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John Kerry 2004 On The Issues - A Clean, Healthy Environment

John Kerry 2004 On The Issues

A Clean, Healthy Environment


As Americans, we have the right to breathe unpolluted air, drink safe water, eat uncontaminated food, live in clean communities and enjoy our natural treasures. Over the last three years, we have seen these rights eroded. We have seen hard-won environmental gains rolled back, our air polluted and our water contaminated.
In the 21st Century, we can have progress without pollution - we can grow our economy while protecting our natural resources. But we need a leader who looks to the future and invests in innovation.

Throughout his career, John Kerry has fought to clean up toxic waste sites, to keep our air and water clean, and to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other pristine wilderness areas. Recently, the League of Conservation Voters called Senator Kerry an "environmental champion."

John Kerry and John Edwards will set a new standard of environmental excellence for America. They will honor our national treasures and pay tribute to our natural wonders, while renewing our nation's promise of clean air, clean water and a bountiful landscape for all. They recognize that we owe it to our families, our communities, and our planet to defend our environmental values and protect our environmental rights.

John Kerry and John Edwards will:

Create Cleaner, Greener Communities
Together, we can improve the environment in backyards and communities across America. John Kerry and John Edwards will revitalize contaminated industrial sites, get toxins out of communities, guarantee our children access to clean, safe parks and baseball fields, and take on traffic congestion and sprawl.

Enact A Conservation Covenant With America
John Kerry and John Edwards believe that Americans are united in our respect for the land. They will enact a Conservation Covenant with America to ensure balanced protection for our public lands and adequate resources to enhance our national parks.

Protect Our Health By Reducing Dangerous Air Emissions
As president, John Kerry will reverse the Bush-Cheney rollbacks to our Clean Air Act, plug loopholes in the law, take aggressive action to stop acid rain, and use innovative, job-creating programs to reduce mercury emissions and other emissions that contribute to global warming.

Restore America's Waters
Today, approximately 45 percent of our nation's waterways do not meet the "drinkable, swimmable and fishable" standard set out by the Clean Water Act 30 years ago. As president, John Kerry will implement a "Restore America's Waters" campaign, an integrated approach to protecting our precious, limited water resources. He will work with states on the toughest water quality challenges, restore damaged watersheds, protect wetlands, invest in our waterfronts and coastal communities, and protect our oceans.

The Kerry-Edwards Forest Plan: Putting Communities First

John Kerry and John Edwards recognize that forest management can benefit our nation's economy while protecting our watersheds and natural resources. They are committed to preserving and maintaining healthy forests that generate good jobs and support productive communities. They realize that forest products play an important role in our economy - especially in America's suffering rural communities - and they support logging and fuel reduction activities required to sustain the timber industry and protect communities from devastating forest fires.

Although the Healthy Forests Restoration Act undertakes important forest management activities, it shunts too much fire protection funding away from forest communities and eliminates critical avenues for public participation. In this time of escalating budget deficits, it is essential to direct every dollar where it can make the most impact in protecting lives, watersheds, communities, and property. A Kerry-Edwards administration will reorient HFRA to prioritize communities at risk and will pursue additional opportunities such as the Forest Legacy program to invest in forest and rural communities. And a Kerry-Edwards administration will practice responsible, science-driven forest management that invests in job creation and protects homes and businesses.

John Kerry has been endorsed by 48 Nobel Prize winning scientists and is committed to restoring the role of science in forest management decisions. Unlike George Bush - who appointed a timber lobbyist to the top job in the Forest Service - John Kerry and John Edwards are committed to balanced forest policies that apply empirical science based on facts, not ideology.

John Kerry and John Edwards Will Prioritize Fire Prevention in At-Risk Communities


Increased Funding for At-Risk Communities. The Healthy Forests Restoration Act devotes only half of its fuel reduction dollars to protecting at-risk communities; the other fifty percent is spent on remote projects miles from communities. A Kerry-Edwards administration will ensure that a higher percentage of fuel reduction projects are carried out in areas where human life and property are at risk. A Kerry-Edwards administration will increase spending for communities to a minimum of 70 percent and will commit to full funding for an improved Healthy Forests Restoration Act, which reflects the principles and proposals of the Kerry-Edwards forest plan.

