Environmental Actions by President Clinton and Vice President Gore
January 20, 1993: President Clinton and Vice President Gore eliminated the Council on
Competitiveness, which was established by the Bush-Quayle Administration and had been frequently used to
circumvent environmental laws.
March 30, 1993: President Clinton and Vice President Gore held the Forest Conference in Oregon, a
critical first step toward developing a comprehensive and balanced long-term policy to preserve and protect
old-growth forests while balancing the needs of the workers, businesses, and communities dependent on
April 21, 1993: President Clinton issued executive orders directing federal agencies to reduce their
use of ozone-depleting materials, increase their use of alternative-fueled vehicles, and purchase energy
efficient computers (Executive Order 12843, Executive Order 12844, Executive Order 12845).
June 29, 1993: President Clinton signed an executive order establishing the President's Council on
Sustainable Development (Executive Order 12852).
July 1, 1993: President Clinton signed the Forest Resources Conservation and Shortage Relief
Amendments Act (H.R. 2343).
August 3, 1993: President Clinton issued an executive order requiring federal agencies to reduce
pollution as much as possible and to report to the community any toxic chemicals that are released into
the environment (Executive Order 12856).
August 4, 1993: President Clinton signed legislation establishing the Snake River Birds of Prey
National Conservation Area in Idaho (H.R. 236).
August 13, 1993: President Clinton signed the Colorado Wilderness Act of 1993, which designated a
total of 612,000 acres as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System (H.R. 631).
August 24, 1993: The Clinton-Gore Administration unveiled a wetlands protection initiative which
included more than 40 changes to current wetlands policy, including establishing a more effective process
so that landowners and farmers can seek review of permit decisions without having to go to court.
October 20, 1993: President Clinton signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to use
recycled paper and other recycled products (Executive Order 12873).
February 11, 1994: President Clinton issued an executive order to address environmental justice and
ensure that low-income citizens and minorities do not suffer a disproportionate burden of industrial
pollution (Executive Order 12898).
March 8, 1994: President Clinton issued an executive order directing federal agencies to improve
energy efficiency and water conservation at their facilities (Executive Order 12902).
March 11, 1994: The White House announced the Greening of the White House initiative, a
comprehensive energy and environmental upgrade that includes actions for landscaping, waste reduction,
recycling, and water and energy efficiency.
April 11, 1994: President Clinton signed the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Improvement Act
of 1994 (S. 476).
April 29, 1994: President Clinton issued a memorandum directing agencies to use environmentally
beneficial landscaping practices, such as using regionally native plants for landscaping, reducing use of
pesticides and fertilizer, promoting construction practices that minimize adverse effects on natural
habitats, and implementing water-efficient practices such as irrigation.
May 13, 1994: President Clinton issued executive orders directing that the North American Agreement
on Environmental Cooperation and the Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and
the Government of the United Mexican States Concerning the Establishment of a Border Environment
Cooperation Commission be implemented in a manner consistent with U.S. environmental policy (Executive
Order 12915, Executive Order 12916).
August 11, 1994: President Clinton signed the Winter Run Chinook Salmon Captive Broodstock Act
August 26, 1994: President Clinton signed the Farmington Wild and Scenic River Act (H.R. 2815),
designating a portion of the Farmington River in Connecticut as a part of the National Wild and Scenic
August 26, 1994: President Clinton signed the George Washington National Forest Mount Pleasant
Scenic Area Act (H.R. 2942).
October 19, 1994: President Clinton signed the North American Wetlands Conservation Act
Amendments of 1994 (H.R. 4308).
October 22, 1994: President Clinton signed the Water Bank Extension Act (H.R. 5053), which expands
eligibility for the wetlands reserve program to lands covered by expiring agreements under the Water Bank
October 22, 1994: President Clinton signed the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994
October 31, 1994: President Clinton signed the California Desert Protection Act (S. 21), which
designated approximately 7.7 million acres of Federal lands as wilderness. The Act added approximately 3
million acres to the National Park System, including magnificent lands adjacent to the Death Valley and
Joshua Tree National Monuments. It also established the Mojave National Preserve as a new unit of the
National Park System.
