[Graphic Version]

Balanced Budget Agreement Protects
Public Health & the Environment

May 20, 1997

President Clinton and Vice President Gore reached an agreement with congressional leaders to balance the budget for the first time in a generation while protecting critical investments like environmental protection, education and health care.

The budget function that includes most environment and natural resource programs, Function 300, is protected at the level in the President's Fiscal Year 1998 budget request for the next five years. In addition, the agreement specifically protects the following priority programs:

EPA Enforcement and Public Health Safeguards. The agreement provides for the President's request for the EPA operating program, a 9 percent increase to $3.4 billion in 1998. This account funds:

Toxic Waste Cleanups. The agreement sets aside the money for the President's request for the Superfund program, which proposes to clean up 500 additional sites by the end of the year 2000 -- a 50 percent increase to $2.1 billion for 1998. The agreement notes that there remain policy differences that must be worked out before the increased funds are available.
National Parks. The Clinton-Gore Administration has made national parks a national priority again, and the agreement provides for the President's request for National Park Service operations. This is a 6 percent increase to $1.2 billion for 1998 and a 17 percent increase from the year President Clinton took office.

Everglades. The agreement provides the funding for the President's request for Everglades restoration, a 135 percent increase to almost $300 million for 1998. The agreement specifically protects the largest portions of the Everglades restoration program at the National Park Service and the Army Corps of Engineers, for a total of $238 million in 1998. This increase will implement the President's Everglades program signed into law last year -- the most ambitious environmental restoration ever.

Brownfields Cleanup and Redevelopment. Republican leaders will seek to include in the tax legislation the President's legislative proposal for brownfields, which includes a $2 billion brownfields tax incentive, to help communities clean up and redevelop contaminated areas -- protecting public health and creating jobs. The agreement also boosts funding by $50 million in 1998 to provide grants to communities for site assessment and development planning and to leverage state, local, and private funds to foster redevelopment. (This money is included in the Superfund account.)

Land Acquisition. The agreement provides for an additional $700 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for priority federal land acquisitions and exchanges. The earliest spending from this, in 1998 and 1999, is targeted "to finalize priority federal land exhanges."

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