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Gerald Ford on Environment

President of the U.S., 1974-1977; Republican Rep. (MI)


Relaxed regulations of strip mining

During President Ford's brief term, he was saddled with many of the environmental issues that Nixon had failed to approach. The nation was lurching toward inflation and Ford was left with little choice but to do battle with these economic forces and largely neglect the environmental problems of the previous administration. He was never known as a strong advocate of environmental regulation. In fact, Ford supported measures to relax environmental regulations, specifically in the areas of auto emission controls and regulation of strip mining. Russell Train, who withstood Nixon's attempts to weaken the EPA, expressed the view that President Ford was "fundamentally bored by environmental issues and that the EPA's opposition to the vetoes seemed to be only a minor irritant to him.'
Source: Cameron Lynch in W&M Env. Law Review, vol. 26 #1, p.220-221 , Jan 1, 2001

Made EPA more efficient, but mostly neglected it for economy

The nation was lurching toward inflation and Ford was left with little choice but to do battle with these economic forces and largely neglect the environmental problems of the previous administration. Despite Ford's environmental "negligence," the EPA nonetheless became a more efficient agency under his administration. Ford's main goal was to reduce the size of government and to streamline the regulatory process, a characteristically Republican goal, and in doing so, Ford did manage to make the EPA somewhat more efficient.

Critics cite his failure to acknowledge the validity of the EPA as an independent agency as an important difference between he and Nixon. Where Nixon appeared to sincerely be concerned with preservation of the environment and natural resources, Ford saw environmental regulation as another bureaucratic hurdle over which his administration would have to jump. Such indifference would eventually mark Ford's environmental legacy as poor.

Source: Cameron Lynch in W&M Env. Law Review, vol. 26 #1, p.221 , Jan 1, 2001

OpEd: consistently reduced pollution enforcement

Q: Why aren't you doing anything about pollution of the Atlantic Ocean? The National League of Conservation Voters says that when it comes to environmental issues, you are "hopeless."

FORD: Let's talk about what the Ford administration has done in the field of environment. I have increased, as President, by over 60%, the funding for water treatment plants. I have fully funded the land and water conservation program; in fact, have recommended, and the Congress approved, a substantially increased land and water conservation program. I have added in the current year budget, $12 million for the National Park Service.

CARTER: Well, I might say I think the League of Conservation Voters is absolutely right. This administration's record of environment is very bad. There has been a consistent policy on the part of this administration to lower or to delay enforcement of air pollution standards and water pollution standards.

Source: The Third Carter-Ford Presidential Debate , Oct 22, 1976

Vetoed coal-mining reductions: jobs trump environment

I pocket-vetoed the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1974, which would have reduced our domestic production of coal by a minimum of 48 million tons per year and would have meant the loss of thousands of jobs in the coal fields. I had to balance these losses against the gains of "protecting the environment." With our economy faltering, jobs were crucial. Since coal was the most abundant energy source this country had, I thought the environmental price tag was too high.
Source: A Time To Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald Ford, p.226 , Dec 22, 1974

Designate Isle Royale National Park as wilderness area

Rep. Ford sponsored H.R.5462: A bill to designate certain lands in the Isle Royale National Park in Michigan as wilderness.
Source: Bill sponsorship archives from the Library of Congress , Mar 12, 1973

$409M for public works on rivers and dams

Ford sponsored H.R.3966, the Water Resources Development Act:
Source: Bill sponsorship archives from the Library of Congress , Feb 7, 1973

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Other past presidents on Environment: Gerald Ford on other issues:
Former Presidents:
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton(D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

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V.P.Dick Cheney
V.P.Al Gore
V.P.Dan Quayle
Sen.Bob Dole
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Page last updated: Jan 06, 2014