April 18, 1995: Vice President Gore unveiled a National Environmental Technology Strategy with
three major goals: create high-wage jobs and exports and stimulate overall economic growth; reduce the
cost of cleaning up past pollution; and help prevent future damage to the environment.
June 7, 1995: President Clinton issued an executive order to improve the quality, function,
sustainable productivity, and distribution of U.S. aquatic resources for increased recreational
fishing opportunities (Executive Order 12962).
July 31, 1995: President Clinton announced that the Clinton-Gore Administration had reached
agreement with oil companies to protect sensitive coastal areas off Florida and Alaska from oil drilling.
August 8, 1995: President Clinton issued an executive order requiring those who would do business
with the federal government to continue to report on over 650 toxic chemicals that are emitted (Executive
November 10, 1995: President Clinton signed the Fisheries Act of 1995 (H.R. 716), which implements
international agreements designed to protect important fish stocks in high seas areas of the world's
oceans and off of America's coasts.
March 25, 1996: President Clinton signed an executive order requiring paper mills to use some
recycled materials in producing new paper (Executive Order 12995).
March 25, 1996: President Clinton issued an executive order to protect and preserve the National
Wildlife Refuge System for future generations while ensuring continued public access and recreational
opportunities (Executive Order 12996).
April 6, 1996: President Clinton signed the most environmentally beneficial Farm Bill in history.
The bill provided over $2 billion in increased spending for conservation programs, including $200 million
to purchase environmentally sensitive lands in the Everglades.
May 15, 1996: President Clinton signed the Trinity River Basin Fish and Wildlife Management
Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2243).
May 24, 1996: President Clinton signed legislation reauthorizing the Water Resources Research Act
May 24, 1996: President signed legislation authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to acquire
property in the town of East Hampton, New York, for inclusion in the Amagansett National Wildlife Refuge
August 2, 1996: President Clinton transmitted to the Senate the Canada-United States Protocol for
the Protection of Migratory Birds.
August 3, 1996: President Clinton signed the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, establishing
strong new standards for pesticide residues in food, and requiring for the first time that the standards
take into account special risks to children (H.R. 1627).
August 6, 1996: President Clinton signed the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996, requiring
stronger standards for many pollutants and establishing a revolving loan fund to help communities upgrade
water treatment systems. (S. 1316).
August 7, 1996: President Clinton ratified a landmark fisheries conservation agreement: the
Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the
Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly
Migratory Fish Stocks.
August 12, 1996: President Clinton signed the Yellowstone Protection Agreement to protect the park
August 28, 1996: President Clinton announced new initiatives to accelerate cleanup of brownfields
and Superfund sites, strengthen environmental enforcement, and expand community right-to-know.
September 18, 1996: President Clinton issued a proclamation establishing the Grand
Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
October 1, 1996: President Clinton signed legislation authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to
acquire the Waihee Marsh for inclusion in the Oahu National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Hawaii (H.R. 1772).
October 2, 1996: President Clinton signed the Antarctic Science, Tourism, and Conservation Act of
1996 (H.R. 3060), which implemented the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.
October 9, 1996: President Clinton signed legislation increasing funding for the Department of the
Interior for the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana (H.R. 2660).
October 11, 1996: President Clinton signed the Sustainable Fisheries Act (S. 39), the Water
Desalination Act of 1996 (S. 811), and the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (H.R. 543).
October 12, 1996: President Clinton signed the Water Resources Development Act, which authorized
development of a long-term plan to restore the Florida Everglades (S. 640).
October 12, 1996: President Clinton signed the Accountable Pipeline Safety and Partnership Act of
1996 (S. 1505), which will reduce risk to public safety and the environment associated with pipeline
transportation of natural gas and hazardous liquids.
October 19, 1996: President Clinton signed the Marine Mineral Resources Research Act (S. 1194).
October 26, 1996: President Clinton signed the National Invasive Species Act of 1996 (H.R. 4283),
which will help to control the unintentional introduction and spread of invasive species, such as zebra
mussel, throughout the waters of our Nation. Such species can cause significant damage to the environment,
the economy, and fisheries.
