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
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.
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
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
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
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
John Kerry for President 2004 Web Site