A Vision for the 21st Century - Environment Accomplishments
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE
Protecting our Environment and Public Health
From our inner cities to our pristine wild lands,
we have worked hard to ensure that every American has a clean and healthy
environment. We've rid hundreds of neighborhoods of toxic waste dumps, (and)
taken the most dramatic steps in a generation to clean the air we breathe....We
have made record investments in science and technology to protect future
generations from the threat of global warming. We've worked to protect and
restore our most glorious natural resources, from the Florida Everglades to
California's redwoods...to Yellowstone. And we have, I hope, finally put to
rest the false choice between the economy and the environment, for we have the
strongest economy perhaps in our history, with a cleaner
-- President Clinton
January 11, 2000
Protecting Americas Natural
- Preserving our Lands Legacy. Seeking permanent funding of $1.4
billion a year through the Lands Legacy initiative to expand federal efforts to
save America's natural treasures and provide significant new resources to
states and communities to protect local green spaces and protect ocean and
coastal resources. Won $652 million for Lands Legacy in the FY 2000 budget, a
42 percent increase.
- Protecting Americas Forests. Launched effort to protect
over 40 million acres of "roadless areas," which include some of America's last
wild places. Dramatically improved management of our national forests with an
ambitious new science-based agenda that places greater emphasis on recreation,
wildlife and water quality, while reforming logging practices to ensure steady,
sustainable supplies of timber and jobs. Balanced the preservation of
old-growth stands with the economic needs of timber-dependent communities
through the Pacific Northwest Forest Plan.
- Creating New National Monuments.
- Protecting Utahs Red Rock Canyon. Created the Grand
Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, protecting 1.7 million acres of
spectacular red rock canyonlands, artifacts from three ancient cultures, and
the most remote site in the lower 48 states.
- Protecting the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Designated
the new Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in Arizona to protect just
over 1 million acres of deep canyons, mountains, and buttes on the north rim of
the Grand Canyon.
- Saving Prehistoric Treasures. Created the Agua Fria
National Monument 40 miles north of Phoenix, which features some of the most
extensive prehistoric ruins in the Southwest, including spectacular
petroglyphs, terraced agricultural areas, and rock pueblos.
- Preserving Coastal Riches. Created the California Coastal
National Monument encompassing thousands of federally owned islands, rocks, and
reefs off the California Coast providing critical feeding and nesting grounds
- Expanding a 92-Year-Old National Treasure. Expanded
Californias Pinnacles National Monument, created by President Roosevelt
in 1908, to preserve the monuments unique geologic resources.
- Safegaurding Ancient Sequoias. Expanded Californias
Pinnacles National Monument, created by President Roosevelt in 1908, to
preserve the monuments unique geologic resources.
- Defending the Worlds First National Park. Reached an
historic agreement to halt the massive New World mine three miles outside
Yellowstone National Park, protecting the area from toxic runoff and other
threats. Protected 9,300 acres in the Royal Teton Ranch adjoining Yellowstone
National Park, a critical step to preserve the famed bison and geysers of
Americas first national park.
- Restoring the Florida Everglades. Secured nearly $1.2 billion
for Everglades restoration over the past five years. Proposed a $7.8 billion
plan to nearly double the amount of fresh water available in South Florida,
ensuring clean, plentiful flows for the Everglades, and adequate supplies for
the region's cities and farms. Worked in close partnership with interested
parties to acquire and protect critical lands, accelerate scientific research
and strengthen water quality programs targeted at restoring the Everglades.
Added nearly 70,000 acres to Everglades National Park.
- Saving Californias Ancient Redwoods. Forged an agreement
and secured $250 million in federal funds to preserve the Headwaters ancient
redwood forest in Northern California, saving trees up to 2,000 years old and
protecting critical habitat for threatened and endangered species.
- Restoring the California Bay-Delta Ecosystem. Secured $190
million to help restore the California Bay-Delta ecosystem through CALFED -- a
joint Federal-state initiative to develop a long-term strategy to ensure
adequate water supplies to meet the states urban, agricultural, and
environmental needs -- plus $30 million for Bay-Delta water management
activities supporting CALFED's long-term objectives.
- Improving Our National Parks. Issued new standards to clear
the haze and restore pristine skies to our national parks. Signed Omnibus Parks
legislation that creates or improves over 100 national parks, trails, rivers,
and historical sites.
- Created Death Valley National Park, the largest park in the lower
48 states, and Mojave Desert National Preserve in the California Desert.
Blocked attempts in Congress to close some national parks and expand road
building in others.
