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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 11, 2014 8:00am-10:01am EDT

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bay is so warm in the summer that we can a pwaog -- bogey board without getting cold. the more energy is available to the storm, the stronger it becomes, we have learned. kay and tom are scared by the picture of super storm sandy they saw on tv and are worried a storm like that, or worse might hit us here in south orleans. as for me, i think it is just a matter of time, but i don't tell them that. they live in boston and have visions of a great wall of water roaring into boston harbor, knocking down the buildings on to the waterfront and surging up into the neighborhood where they live in roslindale. from what i have been learning we have pumped so much carbon into the area these much more extreme storms are likely to occur no matter what we do. but if we redouble our efforts to shift to clean energy,
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geothermal, biofuels, the way they are doing now in europe and even in countries like china and india, then 25 years from now, tom and kay will know that a sustainable lifestyle is possible and their children can look forward to a much safer and more secure second half of the 20th century. from kim marion of westminster, massachusetts, i expect to see more severe weather patterns, colder colds, warmer warms, drier days, wetter floods, bigger storms, higher which winds, more dust, more mud, loss of marginal growth plant and animal life. i have many, many more letters. as i said, i received more than 5,000 letters from people in massachusetts and across the country. i wish i could read every one of them. i don't kid myself. we are up against an army of
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lobbyists, and we will not win all the fights ahead. but here in the united states senate we have leaders who will fight as hard as we can to protect our environmental future. the senator from rhode island, senator whitehouse, has shown dedication to addressing climate change, and his commitment to oceans issues and the coastline has been visionary. my colleague from massachusetts, senator markey, has committed his long career to protecting and preserving the environment. senator boxer from california, who chairs the environment and public works committee here in the senate, has been a force to fight to protect our environment. senator schatz from hawaii, who organized senators to speak through the night on this issue, is quickly distinguishing himself as a leader in the fight against climate change. and in a few minutes, senator cardin will come forward and continue this important discussion. i'm proud to stand shoulder to
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shoulder with such dedicated public servants and with all of the senators who have held the floor for so many hours to draw attention to our urgent need for climate change. we are on the cusp of a climate crisis, a point of no return. we can continue to subdecide polluters and ignore the warnings all around us, or we can invest in the future, invest in a future that can create jobs, a future that can strengthen our national security, and most of all, a future that can save our planet. this is our moment in history. we can act, we must act, we will act. thank you, mr. president. i yield. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland is recognized. mr. cardin: first let me compliment and thank senator warren for her comments.
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senator warren has brought up a lot of issues that i can relate to because our states share the atlantic ocean and we talk about climate refugees around the world, we're starting to see those in our own states as sea levels are rising, dead zones in the ocean, in our bays, and we need to take action in order to protect our people. in my state of maryland, you can see this firsthand, the effects of sea level rises. you can go to smith island. smith island is a habitable island in the chesapeake bay that's home to many of our watermen who have been practicing their professions for many, many years. they're at risk. you need a boat to get from one of the towns to the other, smith island only has a couple hundred remaining residents.
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but they're losing their land daily as they fight to -- to counter the rising sea level change. i think it's a very visible sign of what we're up against, and the urgency of dealing with climate change, i am so proud to be identified with the climate action task force, you've mentioned a lot of the leaders, and i thank senator schatz and senator whitehouse for organizing this opportunity for us to put a spotlight on climate change and the need for urgent action. i thank senator boxer, the chair of the environment and public works committee for her extraordinary leadership. and throughout last night and to this morning, we have highlighted the science which is indisputable as to the fact that over millions of years we've seen catastrophic changes on the -- our own planet, but because of our activities, it's
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the first time in the history of our planet because of what we're doing on earth within a very short period of time, just hundreds of years, and less than that now, we are causing a catastrophic impact on our climate. and it is urgent. we've seen firsthand the impacts of climate change. mr. president, i was in china last year in beijing. i was there three days. there wasn't a cloud in the sky but i never saw the sun because of the pollution that's in the air, their carbon emissions. we've seen the costs of climate change in lives and in dollars we spend to try to adapt to the new realities of extreme weather conditions. so let me just use the few minutes i have to talk about these issues closer to home in my own state of maryland.
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70% of maryland's population lives in coastal zones. there's now predicted by the maryland climate change commission that we'll see a 1.4-foot increase in the sea level by 2050 and 3.7 feet by the end of this century. that's going to have dramatic impact on many marylanders who live in this coastal area. i could give you another example, ocean city, maryland, is popular for marylanders and people outside our state to enjoy the beautiful beaches. i must tell you i'm very proud that this congress has appropriated millions of dollars for beach renourishment. those dollars have returned multiple times because of it preventing the full force of these northeastern storms that are more frequent and more severe in maryland along the
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maryland coast. but there's -- there's a limit as to what we can do. if we don't take action to deal with the sources of climate change. we want to protect our property owners and the best way to protect our property owners is to do something about the causes of climate change. we saw the impact of sandy along the east coast of the united states and i know that the most severe impact was in new jersey and new york, but in maryland we saw in crisfield, maryland, the full effect of sandy. the people there know they're at risk because of the severe storms that are becoming more frequent and more severe. the chesapeake bay itself is at risk. i've talked on the floor many times about the importance of the chesapeake bay and it's a national treasure and it's important from the fact that
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it's the largest estuary in our hem atmosphere, important because of the coastlines and its impact but it's important also because of its impact on our economy. the blue crab, the oysters are critically important to maryland yet they're at risk. the blue crap crab is a little complicated but one of the factors that's affecting the blue crabs is the ability of juvenile crabs to be able to survive in sea grasses. and yet the sea grass population is declining because of temperature rise in the chesapeake bay. that's just one example of the challenges we have because of climate change. it's affecting the economy of my state, of our our country. the port of baltimore is the largest factor creating jobs in our community and that port of baltimore depends upon a stable coastal climate. the tourism industry is directly
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affected. people love to come to our state to hunt and fish. one of the most valuable assets we have along the bay is the blackwater national wildlife refuge. the presiding officer has heard me talk about it frequently in the environment and public works committee. the bald eagles have returned. people come to visit our wildlife and our waterfowl. well, blackwater is at risk. it's important for tourism, it's important for our environment, it's also the land on which harriet tubman conducted underground railroads. it's got a lot of significance. yet between 1938 and 2006 we lost 5,000 acres of marshland to open water. 5,000 acres of now, that's accelerating, it's not slowing down. and if we don't reverse the
