The Clinton Presidency:|
Protecting Our Environment and Public Health
President Clinton and Vice President Gore came into office committed to
demonstrating that a strong economy and a clean environment go
hand-in-hand. Over the past eight years, the Clinton-Gore
Administration has proven it: we now have the strongest economy and the
cleanest environment in a generation. This Administration has invested
in a common sense and cost-effective approach of new technologies,
tougher enforcement of environmental laws, strengthening public health
standards, and protecting our irreplaceable national treasures.
President Clinton's environmental strategy has given our nation the
cleanest air and water in a generation and the strongest economy in our
nation's history -- proving that you can both protect the environment
and grow the economy.
Producing Cleaner, Healthier Communities
|THEN:|| Communities faced toxic waste dumps, dirty air and poor water
In 1992, America's communities faced serious environmental
problems. Lethargic federal clean-up efforts left 88 percent of
the worst 1,200 toxic waste sites and their communities polluted
after 12 years of federal efforts. Nearly 40,000 urban industrial
sites sat abandoned with no federal strategy to redevelop them.
Sixty-two million people lived in areas with drinking water below
federal standards; nearly 157 million people -- 62 percent of the
country -- breathed air that failed to meet federal standards.
|NOW:|| More families live in cleaner, healthier communities|
President Clinton and Vice President Gore brought a renewed
commitment to protecting and preserving the environment and today,
more families live in cleaner, healthier communities.
- They strengthened the Safe Drinking Water Act, requiring
America's 55,000 water utilities to provide regular reports
to their customers on the quality of their drinking water.
- The Clinton-Gore Administration adopted the toughest
standards ever on soot and smog, which could prevent up to
15,000 premature deaths each year. They have announced
significant reductions in tailpipe emissions from cars, light
trucks and SUVs as well as reducing the level of sulfur in
gasoline by 90 percent. Over the coming decade, these
measures will cut smog-causing pollution from new vehicles by
77 to 95 percent, preventing 4,300 premature deaths, 260,000
asthma attacks among children, and 173,000 cases of childhood
respiratory illness each year.
- The Administration also launched a long-term effort to
restore pristine skies and unspoiled views at the Grand
Canyon, Yosemite, Acadia and the Great Smoky Mountains
National Parks and other natural treasures that draw 290
million visitors a year. And they announced a strategy to
reduce harmful emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides and
particulate matter from heavy-duty trucks and diesel fuels by
over 90 percent,
- The Clinton Administration accelerated the cleanup of the
nation's worst toxic waste sites, freeing scores of
communities from environmental threats and economic blight,
completing clean-up of more than three times as many
Superfund sites in the past eight years as were cleaned in
the past eight. The President also launched initiatives to
accelerate the cleanup of brownfields and remove barriers to
- The Administration also expanded Americans' Right to Know
about environmental hazards in their communities by doubling
the number of chemicals that companies must report.
Critical Leadership for Clean Air
"Cleaning up big, dirty diesel trucks is critical to meet our nation's
air quality goals and to protect the public health... We commend EPA
Administrator Browner and President Clinton for proposing this
"A lot can be done by nurses like myself to educate children and parents
on how to live with asthma. It also takes strong leadership in
government to reduce the pollution that has often been linked to asthma.
[President Clinton is] a man who has used his high office to make
cleaning the air and protecting children's health a priority."
- John M. Coruthers, Jr., President, American Lung Association on the
Administration proposal to clean up all heavy-duty trucks and buses and
dramatically reduce sulfur in diesel fuel starting in the 2007 model
- Gloria Hackman, School Nurse, Maury Elementary School, Alexandria,
Virginia, Ms. Hackman administers the Open Airways For Schools class --
a program to teach asthmatic children how to cope with asthma -- and
spoke at an event with the President to announce the final standards of
the Tier II/Low Sulfur Gasoline Rule, which will improve air quality by
reducing pollution from vehicles by up to 95 percent by 2009.
