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|For Immediate Release||June 16, 1998|
VICE PRESIDENT GORE CALLS ON CONGRESS
TO FUND ENVIRONMENTAL PRIORITIES,
DROP ANTI-ENVIRONMENTAL RIDERS
Also Releases State-By-State Environmental Funding Figures UnderPresident's 1999 Budget
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Vice President Gore called on Congress today tofully fund the Administration's environmental priorities and to renouncethe use of legislative "riders" to roll back environmental protections.
Speaking at the White House, where he was joined by key Democraticlawmakers and the leaders of several environmental organizations, the VicePresident put Congress on notice that the Administration will not tolerateriders that "do unacceptable harm to our environment or threaten publichealth."
"We're here today for one simple reason, "the Vice President said, "totell the congressional majority that it's high time that they deliver thestrong environmental protections Americans want and deserve -- instead ofstanding in the way."
President Clinton's 1999 budget proposes increased funding for severalenvironmental priorities -- increases of nearly $1 billion over five yearsfor critical construction, maintenance, and repair at national parks andother public lands; nearly $600 million over five years for acquisition ofscenic and natural areas; $568 million to begin implementing theAdministration's $2.3 billion Clean Water Action Plan; $600 million tospeed cleanup of toxic Superfund sites; and a five-year, $6.3 billionpackage of tax and research incentives to combat global warming. The Houseand Senate budget resolutions do not fund most of these proposed increases.
The Vice President also denounced the practice of attachinganti-environmental riders to unrelated legislation, often at the lastminute, with no opportunity for debate. Last year, for instance, disasterrelief for flood victims was held hostage to a rider that would haveallowed road-building in national parks. The Administration stood firm, andthe rider ultimately was dropped.
"Today, we are putting Congress on notice: We will not toleratestealth tactics that do unacceptable harm to our environment or threatenpublic health," the Vice President said. "In the past, such actions haveled to vetoes. They've led to government shutdowns. Congress shouldremember these precedents before trying to rob the American people of ourprecious environmental protections in the dead of night."
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Vice President Calls on Congress to Fund Environmental Priorities, Drop Anti-Environmental Riders