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Environment

Accomplishments

Read Al Gore's agenda on this issue.

GORE WORKED FOR CLEANER AIR

  • Gore and the Administration Strengthened Clean Air Protections. In 1997, the Administration approved strong new clean air standards for soot and smog that could prevent up to 15,000 premature deaths a year and improve the lives of millions of Americans who suffer from respiratory illnesses. They are currently defending the standards against legal assaults by polluters.

  • Gore and the Administration Have Worked to Clean Up Auto Emissions. Last year, the Administration adopted new Tier 2 emission standards for passenger cars, SUVs and other light-duty trucks, producing cars that are 77 percent cleaner than those on the road today. These measures are the equivalent of removing 164 million cars from the road, and once implemented, will prevent 4,300 premature deaths and 173,000 cases of childhood respiratory illness each year.

  • Gore Worked with Auto Makers to Develop Fuel-Efficient Vehicles. In 1993, Vice President Gore was instrumental in launching the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) - a joint effort of the Big Three automakers and the federal government with the goal of developing more fuel-efficient vehicles within one decade. Earlier this year, Gore applauded the progress of this partnership when three concept cars - capable of getting 80 miles to the gallon - were unveiled. He also welcomed a new commitment by the automakers to speed up the timetable for marketing autos with these fuel-efficiency technologies within the next four years. In addition, Gore announced that the PNGV research program would be expanded to help develop higher fuel economy in SUVs, minivans and other light-duty trucks.

  • Gore And The Administration Supported Tax Credits For Energy Efficiency. In order to improve energy efficiency and help the environment, the President proposed $9 billion in tax credits for energy-efficient cars, homes, and appliances.

GORE WORKED FOR CLEANER WATER

  • Gore Has Helped Lead the Administration's Safe Drinking Water Initiatives. The Administration has granted $1.9 billion in low interest loans to communities to upgrade water systems nationwide, and Al Gore has helped lead the Administration's Water 2000 initiative. Gore announced assistance for more than 80 safe drinking water projects in 43 states and Puerto Rico in 1997 and over 100 similar projects in rural America in 1999.

  • Gore Worked to Strengthen the Safe Drinking Water Act. In addition, the Administration approved legislation to strengthen the Safe Drinking Water Act by requiring water utilities to inform their customers about the quality of their drinking water. As a result of these efforts, the population in areas meeting drinking water standards has increased 17.2% from 196.1 million in 1993 to 229.8 million in 1999.

  • Gore was an Original Cosponsor of the Water Quality Act of 1987. Al Gore was an original cosponsor of the Water Quality Act of 1987, which amended the nation's main water pollution control law, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 (the Clean Water Act). This Act established, for the first time, a mandatory federal permit program to control discharges of industrial and municipal wastewater. In addition, the Act also authorized $18 billion for sewage treatment plants and other funds for water pollution control programs.

GORE ADDRESSED GLOBAL WARMING AND INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGES

  • Gore Helped Lead Early Efforts Against Global Warming. As Vice President, and as a U.S. Senator, Al Gore has been recognized as an early leader in international efforts to combat global warming:

    • Co-sponsored early legislation to study the implications of global warming and to encourage the development of environmental technologies to combat global warming.

    • Chaired the U.S. Congressional delegation to the Interparliamentary Conference on the Global Environment, which reached an agreement between 40 nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    • Led the U.S. Senate delegation to the "Earth Summit," which produced a new understanding of the role of the interdependency of environment, trade and finance, consumption patterns and the need to set out to determine a long-term plan for global sustainable development.

    • Helped produce an agreement at the Kyoto Global Warming Conference among 150 nations for limiting the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere.

  • Gore Pushed the Bush Administration to Speed the Phase-Out of Ozone Depleting Chemicals. Gore sponsored an amendment to express the sense of the Senate that the EPA should accelerate the phase-out of chemicals that deplete the ozone layer and move to strengthen the 1987 Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer. The New York Times reported that Gore's amendment helped to push the Bush Administration to "a surprise reversal of its public position…support[ing] a Senate action to phase out much faster the chemicals that damage the protective ozone layer high in the atmosphere." In 1989, 300,000 metric tons of CFCs were emitted in the United States. By 1996, ozone depleting chloroflurocarbon (CFC) emissions were eliminated.

  • Gore and the Administration Worked to Expand Our Ability to Address Global Climate Change. Al Gore and the Administration secured $11.6 billion for the Global Change Research Program to enhance surface and satellite monitoring of changes in temperature and precipitation and expand climate change research efforts. The Administration also secured more than $2 billion to research and develop clean energy technologies within carbon-emitting sectors of the economy as part of the Climate Change Technology Initiative.