Public Participation. Meaningful public participation is required to provide citizens with a voice in the decision-making processes that impact their communities. A Kerry-Edwards administration will ensure that the National Environmental Policy Act protections are applied in a timely manner for projects with significant community or environmental impacts. A Kerry-Edwards administration will invite communities to provide input on proposed federal decisions and will ensure the fundamental right of citizen access to the courts.

Collaboration with Affected Communities and States. Under a Kerry-Edwards administration, communities and states will be full partners in assuring community protection and forest restoration. John Kerry and John Edwards will provide affected states with a real voice in forest management decisions by collaborating with Governors and Congressional representatives to establish statewide Forest Health Councils. These Councils will be comprised of community leaders, tribal representatives, scientists, environmentalists, sportsmen, and state and local officials. Federal officials will be required to actively engage with these Forest Health Councils to identify funding priorities for fuel reduction and restoration projects in each state.

Community Fire Management Plans. HFRA offers communities the opportunity to develop fire management plans, but it does not provide them with the required tools and funding. John Kerry and John Edwards will commit funding to engage community forestry groups and other community members in the planning processes that ensure their safety.

Community Fire Prevention and Education. John Kerry and John Edwards will promote education programs in communities to enable them to minimize their exposure to fire damage. A Kerry-Edwards administration will create cost-sharing and tax incentive mechanisms that encourage families to participate in the Firewise program, which provides resources and support to homeowners who engage in fire prevention activities.

John Kerry and John Edwards Will Create Jobs in Restoration and Fire Prevention

Forest Restoration Corps. John Kerry and John Edwards will transfer $100 million from government subsidies to the timber industry and invest it in a new Forest Restoration Corps (FRC). The FRC will create jobs and invest in the long-term health of our forests - and the communities that depend upon them - by restoring forests, streams and rangelands that have been hard hit by fire or that have suffered from long-term mismanagement. By restoring these resources, community water supplies will be protected, hazardous mudslides will be avoided, and our forest resources will be preserved.

Jobs in Sustainable Forest Products. Since most fuels reduction projects generate small diameter trees as a by-product, a Kerry-Edwards administration will promote the development of markets in small diameter trees. A Kerry-Edwards administration will support these and other sustainable businesses by offering low interest loans and cost-sharing partnerships that local create economic opportunities in forest products and biomass energy production.

Support for Small Businesses That Enable Fire Prevention. By supporting businesses that fireproof and retrofit homes, a Kerry-Edwards administration will provide communities with additional resources to prevent fire damage. A Kerry-Edwards administration will provide grants to small businesses that perform hazardous fuel treatments in small, economically disadvantaged communities.

Support for Firefighters. John Kerry and John Edwards will give our firefighters the budgets and tools they need to effectively fight wildfires, including modern, safe, and reliable tankers. A Kerry-Edwards administration will ensure that the budgeting process recognizes the full cost of firefighting to guarantee that our professional firefighters do not face a funding crisis each year. A Kerry-Edwards administration will practice long-term planning and procurement and will avoid sudden disruptions in federal air support for fire suppression.

John Kerry and John Edwards will protect our nation's remaining wild forests and support broad conservation efforts

George Bush has taken advantage of public support for "healthy forests" to enable timber companies to log in remote and pristine areas of our public lands. This betrayal of the public trust will not take place on John Kerry's watch. A Kerry-Edwards administration will ensure that special, remote areas of our National Forests that include old growth and other unique resources are protected and off-limits to logging.

John Kerry and John Edwards will also support efforts such as the Forest Legacy program, which encourage private landowners to conserve forest resources. A Kerry-Edwards administration will support balanced forest management proposals that reflect strong science and consensus-based decision making, modeled on the fire plan developed by the Western Governors Association.

Source: John Kerry for President 2004 Web Site


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