- Issued new rules to restore natural quiet to the Grand Canyon by
creating new and modified air tour routes over and around the Grand Canyon and
require aircraft to increase their maximum flight elevation (altitude) from
14,499 feet to 17,999 feet. These rules will allow continued access to all,
while also helping to restore the natural quiet of this timeless treasure.
- Protecting Natural and Historic Sites. Protected scores of
natural and historic sites around the country by securing over $2.5 billion
over the past seven years through the Land and Water Conservation Fund for
acquisition of threatened lands. Projects include completing the Appalachian
Trail, protecting Civil War battlefields, and preserving New Mexico's majestic
- Safeguarding the Arctic Refuge. Turned back attempts by
Congress to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling.
- Forging Conservation Partnerships with Farmers. Provided
farmers with new conservation tools by proposing and signing a Farm Bill that
authorized $2.2 billion in additional funding for conservation programs such as
the Conservation Reserve and Wetlands Reserve. Created new federal-state
partnerships that targeted over $1 billion -- in Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota,
New York, Oregon, and Washington for farmers and ranchers to voluntarily
remove lands from production to improve water quality and wildlife habitat.
Ensuring Public Health
- Cleaning Up Auto Emissions. Adopted a uniform tailpipe
standard to passenger cars, SUVs and other light-duty trucks, producing cars
that are 77 percent cleaner -- and light-duty trucks up to 95 percent cleaner
-- than those on the road today. Set new standard to reduce average sulfur
levels in gasoline by up to 90 percent. Once fully implemented in 2030, these
measures will prevent 43,000 premature deaths and 173,000 cases of childhood
respiratory illness each year, and reduce emissions by the equivalent to
removing 164 million cars from the road.
- Strengthening Clean Air Protections. Approved strong new clean
air standards for soot and smog that could prevent up to 15,000 premature
deaths a year and improve the lives of millions of Americans who suffer from
respiratory illnesses. Defending the standards against legal assaults by
- Accelerating Toxic Waste Cleanups. Completed cleanup at 515
Superfund sites, more than three times as many as the previous two
administrations, with cleanup of more than 90 percent of all sites either
completed or in progress. Secured $1.4 billion in FY 2000 to continue progress
toward cleaning up 900 Superfund sites by 2002.
- Providing 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 America's 55,000 water utility companies to
provide regular reports to their customers on the quality of their drinking
- Established EPAs Drinking Water State Revolving Fund
(DWSRF) that provides grants to States to finance priority drinking water
projects that meet Clean Water Act mandates. To date, the DWSRFs have provided
$1.9 billion in loans to communities.
- Awarded nearly $200 million in Department of Agriculture (USDA)
loans and grants for over 100 safe drinking water projects in rural areas of 40
states. USDA grants and loans target rural communities plagued by some of the
nations worst water quality and dependability problems.
- Expanded Safe Drinking Water Act protections to protect 40
million additional Americans in small communities from potentially dangerous
microbes, including Cryptosporidium, in their drinking water.
- Ensuring Clean Water. Launched the Clean Water Action Plan to
help clean up the 40 percent of America's surveyed waterways still too polluted
for fishing and swimming. Secured $3.9 billion since 1998, a 16 percent
increase, to help states, communities and landowners in reducing polluted
runoff, enhancing natural resource stewardship, improving citizens' right to
know, and protecting public health.
- Strengthening Communities' Right to Know. Strengthened the
public's right to know about chemicals released into their air and water by
partnering with the chemical industry and the environmental community in an
effort to provide complete data on the potential health risks of the 2,800 most
widely used chemicals. Nearly doubled the number of chemicals that industry
must report to communities, while expanding the number of facilities that must
report by 30 percent.
- Expanded the community right to know about releases of 27
persistent bio-accumulative toxins (including mercury, dioxin, and PCBs). These
highly toxic chemicals are especially risky because they do not break down
easily and are known to accumulate in the human body.
- Making Children's Health a Priority. Signed an Executive Order
to reduce environmental health and safety risks to children. Requires federal
agencies to coordinate their research priorities on children's health and to
ensure that their standards take into account special risks to children.
- Improving Food Safety Standards. Streamlined the regulation of
pesticides and put important new public-health protections in place, especially
for children, by signing the Food Quality Safety Act.
- Restoring a National Symbol. Initiated action to remove the
American Bald Eagle from the endangered species list. There are now nearly
6,000 pairs of bald eagles in the lower 48 states, compared to just 3,300 pairs
- Saving Pacific Salmon. Secured $83 million in FY 2000 for two
major new efforts to restore salmon in the Pacific Northwest: $58 million for
the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, which provides resources for states
and tribes to protect and rebuild salmon stocks; and $25 million to implement
the historic Pacific Salmon Treaty with Canada, which established two regional
funds to improve fisheries management and enhance bilateral scientific
cooperation between the two countries and provides funding to buy back fishing
permits in Washington.
