Meet the Chair
Chair Kathy Castor is a national leader on clean energy, environmental justice, coastal protection and addressing the climate crisis. She’s represented Florida’s 14th District since 2006.
Rep. Castor (FL-14) has a long-established track record of standing up for a clean and healthy environment, supporting clean energy jobs and promoting environmental justice. She started her professional career enforcing environmental and growth management laws that protect wetlands, Florida’s coastline, endangered species and sensitive lands for the State of Florida. As a Hillsborough County Commissioner in Tampa, Florida, Castor served as chair of the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) that is charged with protecting the air, water, wetlands, and lands of the large and diverse county, including delegated elements of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.
Castor was elected to Congress in 2006. She serves on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has legislative jurisdiction over a range of energy and environmental issues. She has a 100% rating by Defenders of Wildlife Fund, a 100% rating by Clean Water Action and a 93% lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters.
Castor hails from the Tampa Bay area, one of the most vulnerable cities in the country to storm surge. She understands the threat posed to Florida by climate change and the rising economic costs that go along with it. As chair of the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, Castor is leading an effort to craft policy ideas to decarbonize the U.S. economy while creating quality jobs and investing in communities on the frontlines of climate change.
Protecting Our Coastlines
Castor fights to protect her state’s beaches from offshore drilling. She is the author of the Florida Coastal Protection Act, which bans drilling off Florida's coast.
Castor was active and outspoken during the BP Deepwater Horizon oil blowout disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, which harmed Florida’s state beaches, economy and small businesses. That year, she secured $10 million from BP to support Florida college and university marine research, including the University of South Florida and Sarasota’s Mote Marine Laboratory. Castor introduced the Gulf of Mexico Economic and Environmental Restoration Act to fund long-term economic recovery and environmental restoration and research through fines and penalties to be paid by BP for its pollution under the Clean Water Act. Extensive bipartisan work on this legislation continued throughout 2011, and in June 2012, Congress passed the RESTORE Act, which dedicated 80 percent of all administrative and civil penalties related to the Deepwater Horizon spill to a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund.
Supporting Clean Energy
Castor has championed energy efficiency, distributed renewable energy, and environmental justice to ensure all communities, families and individuals enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards. In 2015, Congress passed the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act, which contained Castor’s measures to benchmark the energy usage of federally-leased buildings and require the U.S. Department of Energy to complete a study on the best practices for energy benchmarking. She also introduced the Clean Distributed Energy Grid Integration Act in the 114th Congress and worked to ensure distributed energy was included in the House Democrats’ 2018 infrastructure plan.
Fighting President Trump’s Anti-Environment Policies
Castor co-chairs the House Democratic Environmental Message Team that issued the “Trump’s Toxic Team” Report, which detailed the Trump Administration's corruption, self-dealing and abuse of taxpayer money at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of the Interior and Department of Energy. In response to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s repeated ethics violations and actions that undermined the EPA’s mission, Castor successfully led her colleagues in a united and formal demand for his resignation. Pruitt ultimately resigned his position in July of 2018.
Responding to Severe Weather Events
In the wake of disasters that have destroyed communities in Florida and across the United States, Castor has been unwavering in pressing for federal emergency aid resources to quickly reach the hardest hit regions. After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, Castor launched a Puerto Rico Recovery and Assistance Task Force to fight for the resources the island needs to rebuild stronger, more resilient infrastructure and maximize local resources to serve Puerto Rican families that have relocated to Florida. As vice ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, Castor pressed for robust electric generation, grid modernization and resiliency policies so that no U.S. region or territory ever again experiences 100 percent power loss.
More About Kathy Castor
Castor is a native Floridian, graduate of Tampa’s Chamberlain High School, Emory University and Florida State University College of Law. Castor and her husband have two daughters. She is the daughter of former Hillsborough County Judge Don Castor and former University of South Florida President and statewide-elected Education Commissioner Betty Castor.