Search for...
OnTheIssuesLogo

George W. Bush on Environment

President of the United States, Former Republican Governor (TX)


Proposed different measures to improve the environment

Q: What specifically has your administration done to improve the condition of our nation's air and water supply?

A: Off-road diesel engines, we a reached an agreement to reduce pollution from off-road diesel engines by 90%. I've got a plan to increase the wetlands by 3 million. We've got an aggressive brownfield program to refurbish inner-city sore spots to useful pieces of property. I proposed to the Congress a Clear Skies Initiative to reduce sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury by 70%. I fought for a strong title in the farm bill for the conservation reserve program to set aside millions of acres of land for - to help improve wildlife and the habitat. We proposed and passed a healthy forest bill to protect old stands of trees and at the same time, make sure our forests aren't vulnerable to the forest fires that have destroyed acres after acres in the West. I proposed a hydrogen-generated automobile. We're spending a billion dollars to come up with the technologies to do that.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

Clear Skies Initiative improves air quality now

The Clear Skies Initiative would bring cleaner air to Americans faster, more reliably, and more cost-effectively than under current law. It would save Americans as much as $1 billion annually in compliance costs, while improving air quality and protecting the reliability and affordability of electricity for consumers. Clear Skies would cut pollution further, faster, cheaper - and with more certainty - eliminating the need for expensive and uncertain litigation as a means of achieving clean air.
Source: Campaign website, www.georgewbush.com Aug 30, 2003

Restrict wetland development, but not arsenic or CO2

Bush faces a choice of either embracing Clinton’s pro-green agenda [of several executive orders Clinton signed in his final weeks in office] or being labeled anti-environment by detractors and the press. Based on the coverage of the past few weeks, you’d have to say the Clinton strategy worked. But now, Bush has clearly stopped playing along.

The EPA did accept a Clinton rule restricting development in wetlands and said that it would keep new energy-efficiency requirements for washing machines and water heaters. But last month, Bush blocked implementation of a tighter limit on the amount of arsenic in water, suspended new cleanup requirements for mining companies, abandoned US participation in the Kyoto global warming treaty and renounced a campaign promise to restrict carbon dioxide emissions.

Source: Howard Kurtz, Washington Post Apr 18, 2001

More lead emission reporting requirements

The Bush administration announced yesterday it will require thousands more manufacturers to disclose their releases of toxic lead into the environment, upholding a stricter lead-reporting regulation issued in the waning days of the Clinton presidency, despite the vehement objections of business groups. The decision requires manufacturing and processing plants to report the emission of lead or lead compounds if they total 100 pounds a year, a much tougher standard than the current 10,000 pounds. The new standard will expand the reporting requirement to an estimated 3,600 more businesses.

In announcing his decision on lead, Bush said he “will continue to support and promote efforts based on sound science to clean our air, water & land.. Lead is a persistent and highly toxic substance that can cause a range of environmental and health problems. Lead has an especially harmful impact on the health of children and infants. And it is found too often in some of America’s older, poorer communities.”

Source: Mike Allen, Washington Post, p. A1 Apr 18, 2001

Weaken Clean Air; no comment on Clean Water

 BushGore
ForestsOpposes ban on logging in roadless areas of national forests; supports Tropical Forest Conservation ActSupports protection of 40 million acres of roadless national forests from logging
Air PollutionLobbied to weaken Clean Air Act enforcementNew clean air standards approved under Clinton/Gore
Water PollutionBush’s position papers contain no mention of clean waterBacks federal regulations on factory-farm runoff; worked to strengthen Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act
Brownfield CleanupSupports “more flexibility” in cleanup regulations; supports liability protection for re-developersSupports existing cleanup regulations; under Clinton/Gore, three times as many toxic waste sites cleaned up as in previous 12 years
Source: Boston Globe, p. A28 Nov 3, 2000