Brownfields and Superfund Initiatives Revitalize America's Communities
"This is what urban revitalization is all about. This very site, which
used to be the scourge of Fairfield County, is now the region's most
exciting new entertainment venue -- I'd be genuinely surprised if
there's a more dramatic example of success with brownfields reclamation
than right here at our ball park."
"This allows us to participate in a program that is national in scope
and touches just about every state? There are going to be many, many
more fields where kids can play on that wouldn't be there except for EPA
working with the United States Soccer Foundation."
- Mickey Herbert, majority owner, the Bridgeport Bluefish Baseball
team, Bridgeport, Connecticut, on the state of the art Harbor Yard
sports complex -- a former Brownfield.
- Herb Giobbi, Executive Director, U.S. Soccer Foundation on the
EPA/USSF partnership to help communities build soccer fields on former
Clinton-Gore Administration Empowers Communities by Expanding the
"I have seen firsthand how important it is for communities to know what
chemicals are being dumped into the environment. I applaud the Clinton
Administration for working to make sure that all communities can know --
after all, this affects our health, our children's health and our
"The President has been such an extraordinary leader in fighting for the
environment and protecting public health. Before "right to know,"
people didn't know what chemicals were being released into the
environment. Now, times are changing, people and companies are more
aware and our communities are better for it."
- Lorraine Ross, Clean Water Community Activist, San Francisco,
California. Lorraine Ross, fearing for the health of her family,
started a campaign 18 years ago that led to the discovery that toxic
chemicals had leaked from underground tanks at a local corporation into
a nearby drinking-water well.
- Doris McGuigan, Environmental Activist, Baltimore, Maryland.
Preserving America's Treasures for Future Generations
|THEN:|| America's natural areas at risk|
In 1992, many of America's natural treasures were at risk of
development. A massive gold mine proposed not far from Yellowstone
National Park threatened the world's first national park with toxic
runoff and other environmental harm. Many were calling for more
oil drilling in sensitive coastal areas and in areas like the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. More than half of the historic
wetlands in the continental United States had been lost.
|NOW:|| Preserved and protected millions of acres of parks, monuments
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have rededicated
America to wise stewardship of our natural resources with the goal
of ensuring that our generation will leave a better land for
generations to come.
- From the Red Rock Canyons of Utah to the Florida Everglades,
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have preserved
millions of acres in national parks, national monuments and
- The Clinton-Gore Administration has also launched major
reforms to reverse the loss of precious wetlands, setting a
goal of a net increase of 100,000 acres of wetlands a year by
- The President defended Yellowstone National Park from
potential toxic runoff from a proposed gold mine near the
Park's boundary, and acquired land near the Park to expanded
critical habitat for bison.
- The Administration has also strongly opposed efforts to drill
for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the
President vetoed legislation that would have opened the
Refuge to new exploration.
- President Clinton worked with Congress to provide dedicated
and protected funding for conservation and preservation
programs, including his Lands Legacy initiative. The
agreement will nearly double our investment in these
programs, making it the largest annual investment in
protecting our green and open spaces since President
Roosevelt set our nation on the path of conservation nearly a
- The Administration is now working to provide long-term
protection for more than 40 million acres of roadless areas
within national forests.
- In addition, President Clinton and Vice President Gore
protected America's oceans and coasts by extending the
moratorium on new oil leasing off most of the U.S. coast
through 2012, and permanently barred new leasing in national
marine sanctuaries. The U.S. was also the first nuclear
power to advocate a global ban on ocean dumping of low-level
Leadership to Preserve National Treasures for Future Generations
"If my grandfather were here today, he would be overjoyed with what the
Forest Service, the Department of Agriculture, and the President are
about to do. Perhaps the greatest challenge in conservation in our
generation is to develop the political will to set aside enough of
nature to sustain the diversity of plants and animals we ultimately
"To save these last, vast pieces of wild country from haphazard
development means that my sons' children will have room as we do, to get
lost or find their bearings, to meet in themselves some long forgotten
ancestor's resourcefulness and grit, to take heart?Mr. President thank
you for protecting this magnificent place for our future generations."
