PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT
President Clinton and Vice President Gore help repair flood
"We must ask more of ourselves, we must
expect more of each other, and we must face our challenges together. . . .
Our fifth challenge: to leave our environment safe and clean for
the next generation."
January 23, 1996
damage along the Potomac River, Earth Day-1996.
During the last generation, we made great progress in protecting the
environment. We now have cleaner, safer air and water. We must continue
to move forward. A third of us still breathe air that endangers our
heath, and in too many communities, the water is not safe to drink. President Clinton is committed to making
common sense reforms to environmental programs and is determined to block attempts to roll back
A RECORD OF ACCOMPLISHMENT:
- Yellowstone: Reached agreement to halt massive gold mine
three miles outside Yellowstone National Park, protecting the area from
toxic runoff and other threats.
- Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument: Created 1.7
million acre national monument to protect the spectacular red rock
canyonlands of Southern Utah.
- Clean Water: Vowed to veto the lobbyist-written bill to roll
back the Clean Water Act that keeps billions of pounds of toxic
pollutants and sewage out of our rivers, lakes and streams.
- Toxic Waste Clean-ups: Completed as many toxic waste site
clean ups in three years as were completed in the previous 12. Fought
Republican Congressional attempts to gut the Superfund law that makes
polluters -- rather than taxpayers -- pay to
clean up toxic dumps. Vetoed Republican Congressional bill that cut
Superfund clean ups by 25%.
- National Parks: Fought attempts to close national parks and
developed a "Parks for Tomorrow" program to restore our national parks
for future generations.
- Pesticides and Food Safety: Proposed and signed bill to
strengthen standards for pesticides in food -- including special
safeguards for children. Canceled 75 hazardous pesticides while moving
safer substitutes into the market more quickly.
- Everglades Restoration: Committed $1.5 billion over seven
years to help restore the unique Florida Everglades and ensure safe, clean water.
- Enforcement: Ensured compliance with environmental safeguards
by toughening EPA's enforcement programs and fought to protect
enforcement programs from drastic budget cuts.
- Protection for the California Desert: Fought for and then
signed the California Desert Protection Act, the largest single designation of parks and
wilderness areas ever in the lower 48 states.
- California Water: Broke through decades of conflict and
negotiated a consensus plan to protect and allocate California Bay-Delta water.
- Wildlife Refuges: Established 25 wildlife refuges.
- Clean Air: Made the air we breathe cleaner by issuing new
standards to cut toxic pollution from chemical plants by 90% and
dangerous incinerator emissions by 98%.
- Brownfields Initiative: Launched an initiative to return land
to productive use by providing a $2 billion tax incentive to clean up old industrial
- Community Right to Know: Expanded programs for companies to
give communities information about the toxic chemicals released into their
neighborhoods by nearly doubled the number of chemicals industry must
report and increasing the number of facilities that must report.
- Farm Conservation: Signed Farm Bill to extend the
Conservation Reserve and Wetlands Reserve Programs and create new incentives to protect water
quality and wildlife habitat.
- Safe Drinking Water: Proposed and signed legislation to
strengthen the Safe Drinking Water Act and ensure that our families have healthy, clean tap
water. Required drinking water systems to test for and eliminate dangerous
contaminants such as cryptosporidium, which in 1993 killed 100 and sickened 400,000 in
- Meat Safety: Issued new policy to protect consumers from E.
coli contamination in meat.
- Recycling: Issued an Executive Order to jump start the market
for recycled goods.
- Global Phaseout of Persistent Pollutants: Led the way to an
agreement to phase out the use of 12 dangerous, persistent organic pollutants worldwide,
such as PCBs and DDT.
- Reinventing Environmental Regulation: Changed EPA rules and
procedures to reduce paperwork requirements for businesses by 10 million hours and
allowing businesses to write their own rules if they can do it cleaner
THE CHALLENGES AHEAD:
President Clinton will continue to support policies that protect our
health and natural resources while making common sense reforms to
environmental programs by:
- Expanding community right-to-know laws and challenging communities to
use the information to work with business to cut pollution.
- Challenging Congress to provide true reform of the Superfund program
and to drop proposals to force taxpayers to pick up the tab to clean up toxic
waste. Cleaning up two-thirds of Superfund sites by 2000.
- Getting tough on criminal polluters, to strengthen penalties for the
worst environmental criminals and ensure that courts can secure
polluters' assets in order to restore the communities they victimize.
- Dramatically reducing paperwork and replacing one-size-fits-all
regulations with result-focused programs.
- Challenging American businesses to take more initiative in protecting the
- Challenging Congress to re-examine and reverse those policies that
would endanger our health and safety by weakening programs such as safe
drinking water and clean air.
- Continuing to work with state and community leaders and businesses to
find better ways to protect our natural resources and provide economic
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