project-based rental assistance.
Source: HUD.gov Cabinet Exit Memo for Obama Cabinet biographies , Jan 5, 2017

Other candidates on Environment: Julian Castro on other issues:
2020 Presidential Democratic Primary Candidates:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 GOP and Independent Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
CEO Howard Schultz (I-WA)
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld (L-NY,R-MA)
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External Links about Julian Castro:

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)

Page last updated: Dec 14, 2019