Incentives for private land stewardship & conservation

    To provide resources for conservation and encourage more Americans to take an active role in protecting natural resources and wildlife, Governor Bush proposed:
  1. Fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and provide 50% for state and local conservation efforts.
  2. Provide matching grants for states to establish a Landowner Incentive Program to help private landowners protect rare species while engaging in traditional land management practices, and establish a Private Stewardship Grant Program to provide funding for private conservation initiatives.
  3. Establish the President’s Awards for Private Stewardship to recognize and honor the best examples of private conservation.
  4. Create a tax incentive to provide capital gains tax relief for private landowners who voluntarily sell their land for conservation purposes.
  5. Eliminate the estate tax. This will make it easier for private landowners to pass their land intact to the next generation.
Source: P.R. for Sand Harbor speech, part of “Renewing America” Jun 1, 2000

Conservation partnerships to protect lands & watersheds

Since the days of Teddy Roosevelt, there has been a consensus that Americans have a common interest in protecting our natural lands & watersheds. It is our duty to use the lands well, and sometimes not to use them at all. It is our responsibility as citizens, but more than that it is our calling as stewards of the earth.

The federal government has a crucial role to play in conservation-particularly in managing our national forests, our park system, wilderness areas, and national wildlife refuges. But problems arise when leaders reject partnership, and rely solely on the power of Washington-on regulations, penalties, and dictation from afar.

It’s time to build conservation partnerships between the federal government and state governments, local communities and private landowners. In all these efforts, we see the future of conservation. What is the federal role? To provide the scientific and financial resources to help states, local communities and private landowners preserve land and wildlife.

Source: Sand Harbor speech, part of “Renewing America’s Purpose” Jun 1, 2000

$60M for private stewardship; tax break on conservation land

I will seek to fully fund the Land & Water Conservation Fund-to its authorized level of $900 million. Half of those funds [should] be devoted to state & local conservation. I will ask that $50 million be used to help states set up Landowner Incentive Programs, similar to ours in Texas. And $10 million for a Private Stewardship Program-making grants available to individuals and groups engaged in private conservation. I will establish the President’s Awards for Private Stewardship, to recognize outstanding examples of private stewardship, and to publicize innovative techniques in natural resource management. I will seek an additional tax incentive to encourage private conservation. Incentives already exist in the tax code, but only if the land is given away. Many private landowners want their property to be conserved, but are in no position to give it away. Under my proposal, the seller would receive a 50% break on his or her capital gain if the land is sold for conservation purposes.
Source: Sand Harbor speech, part of “Renewing America’s Purpose” Jun 1, 2000

Superfund failing: too costly; too litigious; too complex

    The federal Superfund statute was passed by Congress in 1980 to ensure that the worst contaminated sites in the country would be promptly cleaned up. However, Superfund has failed in its mission:
  1. It has proven both expensive and inefficient. Of the 1,231 Superfund sites, only 595 have been cleaned up as of June 30, 1999. Moreover, while Superfund was expected to cost $5 billion and complete all cleanups in less than five years, actual Superfund spending has exceeded $30 billion and the current average length of cleanups is eight years.
  2. Superfund has promoted costly litigation: 36% of the $11 billion spent by the private sector on Superfund in the first ten years of the program went not to clean up contaminated sites, but to pay consultants’ and lawyers’ fees and other litigation costs
  3. Superfund has actually had a chilling effect on brownfield cleanup, because a brownfield can be subjected at any time to Superfund and its complex regulations and liability scheme.
Source: Press Release, part of “Renewing America’s Purpose” Apr 3, 2000

Keep drilling; keep dams; keep private property

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000


George W. Bush on Brownfields + Parks

Proposes $211M to cleaning up brownfields

President Bush is committed to accelerating the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated, underutilized industrial sites. The revitalization of brownfields serves to improve the environment, protect public health, create jobs, & revitalize communities. The President's FY04 budget proposal provides $211 million - almost 130 percent more than when President Bush took office - for EPA's brownfields cleanup program.
Source: Campaign website, www.georgewbush.com Aug 30, 2003