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impacts of climate change, we're going to see more dramatic impacts on those types of maryland and national treasures. but let me also mention the fact that, of course, this is a federal legislature and we should be concerned about the federal facilities as well. in maryland we have pax river which does incredibly important work for our navy and the research and flight testing on the coast of our state at risk by sea level rising. i serve on the board of visitors at the naval academy and i can tell you i have visited the naval academy when it's been flooded because of storms. it's right -- actually it's a little below sea level at some of its locations. the rising sea level jeopardizes that iconic institution that's so important to our national defense. the aberdeen proving grounds, also located on our coast, does critical work on national
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security. these -- all these facilities, mr. president, are being jeopardized because of the climate change that is occurring in our community. so let me just talk a little bit about some good news here, some good news. we can reverse what has happened. we can slow down the effects. we can change the course that we are on. we've already done a significant amount. i congratulate president obama and his policies because he's taken on the major areas that deal with climate change and yes, the united states has to lead internationally but it starts with action right here in the united states. we got to lead by example. other countries are far ahead of us. we've got to join with other countries to produce a strategy that works because our environment does not end at our borders. so we have to work internationally. but first we have to work at
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home. what has president obama done? taken on the transportation sector, one of the greatest users of carbon fumes with our cafe standards, our efficiency on our automobiles and we now have standards that would lead to up to 54 and a half miles per gallon by 2025. that's ambitious. they said we couldn't do it before but we did it and met the standards and we will meet these standards and we will significantly reduce the amount of fuels that we need to fuel our transportation in this country. we're investing in transit facilities, that reduces our carbon footprint, high-speed rail reduces our carbon footprint. we're committed to those types of solutions that are common sense to help our environment. the regulations of carbon pollution under the clarity, the obama administration -- the clean air act. reducing that the energy sector
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can. senator warren is absolutely correct. we don't have a level playing field today, we subsides -- subside the -- subsidize the fossil fuels. we're showing innovation among all of our stakeholders, buildings generate a lot of energy, use a lot of energy and generate a lot of carbon. certified facilities, the federal government is leading in the lead certification as is the private sector doing things much more efficient in the building sector. in transportation and building and generation of electricity, all those areas we have seen progress in reducing our carbon footprint which will help the people in smith island by reducing the sea level things. the presiding officer and i saw firsthand the impact of the
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glacial melts when we were in greenland. i thank senator boxer for arranging that opportunity. we sue visually the glacier melts and how much has occurred in a short period of time. we can reverse that by showing leadership and transportation in the way we use our buildings, in the way we generate electricity. we can work together with the international community. and the good news here, mr. president, the good news, the solutions for dealing with climate change will help our national security less imported fossil fuels. we want to get to zero need for imported energy in this country. we can get that, and we now know the threats that are made from russia to ukraine to the middle east. we can eliminate that threat from our national security. we can create more jobs. green energy will give us more
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jobs in the fossil fuel industry, and we need good-paying jobs, and we can leave our children and grandchildren a cleaner planet and a better future. that's what's at stake here, and that's why we've taken this time. and i'm proud to be identified with so many that have spoken on this issue. with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from washington is recognized. ms. cantwell: mr. president, i thank my colleague from maryland, and i thank him for all his work on the chesapeake and so many important issues as it relates to this issue and for being here up all night with my colleagues on this important climate issue. and i want to thank senators boxer and whitehouse and schatz for organizing this and for everybody participating. obviously we're here to talk about climate change, but like my colleague, we know that climate change is actually impacting jobs now because it's impacting our climate now. so while we're here to talk about what might happen in the future, i'm here right now to specifically talk about what is
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happening to our economy today and why we need to take action. because ocean acidification is an economic issue and it affects so many different people in our economy in the pacific northwest, it affects our shellfish growers, which is a major industry. we have three and four generation of shellfish growers that are threatened now by the impacts of carbon in our oceans and the warming of our oceans. so when you talk about climate and you talk about acidification of our oceans, you're talking about an industry that is key to the northwest that is being affected today. also our crab fishermen are being affected today. actually our crab fishermen. our crab fishermen, which are an important part of our fishing industry all the way to the bering sea, which a lot of people don't realize that the alaska crab fishermen are based
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in alaska and in washington state, and they very much he depend on making sure we deal with this issue in the future if we want to protect these jobs and the important industry that is there. because sea levels are rising and forcing communities to deal with this issue, and we want to help protect these jobs. and even jobs with are for salmon fishermen. this is, i think maybe a picture -- a lot of people watch deadliest catch and understand the seafood industry. but they may not understand that even salmon depend on a food source that is affected by ocean acidification, that is not just killing oysters and shellfish but it's also killing these terapod that the salmon industry depends on too. so you can see, mr. president, that i'm here to talk about this as it relates to jobs.
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because commercial fishing in washington state is a $30 billion coastal economy with 42,000 jobs and contributes about $1.7 billion to our gross economic product. so for us, these are impacts of climate that are being felt today. not in the future. they're being felt today, and it threatens a key industry. not only is that industry important to washington state, it's also important to the nation, which it contributes $70 billion to the u.s. economy and supports over one million fishing jobs. so our inaction here in congress deciding not to do something basically threatens those one million jobs because the climate is impacting our oceans and our oceans are impacting the food supply that these fishermen harvest. and if we don't do something about this, we are going to have
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severe problems in the future. why is this? well, the key point, if we could have just one chart today played over and over, i would have this chart, which is our oceans absorb 25% of the co2 emissions. that's right; all the co2 emissions, 25% of them basically just sink into the ocean. that means carbon emission s from fossil fuels are being absorbed into the ocean, and that basically creates a very corrosive environment in our waters. so the notion that people think we can continue to do what we're doing and not make a change, i guarantee you the problems that we're cause causing for our oceans is a serious threat. this graph shows you the kind of acidification that's happening in our seawater. that ocean acidification has increased 30% over the last 200 years, and that oceans are on track to be 150% more acidic by
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the end of the century. the current rate of acidification is ten times faster than anything earth has experienced in the last 50 million years. and as you can see, this increase of carbon and increase of the p.h. level in water and the increase in acidification is what is causing this problem for us. so again, my colleagues who think this is just something on the other side of the aisle that we don't have to deal with, are ignoring the real science and the states of our oceans today. what does that acidification cause? well, i guess, if there was another chart here, i would make this chart also the star of the show because this is not a science experiment. this is the current state of oyster larvae. last night i was at a restaurant here in town, and they offered washington oysters, shellfish on the menu. that is great to see.