- Peter Pinchot, Conservationist. Peter Pinchot is the grandson of
Gifford Pinchot, the first Chief of the Forest Service under President
Teddy Roosevelt and one of American history's most constructive land
- Ann Walka, Conservationist, Flagstaff, Arizona, on the proclamation
of the Grand Canyon -- Parashant National Monument.
Managing and Using the Oceans Wisely
"If we are to protect, manage and use the oceans wisely, we must
understand how they work. We are pleased to see that research is an
important component of the Administration's agenda and applaud their
- Robert B. Gagosian, Director, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution,
Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
Protecting the Environment and Growing the Economy
|THEN:|| Environmental opponents force choices between clean
environment and strong economy.|
In 1992, special interests and polluters defeated progress by
saying that America could not protect the environment and grow the
economy. The false choice between the economy and the environment
resulted in weak standards and lax enforcement that failed to hold
polluters responsible. Meanwhile, the country had just begun to
take steps to reward conservation and tap the economic potential of
environmental technology and business. Little was being done in
this country to address climate change. Opponents were seriously
challenging the science, and businesses opposed any climate action.
Many questioned whether economies could grow and reduce greenhouse
|NOW:|| Strongest economy in a generation and a cleaner environment.|
President Clinton and Vice President Gore were determined to
prove that a strong economy and a clean environment go
hand-in-hand. They worked to grow green businesses by encouraging
and rewarding new environmental technologies and significantly
increased efforts to hold polluters accountable. Sound,
common-sense approaches to climate change are putting the United
States and other nations on the path to a clean energy future,
ensuring a healthier environment while creating new opportunities
for strong, sustainable growth. These efforts are expanding markets
for renewable technologies, reducing air pollution, and serving as
a powerful example to American businesses and consumers who can
reap substantial benefits from clean energy.
- The Clinton Administration launched the Climate Change
Technology Initiative to spur the development of clean energy
technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that lead to
global warming while saving money and creating jobs.
- The Administration also launched the National Environmental
Technology Strategy to strengthen partnerships with the
environmental business community and expand the federal
government's role in spurring innovation and growth in the
industry. The Administration has also worked to promote the
export of U.S. technology and expertise overseas. Since
1993, exports based on environmental technology and industry
have more than doubled.
- The Administration has secured more than $13 billion over the
past eight years for scientific research to ensure that our
strategy for climate change is founded on the best possible
- The Administration has launched more than 50 major
initiatives to improve energy efficiency and develop clean,
renewable energy sources -- steps that will reduce greenhouse
gas emissions and other emissions while saving money and
creating jobs. Over the past three years, the President has
secured more than $3 billion -- a 50% increase in annual
funding -- to research and develop clean energy technologies.
- The Administration has forged thousands of new partnerships
with major industries to promote voluntary, cost-effective
efforts that can achieve significant reductions in greenhouse
gas emissions. These include the Partnership for a New
Generation of Vehicles (PNGV), the Partnership for Advancing
Technology in Housing (PATH), Energy Star, Climate Wise, and
Industries of the Future.
- President Clinton has made the Federal government a cleaner,
more efficient energy consumer -- contributing to a 21
percent energy reduction since 1985 and a 24 percent
reduction in carbon emissions relative to 1990 levels. In
1999 alone, the Federal government reduced its annual energy
bill by $800 million. By 2010, the resulting energy savings
will reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by an amount
equal to taking 1.7 million cars off the road - and save
taxpayers over $750 million a year.
- New energy-efficiency standards, implemented by this
Administration, for heating and cooling equipment, water
heaters, lighting, refrigerators, clothes washers and dryers,
and cooking equipment will cut the average appliance's energy
use by 30 percent. By 2010, these energy conservation
measures will have saved consumers almost $50 billion and
avoided cumulative greenhouse gas emissions of more than 225
million metric tons.
