PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC HEALTH
President Clinton is proposing a record $33.9 billion in FY 2000 to protect our natural resources, our communities, and the global environment. The proposed environment budget represents a 5 percent increase over FY 1999 and a 25 percent increase over FY 1993. It includes major new initiatives to preserve America's lands legacy, combat global warming, and build livable communities for the 21st century.
· Preserving America's Lands Legacy. To meet the conservation challenges of a new century, the President is proposing a $1 billion Lands Legacy Initiative -- the largest one-year investment ever proposed for the protection of America's land and coastal resources. This initiative, a 125 percent increase over FY 1999, would fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund for the first time. To sustain these efforts, the President will work with Congress to create a permanent funding stream beginning in FY 2001. Lands Legacy includes:
· Saving Natural Treasures. $442 million to protect natural and historic sites across the country, including critical lands in the Mojave Desert and Florida's Everglades, Civil War battlefields, and the Lewis and Clark Trail.
· Protecting Local Green Spaces. $588 million to state and local governments, including $150 million in land acquisition grants, $50 million for open space planning, $50 million to protect threatened farmland, $44 million for urban parks and forests, and $80 million for innovative endangered species protections.
· Building Livable Communities for the 21st Century. To help communities grow in ways that ensure a high quality of life and strong, sustainable economic growth, the President is proposing a comprehensive Livability Agenda providing new tools and resources for state and local governments. Major elements of the Agenda in the environment budget include:
· Better America Bonds. A new financing tool generating $9.5 billion in bond authority over five years for investments by state, local, and tribal governments to preserve green space, create or restore urban parks, protect water quality, and clean up brownfields. The budget proposes tax credits totaling almost $700 million over five years to support the Bonds.
· Easing Traffic Congestion. $1.8 billion for the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program, which supports state and local efforts to simultaneously ease congestion and reduce air pollution; and $566 million for Environmental Enhancements, which supports projects such as renovating historic rail stations and creating bicycle and pedestrian paths.
· Meeting the Challenge of Global Warming. The President is proposing more than $4 billion in FY 2000 to promote clean, efficient energy and for other efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Major components in the environment budget include:
· Clean Air Partnership Fund. A new $200 million fund to provide grants to state and local governments for projects that achieve early reductions in both greenhouse gases and harmful air pollutants such as soot and smog.
· Climate Change Technology Initiative. $3.6 billion in tax incentives over five years for renewable energy and for the purchase of energy-efficient homes, cars and appliances; and $1.4 billion in FY 2000 -- a 34 percent increase -- for the research, development and deployment of clean energy technologies and energy-efficient practices.
· Restoring Pacific Coastal Salmon. The President is proposing a new $100 million Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund to help state, local, and tribal governments rebuild dwindling salmon stocks. The funds, to be matched dollar-for-dollar by state or local contributions, can be used to purchase conservation easements, plant trees, stabilize stream banks, and undertake other projects to improve water quality and restore salmon habitat and spawning grounds.
· Cleaning Up Rivers, Lakes and Coastal Waters. The budget provides $2 billion in discretionary spending -- a 20 percent increase -- and $300 million in mandatory spending for the second year of President Clinton's Clean Water Action Plan, a five-year initiative to help restore the 40 percent of surveyed waterways still too polluted for fishing or swimming. This includes $630 million to fully fund the Environmental Protection Agency's portion of the initiative. It also includes:
· Restoring California's Bay-Delta. $75 million to continue ecosystem restoration activities in California's Bay-Delta watershed, and a $20 million increase to help improve water use efficiency, water quality, and watershed management.
· Incentives to Farmers. $300 million, a 72 percent increase, for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which helps farmers prevent polluted runoff.
· Reducing Childhood Asthma. The EPA budget includes a $17 million increase for research into the causes of asthma, and for educational efforts to prevent it, part of a new $68 million interagency initiative to reduce the incidence of childhood asthma through a comprehensive national strategy.
· Protecting Our Oceans and Coasts. To fund initiatives the President launched at the National Ocean Conference last year in Monterey, the budget includes $52 million for a state-of-the-art ocean research vessel and -- through the Lands Legacy Initiative -- $29 million for national marine sanctuaries, $90 million to help states develop "smart growth" strategies along America's coasts, $25 million to restore declining fisheries, and $10 million to research and protect coral reefs.
· Promoting Innovative Species Protections. The budget includes $181 million, a 40 percent increase, for endangered species programs. The increases would support habitat conservation planning and other collaborative efforts with landowners, states and local governments to restore ailing species and keep others from being declared threatened or endangered.
· Restoring Florida's Everglades. The budget includes $312 million, a 35 percent increase, to accelerate federal-state efforts to restore the Everglades. Priorities include improving freshwater flows to Everglades National Park, restoring the Kissimmee River, completing a master blueprint for rebuilding freshwater supplies for South Florida and -- through the Lands Legacy Initiative -- acquiring critical lands within and adjacent to the Park.