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George W. Bush On The Issues 2000

George W. Bush 2000 On The Issues

Environment and Natural Resources

Governor Bush is committed to a new era of environmental protection. The 30-year-old federal model of “mandate, regulate and litigate” needs to be modernized: it has yielded benefits in the past, but it encourages Americans to do the bare minimum to protect the environment and fails to reward innovation or results.  Therefore, as President, Governor Bush will maintain a strong federal environmental role but will return significant authority to states and local communities.  Under Governor Bush, the federal government will set high environmental standards and provide market-based incentives to develop new technologies and approaches so that Americans meet – and exceed – those standards. He will also ensure that the federal government, which is the country’s largest polluter, complies with all environmental laws.

Governor Bush’s Philosophy of Public Stewardship and Personal Responsibility

The Need for a New Approach: Governor Bush recognizes the United States is entering a new era of environmental policy that requires a new philosophy of public stewardship and personal responsibility.  The current regulatory system has produced immense benefits, but it encourages Americans to do the bare minimum, fails to reward innovation, and breeds wasteful litigation.  For example, it takes an average of eight years to clean up a Superfund site – and over half of the dollars spent by the government on Superfund goes to pay administrative and legal costs.  Additionally, fear of Superfund liability and litigation has actually impeded the clean up and redevelopment of abandoned, contaminated industrial facilities, known as "brownfields."

High Standards and Flexibility: Governor Bush believes that prosperity is meaningless without a healthy environment.  But problems arise when leaders rely solely on the power of Washington – on regulations, penalties, and dictation from afar. Therefore, as President, Governor Bush will set high environmental standards, and work to build conservation partnerships between the federal government and state governments, local communities and private landowners to meet – and exceed – those standards.

Bipartisanship:  The environmental challenges of the 21st century will require strong leadership.  As President, Governor Bush will work on a bipartisan basis with both Republicans and Democrats to achieve our environmental goals.

Governor Bush's Environmental Proposals

Clean Up Brownfields: To redevelop abandoned, contaminated industrial facilities, known as “brownfields," Governor Bush will:

  • Direct the Environmental Protection Agency to establish high standards for brownfield cleanups that provide more flexibility than the current Superfund standards and fully protect human health and the environment;

  • Remove significant obstacles to brownfield clean up and redevelopment by giving redevelopers protection from federal Superfund liability at brownfields cleaned up under state programs that meet high federal standards.

  • Focus the efforts of the federal government on developing hazardous waste cleanup techniques and new cleanup technologies and share these with states and local communities.

  • Reform the ineffective Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund by cutting red tape and block granting funds to the states.

  • Extend permanently the Brownfield cleanup tax incentive that is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2001.

    Promote Conservation: To provide the necessary resources for land and wildlife conservation and encourage local and private conservation, Governor Bush will:

  • Fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund to its authorized level of $900 million and provide 50 percent of the Fund for state and local conservation efforts.

  • Establish a $50 million Landowner Incentive Program for states to help private landowners protect rare species while engaging in traditional land management practices.

  • Establish a $10 million Private Stewardship Grant Program to provide federal funding for private conservation initiatives.

  • Establish the President’s Awards for Private Stewardship to recognize and honor the best examples of private conservation.

  • Create a tax incentive to provide 50 percent capital gains tax relief for private landowners who voluntarily sell their land for conservation purposes.

  • Eliminate the estate tax to make it easier for private landowners to pass their land, intact, from one generation to the next.

    Other Environmental Positions:

  • Federal Environmental Compliance: Direct active federal facilities to comply with all environmental protection laws and hold them accountable.  It is time to end the double standard that has the federal government acting as enforcer of the nation’s environmental laws, while at the same time causing pollution that violates those laws.  

  • Global Climate Change: Support continued research into the causes and impact of global warming and the development of new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Kyoto Protocol: Oppose the Kyoto Protocol because it is ineffective, inadequate and unfair to America.  It exempts 80 percent of the world, including major population centers such as China and India, from compliance.  

  • Off Shore Drilling: Support the moratorium against new leases for oil and gas drilling off the coasts of California and Florida.  Will work with California and Florida leaders and local affected communities to determine on a case-by-case basis whether or not drilling should go forward on existing leases.

  • Pacific Northwest Dams: Oppose breaching dams in the Pacific Northwest.

  • National Parks and Federal Lands: Alleviate the substantial repair and improvement backlog facing our national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands.

  • Clean Air: Support the new Tier II standards that will require lower sulfur, cleaner-burning gasoline and cleaner cars.

  • Urban Sprawl: Believe the challenges of land management decisions are best handled by local and state governments.  The challenges of urban sprawl highlight the need to revitalize our inner cities, through improved public schools, cleaning up and redeveloping brownfields, reduced urban crime rates and creating a strong, healthy economic environment that supports job creation.

    Position Proposals & Speech

  • The Texas Record

    With a rapidly growing population, a quarter of U.S. oil refineries and two-thirds of its chemical industries and the most electric generation of any state, Texas faces unique environmental challenges.  Governor Bush has taken on those challenges. While more remains to be done, under his Administration:

  • Texas is #1 in the nation in reducing the release and disposal of toxic pollution by 43 million pounds, according to the EPA.

  • Texas has reduced industrial air emissions by 11%.

  • Two 1999 landmark clean air measures became law, which will reduce industrial emissions from older industries (previously "grandfathered" under the Clean Air Act) by more than 250,000 tons each year – the equivalent of taking 5.5 million vehicles off Texas roads.

  • Texas became one of the first three states in the nation to require older electric utilities to reduce emissions (nitrogen oxide by 50% and sulfur dioxide by 25%, by 2003), though these utilities had been exempted under the Clean Air Act.  Environmental Defense called the Texas law the “strongest in the nation.”

  • State natural resource spending increased by almost 30%, and funding for the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission by 14%.

  • Over 450 contaminated brownfields were cleaned up, restoring $200 million to local property tax rolls.

  • More than 96% of Texas public drinking water meets all standards, up from 88% in 1995.

  • Texas has submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency one of the country’s most aggressive plans to reduce industrial pollution in Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth by nearly 90%, and throughout the eastern half of the state by 50%.

Source: George W. Bush for President 2000 Web Site


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