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but this is a picture of actual larvae, the beginning stages of these shellfish that are being impacted. you can see here that this is what acidification is doing to that larvae. it is not able to form. so this particular challenge we saw in 2005 when shellfish production plummeted on the west coast -- it seemed like a freak accident. but then it happened again in 2006 and in 2007. and then in 2008 more than 80% of the oysters at whiskey creek shell hatchery died before they could be planted into the shellfish farms. in total, billions of shellfish died because of that acidification. and these images from oregon state university show that ocean acidification does wharbgs it does to the lauer dry srao*eu because that -- what it does to the larvae because that acidification erodes and corrupts it and kills the oysters. these are third and fourth
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generation jobs in my state, and it's very important that we protect them. they have been a big driving part of our economy. but when corrosive seawater increases and then you have a 60% decrease in production, you're talking about hundreds of jobs in washington state that are being impacted, and we need to do something right now to act. so it doesn't just affect the larvae of oysters. it also, acidification destroys other shellfish. and this, again, is another example, a terrapod, which happens to be the calcium source for salmon. these shellfish are what salmon feed off for protein source and yet these same shells aren't able to form. over 30% of the marine life in puget sound is a calcifiers,
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basically a species that are a calcium shell. just like the shellfish that needs to form. that's 30% of our marine life, our food source. if we don't do something about ocean acidification, these shells aren't forming, we're going to have an even more serious impact to our salmon industry in washington state. so my constituents know that these are big issues. in fact, the seattle times ran a groundbreaking series called sea change, the highlighting of impact of carbon to the oceans, because it could, as this article details, cause a collapse of that huge alaska crab fishing industry. a collapse. i know my colleagues from the northeast are here. they understand what a collapse to a fishing industry means.
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they understand. it means a lot people without jobs. it means a lot of people who depend on the fishing industry as ancillary or related jobs end up without jobs. they understand a collapse of the fishing industry means a collapse to the economy overall in their region. if we don't do something to address acidification, we are talking about climate change impacting a key job sector and causing huge job loss. and that's what this chart shows. basically it shows how the crab harvest industry is being impacted by ocean acidification and that it could cause a very precipitous decline. and we, mr. president, can't afford that. i'll show you why we can't afford that. recently, people might have caught on the west coast that the -- you might think i want to show to you about the oysters
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and about the perraed to for salmon source. but scallops which i had a week ago a massive die-off are another canary in the coal mine because basically it shows ten million scallops died off the coast of british columbia and acidification was the blame. acid water blamed for west coast scallop dieoff. it shut down a processing plant and a third of its workforce. you can see that these things basically are killing jobs. so, mr. president, ocean acidification kills jobs. us doing nothing about ocean acidification or about co2 in the atmosphere is going to cause us economic problems. so i urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to make sure we support measures that will allow us to mitigate now
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the impacts of this and plan for the future because we can't have what's happening now. we do have a buoy system that we've deployed all across the united states. that buoy system helps us identify acidification levels and helps the fishermen come up with alternative strategies about when to do their planting. let's just say it this way. they figure out when is a perfect moment to actually have the seeding. if you have too much co2 and a warming of the oceans, then figuring out that very moment where it might not be so acidic or challenging and then actually doing the planting, it's giving us some tools. but these are high-risk tactics. and, mr. president, we actually have to reduce the level of co2. we're here this morning to talk about how this issue impacts the industry in my state. but this last chart shows you a
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picture that is irrefutable. ocean acidification effects on coral. here is healthy coral. you can see vibrant, colorful. if you've ever been off of our coast or walking on the beaches, you can see the shell life that exists in a healthy coral reef. this is the same coral reef years later with an unhealthy effect. so, mr. president, we're here this morning to talk about jobs, to talk about climate and its impact on our economy today. it is important that we address this issue. i have sponsored bipartisan legislation with my colleague on the other side of the aisle called the clear act. it's just one idea. but the premise of that is is that we have to not only reduce greenhouse gases now, we have to mitigate the impacts and plan for a more diverse energy source of the future.
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that's what we're talking about today. we're talking about trying to save jobs in the united states of america by doing a better job of planning on this important issue. so i'd like to thank the president and yield to my colleague from new hampshire who is here for a few minutes on this important issue. mrs. shaheen: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire is recognized. mrs. shaheen: i want to agree with senator cantwell, our colleague from washington state, because in new hampshire we are also see the impact on our traditional industries of climate change. it's contributing to sea level rise. it imperils businesses and homes in coastal communities like portsmouth. new hampshire is very popular. hampton beach is experiencing greater storm surges and beach erosion. and the outdoor recreation community is facing shorter winters, less snow, and that results in fewer tourism dollars. and wildlife and public health are becoming increasingly
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vulnerable to diseases. in new hampshire, tourism is our state's second largest industry. it accounts for $9.3 billion of the state's economy. it provides jobs and economic growth throughout the state. but climate change could put some of new hampshire's best attractions in jeopardy. the fall foliage in new hampshire is a main draw for visitors from around the world who spend millions annually to see our beautiful landscape. but as climate change continues, those warmer temperatures are causing dulling and brownness of climate-stressed unhealthy trees. another driver of tour nfl new hampshire is our state's outdoor recreation activities like downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling. as temperatures increase due to chieng, the ski industry has to make more snow, increases their expenses. the e.p.a. has predicted by tend
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of the century summers in new hampshire could be as warm as summers in north carolina by would drastically shorten fall foliage. we're already seeing it in terms of fewer snow days in new hampshire, earlier iceout on our lakes, and maple sugar production is being affected. it depends on prolonged cold temperatures with freezing nights and warm daytime temperatures to create the optimal sugar content and sap production. but with warming underway, maple sugar producers in new hampshire tell me they're already seeing an impact on production. according to a report by the new hampshire citizens for responsible energy policy, current modeling forecasts predict maple sugar trees eventually will be completely eliminated as a regionally important species in the northeastern united states. that's if we fail to act on climate change.
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and new hampshire sea coast is facing rising sea levels. the coastline is one of the most developed parts of the state and flooding could deaf state towns and their economies. ted deere said recently that sea level has been rising at six to eight inches a century. with what we're seeing right now is a tripling of that and climate change is expected to cause widespread tree deaths by which could cause extensive wildfires, we're seeing that in the west, large increases in pests and pathogen outbreaks and a lag had the establishment of new forests for several election. decades. it's also a threat to animals and their habitats. the moose population is declining due to warming trends in winter and summer. the fact is new hampshire's moose population is down 40% this year and it's the result of
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ticks. we've not had winters cold fluff to cause them to die off so we're seeing that across our wildlife population. and what's happening in new hampshire is happening around the world. we must take action now to slow these harmful trends and we can make progress. we should be looking at all kinds of ways in which to make progress to address what's happening to our environment. so i look forward to working with my colleagues in the senate to find smart and sensible solutions because new hampshire's economy, the health of our citizens, the united states economy, the world's economy and our health all depend on it. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida is recognized. mr. nelson: mr. president, i
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want the 31 colleagues that have been here to know how proud i am as i have watched throughout the evening and this morning and have seen our colleagues continue to hold this floor to try to bring attention to a fact , i am very proud of them. and i have the privilege of being the cleanup hitter in this session that has phenomenal on for hours and hours, and i want to speak from the perspective of the part of the united states that is going and is most affected by sea level rise, which is a consequence of climate change, and that is the state of florida, and i want to speak from the perspective of
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outer space. mr. president, when you look back at the planet through the window of a spacecraft, which i had the privilege of doing 28 years ago in the early part of the space shuttle program, the space shuttle columbia piloted, by the way, by now marine general retired charlie bolden who is the head of nasa and has been for the last five years. when you look back at our home, you see this incredible creation that is so colorful suspended in the midst of nothing. space is nothing. space is an airless vacuum that goes on and on for billions of light years.
