Appointments: Named well-respected, highly qualified
individuals to key environmental posts, including former
Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt as interior secretary and Carol
Browner, Florida's secretary of the environment, as head of
the Environmental Protection Agency.
Public Lands Reform: Made bold proposals to reform grazing,
mining and logging policies on federal lands soon after
taking office. Abandoned them even more quickly in the face
of opposition from special interests in the West and their
allies on Capitol Hill.
Wilderness and Parks: Signed the Colorado wilderness and
California Desert Protection acts into law. Withdrew lands
from new mining claims to protect Yellowstone National Park.
Opposes efforts to close national parks and to open Utah
wilderness to development. Proposed Everglades restoration
program. (Also see vetoes, below.)
Air and Water: Added 286 chemicals to those that companies
must report under Right to Know rules, and opposed
congressional efforts to block funding for Right to Know
program. Proposed reforms of Superfund and Safe Drinking
Water Act, thwarted in 103rd Congress. Opposes House-passed
Clean (a.k.a. Dirty) Water, risk-assessment and takings
Clinton vetoed bills that included provisions to:
- Allow oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife
- Clearcut Alaska's Tongass National Forest.
- Dramatically weaken protection for California's Mojave
- Slash the EPA's environmental enforcement budget by 25
- Cut funding for international family planning.
- Block enforcement of wetlands protection standards.
- Signed clearcut logging rider, a.k.a. "logging without
laws," in 1995 budget rescissions bill.
Below are some of the commitments Clinton made in 1992, and
whether or not he kept his promise.
- Ban offshore drilling. Yes, opposed in California.
- Create tax incentives for renewable energy sources.
Proposed, but blocked by Congress.
- Increase funding for solar and renewable energy. Yes.
- Boost recycling. Yes. Executive order requiring federal
agencies to buy products with recycled content has
stimulated markets for wastepaper.
- Support higher fuel economy (CAFE) standards for cars and
light trucks. No.
- Work to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20-30 percent
by 2005. Mainly no.
- Avoid increased reliance on nuclear energy. Yes.
Supported efforts to cut funding for research on new
- Ensure that free-trade pacts provide adequate
environmental safeguards. No. The NAFTA and GATT agreements
supported by Clinton did not include such guarantees.
- Enforce the Clean Air Act. Yes. More than half the cities
that violated smog standards in 1990 are now in compliance.
- Work to amend the Clean Water Act to include standards on
non-point source pollution, or toxic runoff. Yes. Blocked
in the 103rd Congress.
- Support wilderness designation for Alaska's Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge. Yes.
- Require federal facilities to comply with Community Right
to Know law. Yes.
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