- Expanding Wildlife Refuges. Added 57,000 acres, including
lands along the last free-flowing section of the Columbia River, to the Saddle
Mountain National Wildlife Refuge to protect salmon habitat in Washington.
- Forging Partnerships to Protect Habitat. Completed 255 major
Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs), compared to 14 before the Administration
took office, to protect more than 20 million acres of private land and over 170
threatened and endangered species. These voluntary agreements protect habitat
while providing landowners the certainty they need to effectively manage their
- Strengthening Protections for Wildlife. Signed legislation
that strengthens protections for wildlife by mandating that the most important
use of our nation's wildlife refuges is giving refuge to migratory birds and
other animals reliant on this rich system of natural habitat.
Protecting our Oceans and
- Blocking Offshore Oil Drilling. Extended the moratorium on new
oil leasing off most of the U.S. coast through 2012, and permanently barred new
leasing in national marine sanctuaries.
- Creating Comprehensive Oceans Policy. Directed the development
of key recommendations for strengthening federal oceans policy for the 21st
century and appointed a high-level task force to oversee the implementation of
those recommendations. Convened a National Ocean Conference in June 1998 that
brought together government experts, business executives, scientists,
environmentalists, elected officials and the public to examine opportunities
and challenges in restoring and protecting our ocean resources.
- Strengthening Our National Marine Sanctuaries. Secured a
funding increase of over 100% to better support national marine sanctuaries --
homes to coral reefs, kelp forests, humpback whales, and loggerhead turtles.
Supporting the five-year Sustainable Seas Expeditions to explore, study and
document ways to better protect underwater resources.
- Preserving Coral Reefs. Issued an Executive Order to expand
protection of coral reefs and their ecosystems to address issues of coral reef
management, expansion of marine protected areas and increased protections for
coral reef species.
- Protecting Marine Mammals. Led negotiations resulting in a
multilateral agreement to protect dolphins in the eastern tropical Pacific
Ocean. Issued new standards to protect the endangered northern right whale from
injuries from ships by instituting a first-ever ship reporting requirement in
two areas of right whale critical habitat. Fought for creation of the Southern
Ocean Whale Sanctuary, an area of more than 12 million square miles off the
coast of Antarctica.
- Banning Ocean Dumping of Toxic Waste. Led the world in calling
for a global ban on ocean dumping of low-level radioactive waste. The U.S. was
the first nuclear power to advocate the ban.
- Encouraging Smart Growth. Launched a nationwide Livable
Communities initiative -- spearheaded by Vice President Gore -- to help
communities across America grow in ways that ensure a high quality of life and
strong, sustainable economic growth. The initiative provides communities with
new tools and resources to preserve green space, ease traffic congestion, and
pursue regional "smart growth" strategies.
- Introduced Better America Bonds to generate $10.75
billion in bond authority over five years to preserve open space, improve water
quality and clean up abandoned and contaminated properties known as
brownfields. Local communities can work together in partnerships with land
trust groups, environmentalists, business leaders and others to develop
innovative solutions to their communitys development challenges.
- Won $8.2 billion in FY 2000, a 10 percent increase, for public
transit and other programs that reduce air pollution while easing traffic
- Revitalizing Communities. Accelerated the cleanup of
brownfields, clearing the way for local redevelopment while protecting green
areas outside our cities. Leveraged over $1.6 billion in private sector
investment for brownfields redevelopment. Secured a tax incentive that allows
businesses to fully deduct certain brownfields cleanup costs in targeted areas
- American Heritage Rivers. Designated fourteen American
Heritage Rivers to recognize and reward outstanding community-based efforts to
restore and protect the environmental, economic, cultural and historic values
of our rivers. Appointed a river navigator for each designated
river to help communities identify federal programs and resources to help
implement their restoration plans.
- Environmental Justice and Redevelopment. Issued an Executive
Order on Environmental Justice to ensure that low-income citizens and
minorities do not suffer a disproportionate burden of industrial pollution.
Launched pilot projects in low-income communities across the country to
redevelop contaminated sites into useable space, create jobs and enhance
Taking Action on Climate
- Forging International Agreement. Provided leadership critical
to successful negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol, which sets strong, realistic
targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and establishes flexible,
market-based mechanisms to achieve them as cost-effectively as possible.
- Investing in Clean Energy Research. Won more than $1 billion
in FY 1999 and in FY 2000 for the Climate Change Technology Initiative, a
program of clean energy research and development that will save energy and
consumers money. Extended the tax credits for wind and biomass energy
production through 2001, reducing emissions and reliance on imported oil.