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and there's our home. and it's so beautiful. and yet it looks so fragile from that perspective of miles and miles away. because as the eye, the naked eye, can see from that altitude as you orbit the earth at 17,500 miles an hour, it's incredible the detail that you can see. but some of that detail is quite disturbing. for example, coming across the amazon, i could see the color contrast, i could see the destruction of the rain forest and then i could look to the east coast of brazil at the mouth of the amazon and i could see the silt that discolored the waters of the atlantic for hundreds of miles, the extra
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silt coming because of the destruction of the trees upriver. or on the other side of the globe, for example, coming across madagascar, 28 years ago when they were cutting down all of their trees for fuel, for fires, as a result, no vegetation when the rains came, the hills, the water ran down, the silt came into the rivers, and you could see for miles and miles at the mouths of the rivers from madagascar flying 203 miles above the surface of the earth, you could see the effects, you could see those kind of effects in the midst of that god-given beauty that the earth is so fragile.
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you could look at the rim of the earth and you could see this thin film. it went into a blue band that then went into the blackness of space, and you could see what sustains all of life. the atmosphere. and as a result, i certainly became more of an environmentalist because i saw in its entirety how fragile this ecosystem is. you could see the effects of storms. we were up in january so we saw a hurricane in the southern hemisphere going clockwise, not counterclockwise, as in the northern hemisphere. hundreds of miles, this storm in the indian ocean.
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you could see from that perspective of the window of a spacecraft the delicacy of this god-created ecological balance. and so what we've done is as we burn more fuel and carbon dioxide goes into the air instead of what was created were the earth's rays come in and hit the surface where the sun's rays come in through the atmosphere and hit the earth's surface and reflect back into space, suddenly the excess gases in the atmosphere create a kind of greenhouse effect which then traps the heat, and the heat as it reflects off of the earth's surface and bounces to radiate
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back into space, it can't get out. and the earth continues to heat. and so the intergovernmental panel on climate change projects that the globe could warm one and a half to four and a half degrees celsius by the end of the century. it also estimated that sea levels could rise from one foot to three feet over the same period. and so since we're talking about inches and degrees and hundreds of years, now i want to go from space, i want to go to my home and my native state of florida, which is ground zero for the sea level rise, what would florida look like in the year 2100. florida has a population closing in on 20 million people.
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we're surpassing new york right now as the third largest state. about 14 million of those people live along the coast, and that number is going to double by the year 2100, and in those coastal cities and towns, there are homes, schools, power plants, water treatment plants, roads, bridges, that could be under water as the sea level rises. this isn't just hypothetical, mr. president. this is real. florida atlantic university, one of our great state universities, indicates that florida has recorded five to eight inches of sea level rise in the last half century. and this rate is a rate of one foot per century, and it's
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about eight times the average rate over the past 2,500 years. so at high tide, you can see for yourself today the flooded roads, they're a regular occurrence. you can see the flooded neighborhoods. you can see what happens when the infrastructure is flooded. so if you just take a few years further in this century, 2060 we're going to see close to one to two feet of sea level rise. and according to the national research council, by 2100 that number could be as much as three feet. now, you want to see what three
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feet is, mr. president? look at this. three feet of sea level rise, look at the heavy population of southeast florida. look at all these portions of the everglades. look at the florida keys. gone. under water. look at the fort myers area. the colusahatchie river, charlotte bay, look at tampa bay. look where our space shuttle launched from pad 39-a, cape canaveral, all under water. look at all the coast of florida. look over here at the tremendous
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apalachicola oyster estuary under water, so forth and so on. that's what prominent scientific organizations have estimated at the end of this century, a three-foot rise in the sea and 14 million, a population over the course of the next few decades will double, 28 million people living on the coast of florida, they're going to be under water. now, why aren't people paying attention? mr. president, before i came to the senate i had one of the toughest jobs i've ever had in elected public service. i was the elected insurance commissioner of florida and the
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task fell to me in the aftermath of the monster storm, hurricane andrew, to resuscitate the insurance marketplace back to life. and back then in the early 1990's you could see what monster storms -- read warming of the climate, more warm ocean temperatures, more frequence frequencey -- frequency and ferocity of storms -- so as the then insurance commissioner, i tried to go to the insurance companies to start getting them interested in protecting the investments that they insure and they kept their heads in the sand. we couldn't get it. so you can see 75% of the state's population on the coast makes up 80% of the state's
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total income. and because we have more beaches than any other state, we have more coastline than any other state, say, for alaska, because of that, in a warmer time we have a great tourism industry, a tourism industry that attracts 37,000 companies in florida business related to the coast from boating to fishing to lodging to leisure recreation, all told, a quarter of a million people that are employed. and this 1,350 miles of coastline, a magnet for visitors. they come, they enjoy the
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beaches, they fish for red snapper in destin up here. they look for red snapper off of panama city. maybe they go for scallops off of cedar key. maybe they go and see the spring training games in tampa. and maybe they watch the sunsets from the florida keys. well, you see what's happening. and the most recent data from the state indicates that in 2011, tourists spent $67 billion in florida and contributed $4 billion to our state treasury. so a lot of people have their heads in the sand. but happily, some local leaders, some local elected leaders are
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starting to have to do something about it. the city of miami beach, it already experiences flooding and drainage problems due to the high tides. they're planning to spend $200 million to purchase more pump stations, raise sea waupls -- sea walls and storm water storage. you know who we're talking to? holland, the netherlands. we're trying to learn about large-scale dikes and engineering fixes, how the dutch have kept their lands dry. miami beach is taking the initiative so that homes and businesses are going to continue to thrive. and the higher sea levels -- get this -- also threaten the water supply. you know why? because florida is a basically
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land on top of a vast limestone honeycomb, like a sponge. it holds fresh water deep under ground. but when the sea level rises, the salt water moves in and replaces the fresh water so that those aquifers become too salty or brackish. you can't drink that. and that's happening, and it's happening in a little town on the southeast coast of florida called hallendale beach. their local officials are spending right now $16 million to upgrade their storm water system and move the city's drinking water system to the west side of the city, farther away from the coast. and so local leaders are making the tough decisions to prepare for the future, and that's one