$450M annually for wildlife and open spaces

Source: Blueprint for the Middle Class Sep 17, 2000

$4.9B to repair “crumbling” national parks

Bush said too many federal dollars were spent acquiring land and not maintaining existing properties. “Under this administration, the parks are in worse shape than ever before. For eight years, this administration has talked of environmentalism while our national parks are crumbling.” He pledged to push Congress to spend about $4.9 billion more to pay for a backlog of repairs on deteriorating highways and tourist attractions and to purify polluted streams in national parks.
Source: AP Story, NY Times Sep 13, 2000

Reinvest in Conservation Fund; repair parks & refuges

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000


George W. Bush on Federal Role

Good stewardship is personal responsibility and public value

President Bush believes that good stewardship of the environment is not just a personal responsibility, it is a public value. Americans are united in the belief that it is important to preserve our natural heritage and safeguard the land around us. The President believes that the federal government has an important role to play in protecting our environment. The President favors common-sense approaches to improving the environment while protecting the quality of American life.
Source: Campaign website, www.georgewbush.com Aug 30, 2003

Natural resources & environment funding in FY04 highest ever

At $44.9 billion, the President's FY04 environment and natural resources budget request is the highest ever. The Budget funds the nation's priorities of protecting our drinking water, reducing pollution, cleaning up industrial waste sites, protecting our national parks and refuges, and helping farmers conserve on private lands as well.
Source: Campaign website, www.georgewbush.com Aug 30, 2003

Federal standards+local collaboration; no command & control

GORE [to Bush]: He’s right that I’m not in favor of energy taxes. I am in favor of tax cuts to encourage and give incentives for the quicker development of these new kinds of technologies and let me say again, Detroit is raring to go on that. We differ on whether or not pollution controls ought to be voluntary. I don’t think you can get results that way.

BUSH: I don’t believe in command and control out of Washington, D.C. I believe Washington ought to set standards, but we ought to be collaborative at the local levels.

Q: Would the federal government still have some new regulations to pass?

BUSH: Sure, absolutely, so long as they’re based upon science and they’re reasonable, so long as people have input.

GORE: I’m not for command and control techniques either. I’m for working with the groups, not just with industry but also with the citizens groups and local communities to control sprawl in ways that the local communities themselves come up with.

Source: (X-ref Gore) Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

Replace mandate/regulate/litigate with decentralized efforts

Source: The Economist, “Issues 2000” special Sep 30, 2000

Can’t sue our way to clean air & water--work with industry

Bush yesterday announced his first environmental initiative: to quicken the cleanup and redevelopment of polluted industrial sites known as brownfields. Bush said that under his plan, state and local governments would work with private industry to develop new environmental standards, rather than battling them in the courtroom. “The government cannot sue its way to clean air and water,” Bush said.
Source: Audrey Hudson, Washington Times, p. A4 Apr 4, 2000

Keep fed enviro role but give money & flexibility to states

Bush unveiled proposals yesterday prescribing flexible standards and technology as the best antidote for pollution and blight. “Prosperity will mean little if we leave to future generations a world of polluted air, toxic lakes and rivers, and vanished forests,” Bush said.
He pledged, if elected, to eliminate red tape and give states the money and regulatory flexibility to clean up hundreds of similar sites on an accelerated schedule. “The solution is not to eliminate the federal role in protecting the environment,“ he said, ”the solution is reform--reform that sets high standards.“
Bush argued that rigid, complex regulations can be obstacles to cleaner cities. ”[Texas] didn’t wait for Al Gore to wave his magic wand to clean up our environment,“ he said. ”We cleaned it up ourself, and out state’s the better for it.“
Source: Washington Post, p. A6 Apr 4, 2000

Base enviro decisions on science & market-driven solutions

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Other candidates on Environment: George W. Bush on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty
Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts