Vice President Gore Releases Earth Day Report Highlighting Environmental Gains

April 13, 2000

Washington, D.C. -- Vice President Al Gore today released a White House report highlighting environmental progress over the past seven years, including improved air and water quality, accelerated toxic cleanups, dramatic reductions in toxic releases, and increased protections for millions of acres across America.

Since 1993, the report shows, the number of Americans breathing clean air has grown by 44 million, the number receiving clean drinking water has grown by nearly 34 million, the pace of Superfund cleanups has more than tripled, environmental technology exports have more than doubled, and spending on key environmental priorities has risen dramatically.

The report, prepared for the 30th anniversary of Earth Day, highlights Administration initiatives providing significant new resources to communities to build public transit, clean up and redevelop brownfields, and preserve farms and other local green spaces. In addition, it notes that the Administration is on track to protecting more land in the lower 48 states than any Administration since the time of Theodore Roosevelt.

"For my entire career, I have believed very deeply that a strong economy and a clean environment go hand in hand," Vice President Gore said. "These past seven years, our Administration has proven it: our economy is booming, with nearly 21 million new jobs. And our air and water are cleaner and healthier than they have been in decades."

The Council on Environmental Quality report, A Healthy Environment for the 21st Century, highlights dozens of Administration initiatives to improve public health, restore endangered wildlife, promote "green" business, protect oceans and coasts, strengthen environmental enforcement, and combat global warming.

Success stories from around the country show how these initiatives are helping citizens and communities improve their drinking water, preserve open space, restore native salmon, conserve energy, redevelop brownfields, protect children from lead poisoning, and reduce other toxic threats. The report also describes how the U.S. government is working to promote sustainable development overseas -- for instance, helping Indonesian tribes protect their traditional lands, and helping forge consensus to protect Ecuador's famed Galapagos Islands.

"The real story here is how government can help communities build a healthier, more livable future," the Vice President said. "This Administration has forged new partnerships -- with communities, with industry, with farmers and other landowners -- to protect our environment as we grow our economy. This report shows how these efforts are producing real benefits for communities across America."

The report also shows how the Administration has improved environmental practices within the federal government, the country?s largest energy user and its largest consumer of paper and other products. As a result of these efforts, toxic releases from federal facilities have been cut 50 percent, 98 percent of the copier paper used last year by federal agencies contained recycled fiber, and taxpayers are saving almost $600 million a year in energy costs.

Along with the report, the Vice President released data showing how each of the 50 states has benefited from Administration programs supporting drinking water protections, wastewater treatment, toxic cleanups, land conservation, and coastal protection.

The Council on Environmental Quality report can be viewed on the Web

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