October 31, 1996: President Clinton signed an executive order dissolving the Midway Islands Naval
Defensive Sea Area and the Midway Islands Naval Airspace Reservation and transferring jurisdiction to the
Secretary of the Interior, who will oversee the Midway Islands as the Midway Atoll National Wildlife
Refuge (Executive Order 13022).
November 11, 1996: President Clinton signed the Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act of
1996, establishing five new national parks, authorizing 10 national heritage areas, and expanding and
protecting dozens of national parks, trails, and wild and scenic rivers (H.R. 4236).
January 25, 1997: President Clinton issued a memorandum directing the Agriculture Secretary, Health
and Human Services Secretary, and EPA Administrator to work with consumers, producers, industry, States,
universities, and the public to identify ways to improve food safety.
April 18, 1997: The United States ratified the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic
Treaty of 1991which sets forth a comprehensive, legally binding system of environmental protection that
applies to all activities in Antarctica. It reaffirms the status of Antarctica as an area reserved for
peaceful purposes, including scientific research.
April 21, 1997: Vice President Gore announced that President Clinton had signed an executive order
setting new standards to reduce environmental health risks and safety risks to children (Executive Order
May 2, 1997: President Clinton announced a Balanced Budget Agreement that included $700 million for
priority Federal land acquisitions, including $250 million to protect the ancient redwoods of the Headwaters
Forest in California and $65 million to acquire the New World Mine outside of Yellowstone.
May 13, 1997: Vice President announced the creation of the Brownfields National Partnership, a
two-year effort including more than 100 commitments from more than 25 organizations to further spur cleanup
and redevelopment at some 5,000 brownfields sites around the nation.
July 16, 1997: The President approved stronger, more protective air quality standards to further
control pollution from ozone and particulate matter (smog and soot) and issued a memo to the EPA regarding
implementation of those standards.
July 26, 1997: President Clinton issued an executive order to protect natural, recreational, and
ecological resources in the Lake Tahoe Region (Executive Order 13057).
August 15, 1997: President Clinton signed the International Dolphin Conservation Program Act,
commonly known as the Dolphin Safe Tuna bill (H.R. 408).
September 11, 1997: President Clinton signed an executive order launching the American Heritage
River initiative (Executive Order 13061).
October 9, 1997: President Clinton signed the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of
1997 (H.R. 1420).
October 18, 1997: Vice President Gore directed federal departments and agencies to develop an
action plan to clean up America's waterways.
October 20, 1997: The Vice President announced that the Clinton-Gore Administration and the state
of Maryland have joined together in a new initiative to help protect the Chesapeake Bay and its
October 29, 1997: The Vice President announced a U.S.-China initiative that will move the countries
toward greater cooperation in energy and environmental science, building on the Administration's efforts
to engage China in joint initiatives that promote sustainable development and help lay the groundwork for
reaching common ground in addressing climate change.
November 19, 1997: President Clinton signed the Asian Elephant Conservation Act (H.R. 1787).
December 12, 1997: The United States signed the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol must be ratified
before it can take effect.
December 12, 1997: President Clinton signed the Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act Amendments
of 1997 (H.R. 1658).
January 8, 1998: Vice President Gore announced new "Energy Star" partnerships with leading
manufacturers to promote energy-saving TVs and VCRs with the potential to save Americans hundreds of
millions of dollars in electricity bills and significantly curb greenhouse gas pollution.
February 2, 1998: President Clinton announced plans to expand or protect 100 natural and
historical sites, including the final links in the Appalachian Trail, critical winter range for
Yellowstone's elk and bison herds, and initial funding for the removal of two dams blocking salmon
migration on the Elwha River near Olympic National Park.
February 12, 1998: Vice President Gore announced that with leadership from the Clinton-Gore
Administration, major auto manufacturers voluntarily agreed to produce a cleaner car that emits 70
percent less pollution than today's models.