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reason why i have the privilege of having the support of senator rockefeller, our chairman of commerce, and we're going to take a commerce committee field hearing during the april recess down to south florida, to miami beach, and we're going to hear what local governments, businesses, and even reinsurance companies are doing in the wake of the sea level rise. now, one additional thing. mr. president, i described what co2 does going into the air, creating the greenhouse effect which stops the radiating of the sun's heat back out into space. but there's another thing that it does. because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is making our oceans more acidic, it threatens the
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coral reefs and all of the creatures in the oceans tpr-rbgs tpr-rbgs -- oceans, from lobsters to clams. this is a healthy coral reef. this is not. and you know the coral reef system in florida, it's responsible for bringing in $3.5 billion in sales and income. and off of the coast of south florida, it supports 36,000 jobs. and more acidic water means oysters, crabs, lobsters are threatened because the biologists tell us that when shelled organisms are at risk, the entire food web may also be at risk, because the reefs provide the core reproductive and feeding habit for the marina
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life. and so, mr. president, i come to the end of my comments. whether you look at it from the perspective of the senator from florida, whose state is severely threatened at this moment, or whether you look at it from the perspective of the window of a spacecraft looking back at this creation called our home -- planet earth -- we are in severe jeopardy, and it is time for us to get out of our lethargy and recognize the problem that is happening in front of our very eyes. and i am so proud of my colleagues. before the senators came in, i said that i have watched on c-span 2 in the course of the evening and this morning, and i am so proud of you. for what you've done in bringing
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attention to this. and now, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 9:00 a.m. today, tuesday, march 11, 2014; that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. that following any leader remarks, the senate be in a period of morning business until 11:30 -- that's a.m. -- with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each, and the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees, with the majority controlling the first hour and the republicans controlling the
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next hour. and then at 11:30 a.m. that the senate proceed to executive session as provided under the previous order and that following the cloture vote on the parker nomination, the senate recess until 2:15 p.m. to allow for the weekly caucus meetings. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: mr. president, at 11:30 a.m. there will be a series of four cloture votes on leakman, levy, nicoleson and parker nominations all to be district judges for the eastern district of michigan. if there be no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
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mary landrieu of louisiana, mark pryor of arkansas and john walsh of montana. that article again from roll call today. you can watch the entire session of the all night session on climate change at c-span.org.
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the senate will gavel in in a few minutes at 9 a.m. eastern. live coverage on c-span2. harry reid, his remarks on climate change during the early hours of the all nightla sessio. >> just last week one of the world's most well-known spiritual leaders is holding the 14th dalai lama of tibet. visited the capital. he talked about the moral imperative to get the planet we call home. the taliban spoke with passion and longing, a mountain snows melt in spring to feed the rivers that provide bangladesh, china, india, nepal and pakistan of water. the himalayas are sometimes called the third hole because they continue -- but in recent years man-made climate change has caused milder winters, less snow, and less water for 1.3 billion people living downstream from tibet.
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the western united states we face a similar problem. for more than a decade, the drought has plagued the colorado river both upstream and downstream. a number of western states including nevada, california, arizona and other states. mr. president, during this period of time without some so-called average snows in the upper colorado but none of it reaches the river. the climate has changed. milder winters have meant less rocky mountain snowpack, last spring runoff to feed the rivers. combined with more extreme summer heat and other issues connected with climate changes, the shrinking western snowpack threatens a water source for more than 30 million people. mr. president, far more than 30 million people, because 38 million people in california affected very adversely because of what's going on with the
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colorado river. the seriousness of this climate problem is not lost on our average american. the vast majority of americans believe climate change is real. they believe it's here. a quarter-century ago, the first president bush promised to use, quote, a white house offense to combat the greenhouse offense but that's what president bush said. not much is happening, i'm sorry to say. but despite overwhelming scientific evidence and overwhelming public opinion, climate change deniers still exists. there's lots of them. they exist in this country. they exist, i'm sorry to say, in this congress. in the house and in the senate. so i'm very grateful senator schatz, senator whitehouse, and the chairman of the very important environment committee, senator boxer, and many speak majority leader reid from last
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nights all night climate change session. see the rest of his remarks individual library at c-span.org. and now led to today's session of the u.s. senate. -- now live to today's session of the u.s. senate. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal father, the center of our joy, as the senate ends its 35th all-night session, thank you for the fateful work of the members of each senator's staff. remind these staff members that
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you see their diligence and will reward their patriotism. today give our lawmakers confidence that you are in control of our world. may their trust in your providence deliver them from hindrances that prevent them from serving you and this land we love. empower them to be workers who need not be ashamed, striving to please you in all that they do. as the sun sets on this day, may they be nearer to you than when this day began. we pray in your great name.
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amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., march 11, 2014. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable benjamin l. cardin, a senator from the state of maryland, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: move to proceed to
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calendar number 309. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 309, s. 1086 a bill to authorize and improve the childcare development block grant act of 1990 and for other purposes. mr. reid: following my remarks sentence will be in morning business until 11:30 this morning, the majority controlling the first hour, the republicans the next hour. i ask consent senator feinstein be allotted a full hour. i've taken some of her time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: at 11:30 there will be four roll call votes to invoke cloture on four nominees to the united states district courts. following that vote the senate will recess until 2:15 for our weekly caucus meetings. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 11:30 a.m. with senators
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permitted to speak therein for ten minutes each and the time equally divided between the two leaders or their designees with the majority controlling the first hour and the republicans controlling the second hour. the senator from california is recognized. mrs. feinstein: good morning. over the past week there have been numerous press articles written about the intelligence committee's oversight review of the detention and interrogation program of the c.i.a. specifically, press attention has focused on the c.i.a.'s intrusion and search of the senate select committee's computers as well as the committee's acquisition of a certain internal c.i.a. document known as the panetta review. i rise today to set the record straight and to provide a full accounting of the facts and history. let me say up front that i come to the senate floor reluctantly.
