Bill Clinton on Environment

President of the U.S., 1993-2001; Former Democratic Governor (AR)


If you double your gas mileage, it cuts cost & reduces CO2

The agreement the administration made with the management, labor, and environmental groups to double car mileage, that was a good deal. It will cut your gas prices in half, your gas bill. No matter what the price is, if you double the mileage of your car, your bill will be half what it would have been. It will make us more energy independent. It will cut greenhouse gas emission. And according to several analyses, over the next 20 years, it will bring us another 500,000 good, new jobs into the American economy.

The president's energy strategy, which he calls all-of-the-above, is helping, too. The boom in oil and gas production, combined with greater energy efficiency, has driven oil imports to a near 20-year low and natural gas production to an all-time high. And renewable energy production has doubled.


Source: 2012 Democratic National Convention speech , Sep 5, 2012

OpEd: Arsenic rule would cost small western towns millions

In the first months in office, Bush was bedeviled by hundreds of regulations the Clinton administration had issued in its final days. The most famous of the Clinton last-minute rule changes was the new rule lowering the amount of arsenic permissible in drinking water. During 8 years of Clinton's presidency, his administration considered 50 parts per billion of arsenic in drinking water an acceptable standard--the standard since 1942. But just days before Clinton left office, the EPA issued a new rule that would lower the standard to 10 parts per billion over a 5 year period.

To comply with the new rule, small towns in western states, where arsenic naturally occurs, would be forced to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on new water plants. The liberal Brookings Institution and the conservative American Enterprise Institute produced a joint study showing that rather than saving lives, the new standard would actually cost about 10 lives annually [due to loss of medical service funding].

Source: Guilty, by Ann Coulter, p.205-206 , Nov 10, 2009

Worked with Bush Sr on Katrina relief in New Orleans

When Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, President George W. Bush asked his father and me to help raise private funds to supplement the government's efforts.

The Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund also helped create a new City Year bran New Orleans to provide young people with a way to help the city rebuild.

In the lower Ninth Ward, which was virtually wiped out by Katrina, volunteers turned the first new homes over to residents. The project was organized by ACORN (A Community Organizations for Reform Now), which also provided the financing with support from a California bank. ACORN works to empower low- and moderate-income people through the grassroots activism of more than 200,000 members in one hundred communities all over America.

Source: Giving, by Bill Clinton, p. 10&45-5 , Sep 4, 2007

With Bush Sr, raised $14M for Asian tsunami reconstruction

Perhaps the most meaningful new-beginnings project I've ever participated in was the fundraising efforts with former President George H. W. Bush for the victims of the tsunami in southern Asia.

We tried to raise the overall level of America and put together a relatively small fund of about $1.4 million, out of which we financed the reconstruction of schools, health facilities, fishing boats, and other economic restoration efforts, and scholarships for students from Indonesia, by far the hardest-hit area, to study at Texas A&M and the University of Arkansas.

George and I got so excited by our tsunami work that we both wound up working on disasters two more years for U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan. I became the U.N. envoy for the tsunami restoration efforts; George did the same thing in Pakistan after the earthquake there.

Source: Giving, by Bill Clinton, p.106-107 , Sep 4, 2007

1981: Dumbest mistake: paid for roads by car tag fees

Bill decided that road-building was a way to drag the state toward modernity in at least one way. It would be his signature issue. Arkansas roads were a disaster, undermining the economic future of the state, which was heavily dependent on trucking. But to fund $3.3 billion in highway & road improvements, he unwisely gave lobbyists for the trucking & poultry industries a dominant hand in devising a formula for additional taxes on car license fees. The fees would be based on weight, not value, of a registered vehicle. Thus, in a state full of old pickups & junkers, the less-well-off generally paid higher tax fees than the swells who drove around in faster, newer, lighter, costlier cars.

“I could sign the bill into law and have a good road program paid for in an unfair way, or veto it and have no road program at all. I signed the bill. It was the single dumbest mistake I ever made in politics until 1994 when I agreed to ask for a special prosecutor in the Whitewater case,” said Bill.

