George W. Bush 2000 On The Issues
and Natural Resources
Governor Bush is committed to a new
era of environmental protection. The 30-year-old federal model of
“mandate, regulate and litigate” needs to be modernized: it has
yielded benefits in the past, but it encourages Americans to do the bare
minimum to protect the environment and fails to reward innovation or
results. Therefore, as President, Governor Bush will maintain a
strong federal environmental role but will return significant authority to
states and local communities. Under Governor Bush, the federal
government will set high environmental standards and provide market-based
incentives to develop new technologies and approaches so that Americans
meet – and exceed – those standards. He will also ensure that the
federal government, which is the country’s largest polluter, complies
with all environmental laws.
Governor Bush’s Philosophy of Public Stewardship and Personal
The Need for a New Approach: Governor Bush recognizes the United
States is entering a new era of environmental policy that requires a new
philosophy of public stewardship and personal responsibility. The
current regulatory system has produced immense benefits, but it encourages
Americans to do the bare minimum, fails to reward innovation, and breeds
wasteful litigation. For example, it takes an average of eight years
to clean up a Superfund site – and over half of the dollars spent by the
government on Superfund goes to pay administrative and legal costs. Additionally,
fear of Superfund liability and litigation has actually impeded the clean
up and redevelopment of abandoned, contaminated industrial facilities,
known as "brownfields."
High Standards and Flexibility: Governor Bush believes that
prosperity is meaningless without a healthy environment. But
problems arise when leaders rely solely on the power of Washington – on
regulations, penalties, and dictation from afar. Therefore, as President,
Governor Bush will set high environmental standards, and work to build
conservation partnerships between the federal government and state
governments, local communities and private landowners to meet – and
exceed – those standards.
Bipartisanship: The environmental challenges of the 21st
century will require strong leadership. As President, Governor Bush
will work on a bipartisan basis with both Republicans and Democrats to
achieve our environmental goals.
Governor Bush's Environmental Proposals
Clean Up Brownfields: To redevelop abandoned, contaminated
industrial facilities, known as “brownfields," Governor Bush will:
- Direct the Environmental Protection Agency to establish high
standards for brownfield cleanups that provide more flexibility
than the current Superfund standards and fully protect human health
and the environment;
- Remove significant obstacles to brownfield clean up and
redevelopment by giving redevelopers protection from federal Superfund
liability at brownfields cleaned up under state programs that meet
high federal standards.
- Focus the efforts of the federal government on developing
hazardous waste cleanup techniques and new cleanup technologies
and share these with states and local communities.
- Reform the ineffective Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund
by cutting red tape and block granting funds to the states.
- Extend permanently the Brownfield cleanup tax incentive that
is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2001.
Promote Conservation: To provide the necessary resources for
land and wildlife conservation and encourage local and private
conservation, Governor Bush will:
- Fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund to its
authorized level of $900 million and provide 50 percent of the Fund
for state and local conservation efforts.
- Establish a $50 million Landowner Incentive Program for
states to help private landowners protect rare species while engaging
in traditional land management practices.
- Establish a $10 million Private Stewardship Grant Program to
provide federal funding for private conservation initiatives.
- Establish the President’s Awards for Private Stewardship to
recognize and honor the best examples of private conservation.
- Create a tax incentive to provide 50 percent capital gains
tax relief for private landowners who voluntarily sell their land for
- Eliminate the estate tax to make it easier for private
landowners to pass their land, intact, from one generation to the
Other Environmental Positions:
- Federal Environmental Compliance: Direct active federal
facilities to comply with all environmental protection laws and hold
them accountable. It is time to end the double standard that has
the federal government acting as enforcer of the nation’s
environmental laws, while at the same time causing pollution that
violates those laws.
- Global Climate Change: Support continued research into the
causes and impact of global warming and the development of new
technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Kyoto Protocol: Oppose the Kyoto Protocol because it is
ineffective, inadequate and unfair to America. It exempts 80
percent of the world, including major population centers such as China
and India, from compliance.
- Off Shore Drilling: Support the moratorium against new leases
for oil and gas drilling off the coasts of California and Florida.
Will work with California and Florida leaders and local affected
communities to determine on a case-by-case basis whether or not
drilling should go forward on existing leases.
- Pacific Northwest Dams: Oppose breaching dams in the Pacific
- National Parks and Federal Lands: Alleviate the substantial
repair and improvement backlog facing our national parks, wildlife
refuges and other public lands.
- Clean Air: Support the new Tier II standards that will
require lower sulfur, cleaner-burning gasoline and cleaner cars.
- Urban Sprawl: Believe the challenges of land management
decisions are best handled by local and state governments. The
challenges of urban sprawl highlight the need to revitalize our inner
cities, through improved public schools, cleaning up and redeveloping
brownfields, reduced urban crime rates and creating a strong, healthy
economic environment that supports job creation.
Position Proposals & Speech
With a rapidly growing population, a quarter of U.S. oil refineries
and two-thirds of its chemical industries and the most electric
generation of any state, Texas faces unique environmental challenges.
Governor Bush has taken on those challenges. While more remains
to be done, under his Administration:
- Texas is #1 in the nation in reducing the release and disposal of
toxic pollution by 43 million pounds, according to the EPA.
- Texas has reduced industrial air emissions by 11%.
- Two 1999 landmark clean air measures became law, which will
reduce industrial emissions from older industries (previously "grandfathered"
under the Clean Air Act) by more than 250,000 tons each year – the
equivalent of taking 5.5 million vehicles off Texas roads.
- Texas became one of the first three states in the nation to
require older electric utilities to reduce emissions (nitrogen
oxide by 50% and sulfur dioxide by 25%, by 2003), though these
utilities had been exempted under the Clean Air Act. Environmental
Defense called the Texas law the “strongest in the nation.”
- State natural resource spending increased by almost 30%, and
funding for the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission by 14%.
- Over 450 contaminated brownfields were cleaned up, restoring
$200 million to local property tax rolls.
- More than 96% of Texas public drinking water meets all standards,
up from 88% in 1995.
- Texas has submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency one
of the country’s most aggressive plans to reduce industrial
pollution in Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth by nearly 90%, and
throughout the eastern half of the state by 50%.
Source: George W. Bush for President 2000 Web Site
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