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since january 15, 2014, when i was informed of the c.i.a. search of this committee's network, i've been trying to resolve this dispute in a discrete and respectful way. i've not commented in response to media requests for additional information on this matter. however, the increasing amount of inaccurate information circulating now cannot be allowed to stand unanswered. the origin of this study, the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program began operations in 2002, though it was not until september, 2006, that members of the intelligence committee other than the chairman and the vice chairman, were briefed. in fact, we were briefed by then-c.i.a. director hayden only hours before president bush disclosed the program to the
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public. a little more than a year later, on december 6, 2007, a "new york times" article revealed the troubling fact that the c.i.a. had destroyed videotapes of some of the c.i.a.'s first interrogations using so-called enhanced techniques. we learned that this destruction was over the objections of president bush's white house counsel and the director of national intelligence. after we read -- excuse me, read about the tapes of destruction in the newspapers, director hayden briefed the senate intelligence committee. he assured us that this was not destruction of evidence as detailed records of the interrogations existed on paper. in the form of c.i.a. operational cables describing
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the detention conditions and the day-to-day c.i.a. interrogations. the c.i.a. director stated that these cables were -- quote -- "a more than adequate representation" -- end quote of what would have been on the destroyed tapes. director hayden offered at that time during senator jay rockefeller's chairmanship of the committee, to allow members or staff review these sensitive c.i.a. operational cables. that the videotapes -- given that the videotapes had been destroyed. chairman rockefeller sent two of his committee staffers out to the c.i.a. on nights and weekends to review thousands of these cables, which took many months. by the time the two staffers completed their review into the c.i.a.'s early interrogations in
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early 2009, i had become chairman of the committee, and president obama had been sworn into office. the resulting staff report was chilling. the interrogations and the conditions of confinement at the c.i.a. detention sites were far different and far more harsh than the way the c.i.a. had described them to us. as a result of the staff's initial report, i proposed and then vice chairman bond agreed and the committee overwhelmingly approved that the committee conduct an expansive and full review of the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program. on march 5, 2009, the committee voted 14-1 to initiate a comprehensive review of the c.i.a. detention and interrogation program.
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immediately we sent a request for documents to all relevant executive branch agencies, chiefly among them the c.i.a. the committee's preference was for the c.i.a. to turn over all responsive documents to the committee's office, as had been done in previous committee investigations. director panetta proposed an alternative arrangement to provide, literally, millions of pages of operational cables, internal emails, memos, and other documents pursuant to a committee's document requests at a secure location in northern virginia. we agreed, but insisted on several conditions and protections to ensure the integrity of this congressional investigation. per an exchange of letters in 2009, then-vice chairman bond,
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then-director panetta, and i agreed in an exchange of letters that the c.i.a. was to provide a -- quote -- "stand-alone computer system" -- end quote with a -- quote -- "network drive segregated from c.i.a. networks" -- end quote. for the committee that would only be accessed by information technology personnel at the c.i.a. who would -- quote -- "not be permitted to share information from the system with other c.i.a. personnel except as otherwise authorized by the committee" -- end quote. it was this computer network that notwithstanding our agreement with director panetta was searched by the c.i.a. this past january, and once before which i will later describe. in addition to demanding that the documents produced for the
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committee be reviewed at a c.i.a. facility, the c.i.a. also insisted on conducting a multilayered review of every responsive document before providing the document to the committee. this was to ensure the c.i.a. did not mistakenly provide documents unrelated to the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program. or provide documents that the president could potentially claim to be covered by executive privilege. while we viewed this as unnecessary and raised concerns that it would delay our investigation, the c.i.a. hired a team of outside contractors who otherwise would not have had access to these sensitive documents, to read multiple times each of the 6.2 million pages of documents produced
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before providing them to fully cleared committee staff conducting the committee's oversight work. this proved to be a slow and very expensive process. the c.i.a. started making documents available electronically to the committee staff at the c.i.a. leased facility in mid 2009. the number of pages ran quickly to the thousands, tens of thousands, the hundreds of thousands, and then into the millions. the documents that were provided came without any index, without any organizational structure. it was a true document dump that our committee staff had to go through and make sense of. in order to piece together the story of the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program, the committee staff did two things
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that will be important as i go on. first, they asked the c.i.a. to provide an electronic search tool so they could locate specific relevant documents for their search, among the c.i.a.-produced documents, just like you would use a search tool on the internet to locate information. second, when the staff found a document that was particularly important or that might be referenced in our final report, they would often print it or make a copy of the file on their computer so they could easily find it again. their thousands of such documents in the committee's secure spaces at the c.i.a. facility. now, prior removal of documents by c.i.a.
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in early 2010, the c.i.a. was continuing to provide documents, and the committee staff was gaining familiarity with the information it had already received. in may of 2010, the committee staff noticed that the documents had been provided for the committee -- that had been provided for the committee's review were no longer accessible. staff approached the c.i.a. personnel at the offsite location who initially denied the documents had been removed. c.i.a. personnel then blamed information technology personnel who were almost all contractors for removing the documents themselves without direction or authority. and then the c.i.a. stated that the removal of the documents was ordered by the white house.
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when the committee approached the white house, the white house denied giving the c.i.a. any such order.57ñ after a series of meetings, i learned that on two occasions, c.i.a. personnel electronically removed committee access to c.i.a. documents after providing them to the committee. this included roughly 870 documents or pages of documents that were removed in february 2010. and secondly, roughly another 50 that were removed in mid-may 2010. this was done without the knowledge or approval of committee members or staff and in violation of our written agreements. further, this type of behavior would not have been possible had the c.i.a. allowed the committee
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to conduct the review of documents here in the senate. in short, this was the exact sort of c.i.a. interference in our investigation that we sought to avoid at the outset. i went up to the white house to raise the issue with the then-white house counsel. in may 2010, he recognized the severity of the situation and the grave implications of executive branch personnel interfering with an official congressional investigation. the matter was resolved with a renewed commitment from the white house counsel and the c.i.a. that there would be no further unauthorized access to the committee's network or removal of access to c.i.a. documents already provided to the committee. on may 17, 2010, the c.i.a.'s
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then-director of congressional affairs apologized on behalf of the c.i.a. for removing the documents. and that, as far as i was concerned, put the incident aside. this event was separate from the documents provided that were part of the internal panetta review which occurred later and which i will describe next. at some point in 2010, committee staff searching the documents that had been made available found draft versions of what is now called the internal panetta review. we believe these documents were written by c.i.a. personnel to summarize and analyze the materials that had been provided to the committee for its review.