- Growing Clean Energy Technologies. Issued an Executive Order
to coordinate federal efforts to spur the development and use of bio-based
technologies, which can convert crops, trees and other biomass into
a vast array of fuels and materials. Set a goal of tripling our use of
bioenergy and bioproducts by 2010 to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by
up to 100 million tons a year -- the equivalent of taking 70 million cars off
- Improving Scientific Understanding. Increased funding for the
United States Global Change Research Program to more than $1.7 billion in FY
2000 to provide a sound scientific understanding of both the human and natural
forces that influence the Earth's climate system. This record research budget
continues strong support for the "Carbon Cycle Initiative" begun last year to
improve our understanding of the role of farms, forests, and other natural or
managed lands in capturing carbon.
- Energy Efficiency Standards for Appliances. Issued new energy
efficiency standards for refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, freezers and
room air conditioners that will save consumers money and reduce emissions of
greenhouse gases and dependence on foreign oil. The new standards will cut the
average appliances energy usage by 30 percent and save more than seven
quadrillion BTUs of energy over the next 30 years, more than seven times the
annual energy consumption of the entire state of Arkansas.
- Promoting federal Energy Efficiency. Issued an Executive Order
directing federal agencies to reduce energy use in buildings 35 percent by
2010, reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of taking 1.7
million cars off the road and saving taxpayers over $750 million a year. Forged
new partnerships with industry to develop and promote energy-saving cars, homes
and consumer products with the potential to save Americans hundreds of millions
of dollars in energy bills and significantly curb greenhouse gas pollution.
Protecting the Global
- Phasing Out Persistent Pollutants. Leading global negotiations
to phase out 12 of the most dangerous, persistent organic pollutants such as
PCBs and DDT that threaten health and safety around the world.
- Healing the Ozone Layer. Successfully phased out CFCs
(chloroflourocarbons) by 1996 and other major ozone-depleting substances by
1994. Approved the introduction of more than 300 alternatives to
ozone-depleting substances. Invested more than $300 million a year in research
on atmospheric chemistry and stratospheric ozone depletion. Strengthened
international efforts to protect the ozone layer through leading successful
negotiations to reduce Chinese production of halons and CFCs faster than
required by the Montreal Protocol and securing an accelerated international
schedule for the phase-out of methyl bromide, a leading ozone depleter.
- Promoting Environmentally Responsible Trade. Ensuring that
U.S. efforts to expand trade reflect a strong commitment to promoting
environmental protection worldwide. Signed an Executive Order requiring careful
assessment and written review of the potential environmental impacts of major
trade agreements so environmental considerations can guide the development of
U.S. positions in trade negotiations. Issued a declaration of principles on
trade and environment instructing negotiators at the World Trade Organization
negotiations to ensure that trade rules continue to be supportive of
environmental protections at home and abroad.
- Expanding Recycling. Issued an Executive Order requiring
federal agencies to buy and use only recycled printing paper and increase
efforts to buy environmentally preferable products. The order harnesses the
federal government's $200 billion purchasing power to help create and sustain
markets for recycled materials. Americans recycle 22 million tons more material
than in 1992 -- thanks to that effort, the United States will discard less
waste in 2000 than in 1992.
- Greening of the White House. Employed energy-saving measures
and other environmentally-friendly steps at the White House complex, reducing
annual greenhouse gas emissions by 845 tons per year, significantly reducing
use of water and fertilizer, and saving taxpayers nearly $1.4 million since
Defending Our Environment Against
- Guarding Landmark Protections. Blocked attempts by Congress to
roll back landmark environmental laws like the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air
Act, and the Endangered Species Act. Thwarted congressional actions to
reform the regulatory system by requiring taxpayers to pay
polluters not to pollute and weakening our nations food safety laws.
- Blocking Special Interest Loopholes and Giveaways. Defeated
congressional efforts to attach dozens of anti-environmental riders to budget
bills. These riders would have rolled back hard-won environmental safeguards
and given special deals to special interests by: allowing overcutting of our
national forests and jeopardizing the Presidents plan to protect more
than 40 million acres of roadless areas; allowing mining companies to dump more
toxic waste on public lands and delaying critical mining reforms; letting major
oil companies continue paying below-market royalties on oil developed on
federal lands; crippling critical protections for wetlands and wildlife; and
attempting to block common-sense actions to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
Accomplishments by Issue
Crime and Drugs
Families and Communities
Growth of Small Business
Moving Families from Welfare to Work
Technology Access and Innovation
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