Links About CEQ Year 2000 Priorities CEQ News Task Forces NEPAnet
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 environment.”
-- President Clinton
January 11, 2000
Protecting America’s Natural Treasures
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 America’s 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 Utah’s 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 for seabirds.
Expanding a 92-Year-Old National Treasure. Expanded California’s Pinnacles National Monument, created by President Roosevelt in 1908, to preserve the monument’s unique geologic resources.
Defending the World’s 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 America’s 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 California’s 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 state’s 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.
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 Baca Ranch.
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 polluters.
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 water.
Established EPA’s 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 nation’s worst water quality and dependability problems.
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 in 1992.
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 lands.
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 Coasts
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.
Building Sustainable Communities
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 community’s 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 congestion.
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 through 2001.
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 community development.
Taking Action on Climate Change
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 the road.
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 appliance’s 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 Environment
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. Greening the Government
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 1993.
Defending Our Environment Against Stealth Attacks
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 nation’s 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 President’s 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.
President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore
Record of Progress | The Briefing Room
Gateway to Government | Contacting the White House | White House for Kids
White House History | White House Tours | Help
T H E W H I T E H O U S E