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the panetta review documents were no more highly classified than other information we had received for our investigation. in fact, the documents appeared based on the same information already provided to the committee. what was unique and interesting about the internal documents was not their classification level, but rather their analysis and acknowledgement of significant c.i.a. wrongdoing. to be clear, the committee staff did not hack into c.i.a. computers to obtain these documents, as has been suggested in the press. the documents were identified using the search tool provided by the c.i.a. to search the documents provided to the committee. we have no way to determine who made the internal panetta review
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documents available to the committee. further, we don't know whether the documents were provided intentionally by the c.i.a., unintentionally by the c.i.a. or intentionally by a whistle-blower. in fact we know that over the years on multiple occasions the staff have asked the c.i.a. about documents made available for our investigation. at times the c.i.a. has simply been unaware that these specific documents were provided to the committee. and while this is alarming, it is also important to note that more than 6.2 million pages of documents have been provided. this is simply a massive amount of records. as i described earlier, as part of its standard process for reviewing records, the committee
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staff printed copies of the internal panetta review and made electronic copies of the committee's computers at the facility. the staff did not rely on these internal panetta review documents when drafting the final 6,300-page committee study. but it was significant that the internal panetta review had documented at least some of the very same troubling matters already uncovered by the committee staff, which is not surprising in that they were looking at the same information. there is a claim in the press and elsewhere that the markings on these documents should have caused the staff to stop reading them and turn them over to the c.i.a.. i reject that claim completely. as with many other documents provided to the committee at the
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c.i.a. facility, some of the internal panetta review documents -- some -- contain markings indicating that they were -- quote -- "deliberative" and/or -- quote -- "privileged". this was not especially noteworthy to staff. in fact, c.i.a. has provided thousands of internal documents to include c.i.a. legal guidance and talking points prepared for the c.i.a. director, some of which were marked as being deliberative or privileged. moreover, the c.i.a. has officially provided such documents to the committee here in the senate. in fact, the c.i.a.'s official june 27, 2013, response to the committee study which director brennan delivered to me personally is labeled -- quote
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-- "deliberative process privileged document." end quote. we have discussed this with the senate legal counsel who has confirmed that congress does not recognize these claims of privilege when it comes to documents provided to congress for our oversight duties. these were documents provided by the executive branch pursuant to an authorized congressional oversight investigation. so we believe we had every right to review and keep the documents. there are also claims in the press that the panetta internal review documents, having been created in 2009 and 2010 were outside the date range of the committee's document request or the terms of the committee study. this too is inaccurate.
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the committee's document requests were not limited in time. in fact, as i have previously announced, the committee study includes significant information on the may 2011 osama bin laden operation, which obviously postdated the detention and interrogation program. at some time after the committee staff identified and reviewed the internal panetta review documents, access to the vast majority of them was removed by the c.i.a.. we believe this happened in 2010, but we have no way of knowing the specifics. nor do we know why the documents were removed. the staff was focused on reviewing the tens of thousands of new documents that continue to arrive on a regular basis. our work continued until
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december 2012, when the intelligence committee approved a 6,300-page committee study of the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program and sent the executive report to the executive branch for comment. the c.i.a. provided its response to the study on june 27, 2013. as c.i.a. director brennan has stated, the c.i.a. officially agrees with some of our study but has been reported the c.i.a. disagrees and disputes important parts of it, and this is important. some of these important parts that the c.i.a. now disputes in our committee study are clearly acknowledged in the c.i.a.'s own internal panetta review. to say the least, this is
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puzzling. how can the c.i.a.'s official response to our study stand factually in conflict with its own internal review? now after noting the tkeus parity between the -- the disparity between the official c.i.a. response to the committee study and the internal panetta review, the committee staff securely transported a printed portion of the draft internal panetta review from the committee's secure room at the c.i.a.-leased facility to the secure committee spaces in the hart senate office building. and let me be clear about this, i mentioned earlier the exchange of letters that senator bond and i had with director panetta in 2009 over the handling of information for this review.
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the letters set out a process whereby the committee would provide specific c.i.a. documents to c.i.a. reviewers before bringing them back to our secure offices here on capitol hill. the c.i.a. review was designed specifically to make sure that committee documents available to all staff and members did not include certain kinds of information. most importantly, the true names of nonsupervisory c.i.a. personnel and the names of specific countries in which the c.i.a. operated detention sites. we had agreed up front that our report didn't need to include this information, and so we agreed to redact it from materials leaving the c.i.a.'s facility. keeping with the spirit of the
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agreement, the portion of the internal panetta review at the hart building in our safe has been redacted. it does not contain names of nonsupervisory c.i.a. personnel or information identifying detention site locations. in other words, our staff did just what the c.i.a. personnel would have done had they reviewed the document. there are several reasons why the draft summary of the panetta review was brought to our secure spaces at the hart building. let me list them. one, the significance of the internal review given disparities between it and the june 2013 c.i.a. response to the committee study, the internal panetta review summary now at the secure committee office in
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hart is an especially significant document as it corroborates critical information in the committee's 6,300-page study that the c.i.a.'s official response either objects to, denies, minimizes or ignores. unlike the official response, these panetta review documents were in agreement with the committee's findings. that's what makes them so significant and important to protect. when the internal panetta review documents disappeared from the committee's computer system, this suggested once again that the c.i.a. had removed documents already provided to the committee in violation of c.i.a.
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agreements and white house assurances that the c.i.a. would cease such activities. as i have detailed, the c.i.a. has previously withheld and destroyed information about its detention and interrogation program, including its decision in 2005 to destroy interrogation videotapes over the objections of the bush white house and the director of national intelligence. based on the above, there was a need to preserve and protect the internal panetta review in the committee's own secure spaces. now, the relocation of the internal panetta review was lawful and handled in a manner consistent with its classification. no law prevents the relocation of a document in the committee's possession from a c.i.a.
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facility to secure committee offices on capitol hill. as i mentioned before, the document was handled and transported in a manner consistent with its classification, redacted appropriately and it remains secured with restricted access in committee spaces. now, the january 15, 2014 meeting with director john brennan. in late 2013, i requested in writing that the c.i.a. provide a final and complete version of the internal panetta review to the committee, as opposed to the partial document the committee currently possesses. in december, during an open committee hearing, senator mark udall echoed this request. in early january, 2014, the
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c.i.a. informed the committee it would not provide the internal panetta review to the committee, citing the deliberative nature of the document. shortly thereafter, on january 15, 2014, c.i.a. director brennan requested an emergency meeting to inform me and vice chairman chambliss that without prior notification or approval, c.i.a. personnel had conducted a search -- that was john brennan's word -- of the committee computers at the offcite facility. -- offsite facility. this search was not only of documents provided by the committee by the c.i.a. but also a search of the stand-alone and walled-off committee network drive containing the committee's own internal work product and
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communications. according to brennan, the computer search was conducted in response to indications that some members of the committee staff might already have had access to the internal panetta review. the c.i.a. did not ask the committee or its staff if the committee had access to the internal review or how we obtained it. instead, the c.i.a. just went and searched the committee's computers. the c.i.a. has still not asked the committee any questions about how the committee acquired the panetta review. in place of asking any questions, the c.i.a.'s unauthorized search of the committee computers was followed by an allegation which we now have seen repeated anonymously in the press, that the committee staff had somehow
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obtained the document through unauthorized or criminal means, perhaps to include hacking into the c.i.a.'s computer network. as i have described, this is not true. the document was made available to the staff at the offsite facility and it was located using a c.i.a.-provided search tool, running a query of the information provided to the committee pursuant to its investigation. director brennan stated that the c.i.a.'s search had determined that the committee staff had copies of the internal panetta review on the committee staff's shared drive and had accessed them numerous times. he indicated at the meeting that he was going to order further forensic investigation of the committee network to learn more
