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.'
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.
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.
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.
Designates specified lands in the
Isle Royale National Park in Michigan as wilderness.
Designates the Gull Islands included in the Isle Royale National Park by this Act 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:
Authorizes the construction, repair, and preservation of specified public works on rivers and harbors for navigation and flood control in:
the Middle Atlantic Region
South Atlantic-Gulf Region
the Ohio Region
the Lower Mississippi River Region
the Texas Gulf Region, and
the Columbia-North Pacific Region.
Authorizes a comprehensive review of the use of lands for
recreation and fish and wildlife purposes at water resources projects.
Annual review of authorized projects for works of improvement of rivers and harbors and other waterways for navigation, beach erosion, and flood control [ to determine which]
should no longer be authorized.
River Basins Monetary Authorizations Act: Authorizes a comprehensive plan of development of each river basin for the projects enumerated. Authorizations made under this title shall not exceed $409,200,000.