April 8, 1998: President Clinton issued an executive order creating the American Heritage
Initiative Advisory Committee, to review nominations for selection of American Heritage Rivers (Executive
May 4, 1998: President Clinton launched the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing, a
partnership with America's building industry to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of our homes
cutting consumers' energy bills by 30-50 percent, while reducing the greenhouse gases that cause
June 11, 1998: To strengthen protection of natural coral reefs, President Clinton signed an
executive order directing federal agencies to expand research, preservation and restoration activities
(Executive Order 13089).
June 12, 1998: To protect our oceans and coasts from the environmental risks of offshore oil and
gas drilling, the President issued a directive extending the moratorium on offshore leasing for an
additional ten years, and permanently barring new leasing in national marine sanctuaries.
July 25, 1998: President Clinton issued a directive with four new steps to decrease energy use in
Federal buildings and facilities, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving taxpayer dollars.
July 30, 1998: President Clinton and Vice President Gore designated 14 American Heritage Rivers.
Communities along these rivers will receive help over the next five years tapping federal resources to
carry out their plans for revitalizing their rivers and riverfronts.
August 5, 1998: President Clinton signed the African Elephant Conservation Reauthorization Act
August 11, 1998: President Clinton expanded the public's right to know with the announcement of a
new rule requiring water utilities to provide regular reports to their customers on whether their drinking
water meets federal health standards and if not, why not.
August 25, 1998: President Clinton issued an executive order creating the President's Council on
Food Safety, which is charged with developing a comprehensive and coordinated strategic plan for Federal
food safety activities (Executive Order 13100).
September 14, 1998: President Clinton issued an executive order expanding recycling by Federal
agencies (Executive Order 13101).
October 5, 1998: President Clinton signed the National Wildlife Refuge System Volunteer and
Community Partnership Enhancement Act of 1998 (H.R. 1856).
October 20, 1998: President Clinton signed the Gallatin Land Consolidation Act of 1998 (H.R. 3381).
The legislation, part of the Clinton-Gore Administration's goal of restoring and protecting the greater
Yellowstone ecosystem, directed the transfer of certain lands and other assets in Montana to the Big Sky
Lumber Company in exchange for a significantly larger amount of land to be included in the Gallatin and
Deer Lodge National Forests.
October 27, 1998: President Clinton signed the Border Smog Reduction Act, which prohibited entry
into the U.S. of certain foreign vehicles which do not comply with state laws governing emissions (H.R. 8).
October 30, 1998: President Clinton signed the Fish and Wildlife Revenue Enhancement Act (S. 2094).
October 30, 1998: President Clinton signed H.R. 2807, an omnibus measure enhancing fish and wildlife
protection, including reauthorization of the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act.
October 31, 1998: President Clinton signed the Utah Schools and Land Exchange Act of 1998 an
exchange of land, mineral rights, commercial properties, and natural treasures between the United States
and the State of Utah. This was the largest such land exchange in the history of the lower 48 States
November 13, 1998: President Clinton signed the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998, which
improved the management of various park programs and increased funds to parks through concession contracts
and the National Park Passport Program (S. 1693).
February 3, 1999: President Clinton issued an executive order to prevent the introduction of
invasive species into our environment, and to limit the economic, ecological, and human health impacts
those species might have (Executive Order 13112).
March 2, 1999: President Clinton announced completion of negotiations to protect the Headwaters
Forest in California the world's largest unprotected stand of old-growth redwoods.
March 9, 1999: Vice President Gore announced a comprehensive federal strategy to help clean up
rivers, lakes and coastal waters by reducing polluted runoff from large livestock operations.
April 9, 1999: President Clinton signed the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Wild and Scenic River Act,
which designated portions of the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers in Massachusetts as part of the
National Wild and Scenic Rivers System (H.R. 193).
April 22, 1999: Vice President Gore announced a "regional haze" rule to improve air quality in
national parks and wilderness areas so that visitors can enjoy unspoiled views of America's greatest
May 29, 1999: President Clinton issued an executive memorandum to improve the water quality of
beaches and rivers, including the Cape Cod, Cape Hatteras, and Pt. Reyes National Seashores.