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about activities of the committee's oversight staff. two days after the meeting, on january 17, i wrote a letter to director brennan objecting to any further c.i.a. investigation due to the separation of powers constitutional issues that the search raised. i followed this with a second letter on january 23 to the director asking 12 specific questions about the c.i.a.'s actions, questions that the c.i.a. has refused to answer. some of the questions in my letter related to the full scope of the c.i.a.'s search of our computer network. other questions related to who had authorized and conducted the search, and what legal basis the c.i.a. claimed gave it authority to conduct the search. again, the c.i.a. has not
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provided answers to any of my questions. my letter also laid out my concern about the legal and constitutional implications of the c.i.a.'s actions. based on what director brennan has informed us, i have grave concerns that the c.i.a.'s search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the united states constitution, including the speech and debate clause. it may have undermined the constitutional framework essential to effective congressional oversight of intelligence activities or any other government function. i have asked for an apology, and a recognition that this c.i.a. search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate. i have received neither. besides the constitutional
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implications, the c.i.a. search may also have violated the fourth amendment, the computer fraud and abuse act, as well as executive order 123 3 which 3reub9s the c.i.a. from conducting domestic surveillance. days after meeting with director brennan, the c.i.a. inspector general, david buckley, learned of the c.i.a. search and began an investigation into c.i.a.'s activities. i have been informed that mr. buckley has referred the matter to the department of justice, given the possibility of a criminal violation by c.i.a. personnel. let me note, because the c.i.a. has refused to answer the questions in my january 23 letter and the c.i.a. inspector general is ongoing, i have limited information about
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exactly what the c.i.a. did in conducting its search. weeks later, i was also told that after the inspector general reviewed the c.i.a.'s activities to the department of justice --, excuse me, referred the c.i.a.'s activities to the department of justice, the acting counsel general of the c.i.a. filed a crimes report with the department of justice concerning the committee staff's actions. i have not been provided the specifics of these allegations or been told whether the department has initiated a criminal investigation based on the allegations of the c.i.a.'s acting general counsel. as i mentioned before, our staff involved in this matter have the appropriate clearances, handled the
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sensitive material according to established procedures and practice to protect classified information, and were provided access to the panetta review by the c.i.a. itself. as a result, there is no legitimate reason to allege to the justice department that senate staff may have committed a crime. i view the acting counsel general's referral as a potential effort to intimidate this staff, and i am not taking it lightly. i should note that for most, if not all of the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program, the now acting general counsel was a lawyer in the c.i.a.'s counterterrorism center. the unit within which the c.i.a. managed and carried out this program. from mid 2004 until the official
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termination of the detention and interrogation program in january, 2009, he was the unit's chief lawyer. he is mentioned by name more than 1,600 times in our study. and now this individual is sending a crimes report to the department of justice on the actions of congressional staff, the same congressional staff who were searched and drafted a report -- researched and drafted a report which details how c.i.a. officers including the acting general counsel himself provided inaccurate information to the department of justice about the program. mr. president, let me say this -- all senators rely on their staff to be their eyes and ears and to carry out our duties. the staff members of the intelligence committee are dedicated professionals who are motivated to do what is best for our nation.
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the staff members sho have been working on this study and this report have devoted years of their lives to it, wading through the horrible details of the c.i.a. program that never, never, never should have existed. they have worked long hours and produced a report unprecedented in its comprehensive attention to detail in the history of the senate. they are now being threatened with legal jeopardy just as the final revisions to the report are being made so that parts of it can be declassified and released to the american people. mr. president, i felt that i needed to come to the floor today to correct the public record and to give the american people the facts about what the dedicated committee staff have been working so hard for the last several years as part of the committee's investigation. i also want to reiterate to my
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colleagues my desire to have all updates to the committee report completed this month and approved for declassification. we're not going to stop. i intend to move to have the findings conclusions and the executive summary of the report sent to the president for declassification and release to the american people. the white house has indicated publicly and to me personally that it supports declassification and release. if the senate can reclassify this report, we will be able to ensure that an un-american, brutal program of detention and interrogation will never again be considered or permitted. but, mr. president, the recent actions that i have just laid out make this a defining moment for the oversight of our intelligence committee.
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how congress and how this will be resolved will show whether the intelligence committee can be effective in monitoring and investigating our nation's intelligence activities, or whether our work can be thwarted by those we oversee. i believe it is critical that the committee and the senate reaffirm our oversight role and our independence under the constitution of the united states. mr. president, i thank you very much for your patience and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, while the distinguished senator from california is on the floor i would tell her through the chair, i've had the privilege of serving in this body now my 40th -- 40th year. i've heard thousands of speeches on this floor. i cannot think of any speech by any member of either party as important as the one the senator
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from california just gave. what she is saying is if we're going to protect the separation of powers and the concept of congressional oversight, then she has taken the right steps to do that. i think back, mr. president, the very first vote i cast in this body was for the church committee, which went into the excesses of the c.i.a. and others of our agencies, everything from assassinations to spying on those who were protesting the war in vietnam. there was a famous george tames picture where then chairman of the armed services committee, john stennis was berating senator frank church for proposing this committee saying that he, senator stennis, could find out what he wanted to find out but didn't really want to know everything.
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i was -- i stand behind george stennis when he took that picture in my first caucus. there was pressure on our junior members, i was the most junior member of the senate at the time, not to vote for the church committee. senator mike mansfield told me as senator fritz mondale did others, that the senate is bigger than any one senator. we come and go. the senate lasts. if we do not assistant -- stand up for the protection of the separation of powers and our ability to do oversight, especially when conduct has happened that is in all likelihood criminal conduct on the part of a government agency, then what do we stand for? we are supposed to be the conscience of the nation. the senator from california, senator feinstein, has spoken to our conscience, to every one of us, 100 senators, men and women, both parties.
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she has spoken to our conscience now let's stand up for this country. let's stand up as united states senators should and as the senator from california has. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
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quorum call: quorum call:
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reid reid mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader.
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mr. reid:: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorl bm be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i want to take a minute, mr. president, to commend senator diane feinstein. there is not a more dignified, competent senator in this body than diane feinstein. she works tireless hours leading the intelligence committee. it's a very difficult job. always away from the press. and one that's very important to our country. her statement today outlined i believe one of the most important principles that we must maintain and that is separation of powers. the founding fathers were visionary in creating this great government of ours. three separate but equal branches of government. executive, judicial and legislative. and her statement today pronounced in a very clear fashion that that must continue, the separation of powers.
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the work that that committees's done is -- over the last many years, dealing with what went on in a prior administration, is imperative that it comes out. and i don't know much of the details as to what they're working on but i know what they've been working on generally. and i admire what she's done, what the committee's done and especially her statement today was one of courage and conviction. and we know those who have worked with her over those years, there's no one that has more courage and conviction than diane feinstein. i have nine unanimous consent requests to meet during today's session. they have been approved by me and senator mcconnell. i ask consent that these requests be agreed to and be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:

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