  • Gore is Working to Meet the Challenge of Global Warming. Al Gore and the Administration proposed an FY 2001 budget which includes $2.4 billion -- a 42 percent increase -- to combat global climate change, and $1.7 billion for scientific research into factors influencing climate and the likely consequences of global warming.

GORE WORKED TO CLEAN UP TOXIC WASTES

  • Gore Chaired Some of the First Congressional Hearings on Toxic Waste Clean Up. On October 30, 1978, Al Gore chaired the first congressional oversight hearing on the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) dealing with toxic waste clean up. This House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing was the first in a lengthy series of hearings that examined hazardous waste dump sites, and laid the groundwork for passage of the Superfund Act in 1980. At Gore's urging, the committee later undertook a "Waste Disposal Site Survey" of the 53 largest domestic chemical companies. This survey disclosed data on 3,383 disposal sites, approximately 2,000 of which were previously unknown to the EPA.

  • The Clinton-Gore Administration Cleaned Up 3 times as Many Toxic Waste Sites as the Reagan & Bush Administrations Combined. Since 1993, the Clinton-Gore Administration has cleaned up 525 toxic waste sites- over three times more than were cleaned up during the previous 12 years. Cleanup is completed or underway at over 90% of all Superfund sites. Furthermore, the Clinton-Gore Administration has worked to reduce the release of toxic chemicals in private industry and from the federal government. Toxic chemical releases were down over 23% between 1991 and 1997, and Department of Defense toxic releases have fallen 64.8% between 1994 and 1998.

GORE ENCOURAGED MORE LIVABLE COMMUNITIES

  • Gore Launched the Administration's Livable Communities Initiative. Al Gore launched the Administration's Livable Communities initiative to provide citizens and communities with the tools and the resources needed to encourage smart growth, ease congestion, and improve quality of life. The initiative includes a citizen website and calls for $700 million in tax credits to help local communities raise $10.75 billion in Better America Bonds to achieve quality of life improvements for Americans. In addition, the Administration's FY2001 budget calls for $9.3 billion, a 14 percent increase, for the Administration's Livable Communities initiative to help communities grow in ways that enhance quality and strong economies.

  • Gore Led the Administration's Successful Brownfield Redevelopment Efforts. Since 1995, the Administration helped remove more than 30,000 sites from the Superfund database -- allowing them to access important resources to further the process of revitalization. In 1997, Al Gore announced the Administration's Brownfields National Partnership to streamline resources from 20 federal agencies to address Brownfield cleanup and redevelopment. The Administration has provided almost $70 million in seed grants to over 300 communities to leverage over $1.6 billion dollars in private funds for projects to revitalize brownfields. The Administration also has secured a tax incentive allowing businesses in targeted areas to deduct certain cleanup costs through 2001.

GORE WORKED TO PRESERVE OUR NATURAL TREASURES

  • Gore and the Administration Have Been Fighting for Full Funding of the Lands Legacy Initiative. For the second year in a row, Al Gore and the Administration have proposed full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) through their Lands Legacy initiative. As part of their FY2001 budget proposal, the President and Vice President have requested $1.4 billion for the Lands Legacy initiative to build upon the $652 million secured by the Administration for the initiative in the FY2000 budget. The Clinton-Gore Administration is the first administration in many years to request full funding of the LCWF.

  • Gore and the Administration Have Protected America's Environmental Treasures. Al Gore has taken an active role in the Administration's efforts to protect our environmental treasures. In 1996, Gore unveiled a strategy to protect the Everglades, and in 1998 Gore unveiled a $7.8 billion proposal to restore the natural water flow in the Everglades. Gore also supported efforts to ban drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and to protect valuable roadless areas in National forests. In addition, the Administration has used the Antiquities Act to preserve and protect five natural treasures - more acreage in the lower 48 states than any prior administration in history. The Administration also has created 13 new national parks.

  • Gore and the Administration Have Protected America's Rivers and Forests. The Clinton-Gore Administration worked to protect more than 10 million acres of old growth reserves in the Pacific Northwest, and to restore and revitalize 14 "American Heritage Rivers." In 1994, the Administration created a Pacific Northwest Forest plan to protect the Northern Spotted Owl while allowing timber-dependent communities the opportunity for economic growth. Timber harvested from national forests has decreased 54.8% while recreational use of national forests has increased 29.6% from 263 to 341 million visitor days between 1992 and 1998.

  • Gore and the Administration Worked To Protect Forests and Biodiversity Around the World. In its FY01 budget, the Administration called for $150 million for a new Greening the Globe initiative to help stem the loss of forests worldwide.

Read Al Gore's agenda on this issue.




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