- In 1997, with critical leadership from Vice President Gore,
representatives of more than 160 nations agreed on the basic
architecture of an international strategy to combat global
warming. This historic agreement -- the Kyoto Protocol --
sets strong, realistic targets for reducing greenhouse gas
emissions from industrialized countries, establishes
flexible, market-based mechanisms to achieve them as
cost-effectively as possible, with binding legal consequences
if countries fail to meet them. The Kyoto Protocol remains a
work in progress. Through ongoing negotiations, the
Administration has worked with other nations to turn the
treaty's broad concepts into working realities so this
important treaty can be ratified. The Administration has
promoted broader engagement in 55 developing countries in
this global effort, with impressive results in key countries
such as China, India, Argentina, Bolivia and Kazakhstan.
- President Clinton and Vice President Gore have significantly
increased enforcement of environmental laws. Last year, EPA
assessed a total of $228.3 million in civil and criminal
penalties, the most ever assessed and $87 million more than
in 1992. In addition, the EPA referred 241 criminal cases to
the Justice Department, 322 defendants were charged and 2,500
total months of sentences were handed down, more than
doubling enforcement activity in each category over 1992
Climate Change Technology Task Force is Moving America Toward Reducing
Green House Gases While Growing the Economy
"The Clinton Administration deserves credit for seeing energy efficiency
for what it is - an energy source that is essential for the economic
health of our nation. The Climate Change Technology Initiative in
particular is spurring new clean energy technologies that are paying off
like a gusher for the American people. The important choices on energy
and climate must be made with a clear eye on the contribution to the
environment, the economy, national security, and international
competitiveness delivered in the past and promised for the future by
- David M. Nemtzow, President, Alliance to Save Energy
Protecting the Environment and Improving Public Health
- More Americans Have Safe Drinking Water: The number of Americans
with safe drinking water has increased by 23.2 million since 1993.
In 1993, 79 percent of Americans lived in areas with tap water that
meets all federal standards. Today, more than 90 percent live in
areas served by systems that meet all federal standards.
- More Americans Breathe Clean Air: The number of Americans living in
communities meeting clean air standards has increased by 44 million
since 1992. New strong standards on smog and soot could prevent up
to 15,000 premature deaths a year, and improve the lives of
millions of Americans who suffer from respiratory illnesses
- More Than Three Times as Many Toxic Waste Sites Cleaned: Since
1993, the Administration has completed more than 620 cleanups of
Superfund sites -- more than three times as many as were completed
in the previous 12 years. Cleanup is completed or underway at 92
percent of all Superfund sites.
- Redeveloping Brownfields Sites: The Clinton-Gore Administration has
leveraged more than $2.3 billion in private sector investment, and
generated 6,400 jobs through the brownfields redevelopment
- Protected More Land than Any Administration in History: The
Clinton-Gore Administration has protected more land as national
monuments in the lower 48 states -- more than 4.6 million acres --
than any Administration. President Clinton has created 11 national
monuments -- including Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah; Grand
Canyon-Parashant in Arizona; Agua Fria in Arizona; Giant Sequoia in
California; and the California Coastal monument -- and has expanded
- Doubled the Number of Chemicals Reported: President Clinton has
doubled the number of chemicals subject to reporting in the
nation's Toxic Release Inventory. The number of facilities subject
to reporting has increased by 10 percent. Since 1992, emissions of
the toxic chemicals from manufacturers have decreased by more than
- New Jobs in the Environmental Industry: Since 1993, 130,000 new
jobs have been created in environmental industries such as
recycling, renewable energy, waste management and environmental
- More Than Doubled Exports Based on Environmental Technology: Since
1993, exports based on environmental technology and industry have
more than doubled, increasing from $9.4 million in 1993 to $20
million in 1999.
- Record Penalties for Polluters: Record civil and criminal penalties
were assessed against polluters by the EPA last year. In FY 1992,
the EPA referred 107 criminal cases to the Department of Justice,
150 defendants were charged and a total of 1,135 months of criminal
sentences were handed down. In FY 1999, the EPA referred 241
criminal cases to the Justice Department, 322 defendants were
charged and 2,500 total months of sentences were handed down. In
addition, $228.3 million worth of civil penalties were assessed in
FY 1999, the highest amount ever. In FY 1992, combined civil and
criminal penalties totaled just $141.4 million.