Source: A Woman in Charge, by Carl Bernstein, p.156 , Jun 5, 2007

Imposed 608 pages of ergonomic rules in final days in office

Several days before he left office, Bill Clinton imposed a full 608 pages of “ergonomic” rules, aimed at complaints of repetitive motion injuries that saddled business with compliance nightmares. The SBA estimated that the ergonomics rules would have cos American businesses $60 to $100 billion a year. These rules would have opened the door for government inspectors to intrude on those who work at home. Fortunately, Congress repealed the ergonomic rules soon after Pres. Clinton left the White House.
Source: The Final Days, by Barbara Olson, p. 89 , Oct 25, 2001

Lowered arsenic levels in drinking water

Clinton’s EPA worked feverishly in January 2001 with environmental groups and farm worker unions to produce new regulations for the first time in 60 years, to require substantially lower quantities of arsenic, a naturally occurring substance, in drinking water. The new rule reduced the standard from 59 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion.
Source: The Final Days, by Barbara Olson, p. 89 , Oct 25, 2001

False choice between economy and environment

From our inner cities to our pristine wild lands, we have worked hard to ensure that every American has a clean and healthy environment. We’ve rid hundreds of neighborhoods of toxic waste dumps, and taken the most dramatic steps in a generation to clean the air we breathe. We have made record investments in science and technology to protect future generations from the threat of global warming. We’ve worked to protect and restore our most glorious natural resources, from the Florida Everglades to California’s redwoods to Yellowstone. And we have, I hope, finally put to rest the false choice between the economy and the environment, for we have the strongest economy perhaps in our history, with a cleaner environment.
Source: WhiteHouse.gov web site , Jan 11, 2000

Throw corporate polluters in jail

Promise: To enforce environmental laws with jail terms for corporate polluters when necessary.

Status: Over 200 criminal environmental cases were referred in FY94. Criminal charges were brought against 250 individual and corporate defendants with 99 years in jail sentences and $36.8 million in criminal fines assessed that year. In fall of 1995, the EPA was forced to raise the standards of cases that it will prosecute to "significant and egregious cases" because of scarce resources.

Source: State of the Union, by T.Blood & B.Henderson, p.130 , Aug 1, 1996

No net loss wetlands policy

Promise: To stick to "no net loss" wetlands policy.

Status: The White House introduced the Wetlands Plan to preserve the nation's wetlands. Over $1.5 billion were committed to help restore the Florida Everglades. Clinton fought a wetlands reform bill that would have reduced the amount of land under federal enforcement by 75% and created exemptions for special interests and activities. Further, the bill would hinder state wetland conservation efforts. To date the bill has been stalled in the Senate.

Source: State of the Union, by T.Blood & B.Henderson, p.133 , Aug 1, 1996

Signed 1982 Law of the Sea treaty ; awaiting ratification

In March 1983, President Reagan issued a proclamation confirming American sovereign rights and control over all living and nonliving resources within 200 miles of US coasts. Reagan's actions were a sound alternative to the ill-considered 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Reagan would not approve the convention. The Clinton administration, however, after some essentially cosmetic tinkering, has now signed the pact. It should not be ratified.

If the nation is to realize the full potential of President Reagan's vision, we must create a forward-looking oceans policy that recognizes our many and complicated interests. Our National Oceans Policy must ensure that we retain robust scientific research capabilities, both in government and in universities. An appropriate oceans policy will replace the current bewilderingly fragmented patchwork of laws and regulations that prevents American firms from fully utilizing the ocean's vast potential.

Source: Agenda For America, by Haley Barbour, p.277-278 , Apr 25, 1996

Much left to do on clean air, water, & environment

Much remains to be done. A third of us still breathes air that endangers our health. Our national parks are badly in need of funds for adequate maintenance and staffing. Many species remain in danger of extinction. In too many communities the water is unsafe to drink. Some 10 million children under twelve live and play within four miles of a toxic waste dump. We have cleaned up a lot of our waterways, but more than a third of our streams still need work. The list of work to be done is long, but we have made considerable progress.

I have never believed we had to choose between either a clean and safe environment or a growing economy. Protecting the health and safety of all Americans doesn’t have to come at the expense of our economy’s bottom line. And creating thriving companies and new jobs doesn’t have to come at the expense of the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, or the natural landscape in which we live. We can, and indeed must, have both.

Source: Between Hope and History, by Bill Clinton, p.103-105 , Jan 1, 1996

Increase fuel efficiency from 27 mpg to 40 mpg

BUSH: [to Clinton]: One mistake [Clinton] has made is fuel efficiency standards at 40 to 45 miles a gallon will throw auto workers out of work. There's a pattern here of appealing to the auto workers and then trying to appeal to the spotted owl crowds or the extremes in the environmental movement.

CLINTON: Let's talk about fuel efficiency standards. They are now 27.5 miles per gallon per automobile fleet. We ought to have a goal of raising the fuel efficiency standards to 40 miles a gallon. We ought to have incentives to do it. It is good for America to improve fuel efficiency. We also ought to convert more vehicles to compressed natural gas. That's another way to improve the environment.

Source: The Third Clinton-Bush-Perot Presidential Debate , Oct 19, 1992

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Other past presidents on Environment: Bill Clinton on other issues:
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Barack Obama(D,2009-2017)
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton(D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

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Sen.Bob Dole

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Page last updated: Feb 22, 2022