June 3, 1999: President Clinton issued an executive order directing all federal departments and
agencies to improve the energy efficiency of government buildings.
August 12, 1999: The President issued an executive memorandum setting the goal of tripling the
nation's use of bioenergy and bioproducts by 2010. At the same time, the President signed an executive
order establishing the Interagency Council on Biobased Products and Bioenergy to develop a biomass research
program to be presented annually as part of the federal budget (Executive Order 13134).
August 14, 1999: The President announced new steps to restore America's rivers, lakes and coastal
waters. Under a proposed rule, the Environmental Protection Agency will work with states to better assess
the health of U.S. waterways and to develop detailed plans to make them safe for fishing and swimming.
August 21, 1999: President Clinton announced a landmark agreement to protect 9,300 acres adjoining
Yellowstone National Park a critical step to preserve the park's famed bison and geysers.
September 2, 1999: President Clinton signed a proclamation strengthening our ability to enforce
environmental, customs and immigration laws at sea by expanding a critical enforcement zone to include
waters within 24 nautical miles of the U.S. coast.
September 16, 1999: President Clinton transmitted to the Senate an amendment to the Montreal
Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer to strengthen measures to promote compliance with the
October 13, 1999: President Clinton directed the National Forest Service to develop regulations to
provide long-term protection for 40 million acres of "roadless" areas within national forests. The
proposed regulations could ban road building in these areas and could also prohibit logging or other
activities that harm their unique ecological value.
October 21, 1999: President Clinton signed into law Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and
Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area Act of 1999, establishing the Black Canyon in Colorado as a
national park (S. 323).
October 30, 1999: President Clinton announced an agreement to preserve New Mexico's spectacular
October 30, 1999: President Clinton announced the acquisition of 14,000 additional acres within the
Joshua Tree National Park land that otherwise might be developed.
October 30, 1999: President Clinton announced a new EPA rule strengthening the public's right to
know about highly toxic chemicals released to the environment. The rule establishes or strengthens
reporting requirements for 27 "persistent bioaccumulative toxics," including mercury, dioxin, and PCBs,
which build up in the environment rather than breaking down.
November 5, 1999: President Clinton announced the addition of 57,000 acres of prime Columbia River
Salmon habitat to the National Wildlife Refuge System, including large sections of the Hanford Reach, the
last section of free-flowing salmon habitat on the Columbia.
November 16, 1999: Vice President announced that President Clinton signed an executive order
requiring careful assessment and consideration of the environmental impacts of trade agreements (Executive
November 24, 1999: President Clinton signed the Arctic Tundra Habitat Emergency Conservation Act
December 12, 1999: President Clinton announced that the EPA was issuing the toughest standards ever
for reducing harmful air pollution from auto tailpipes. The new standards ensure that sportutility
vehicles, minivans, and lightduty trucks meet the same low levels of tailpipe emissions as other passenger
January 11, 2000: President Clinton signed proclamations creating three new national monuments
the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument and the Agua Fria National Monument in Arizona, and the
California Coastal National Monument and expanding another, the Pinnacles National Monument in
February 9, 2000: President Clinton transmitted to the Senate the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior
Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, with
Annexes. This Convention assists developing countries in evaluating risks and enforcing their regulatory
decisions regarding trade in hazardous chemicals and pesticides.
February 14, 2000: President Clinton announced $18.6 million in Forest Legacy grants for 29 projects
encompassing nearly 250,000 acres in 19 states and territories. These competitive grants are used to
protect private forestland that provides critical wildlife habitat and is threatened by development.
Protected lands can continue to be used for forestry and other compatible activities.
March 22, 2000: U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Indian Minister of External Affairs
Jaswant Singh signed a U.S.-India statement on cooperation on energy and environment issues on behalf of
the United States and India, outlining a common agenda on clean energy development and environmental
March 28, 2000: President Clinton announced new measures to restore "natural quiet" to the Grand
Canyon by better managing sight-seeing flights over the National Park. The new rules continue to allow
visitors to view the Canyon by air, but limit noise by significantly expanding "flight-free" zones over
the Park and by restricting future growth in commercial air tour operations.
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