George W. Bush on Environment

Weaken Clean Air; no comment on Clean Water

ForestsOpposes ban on logging in roadless areas of national forests; supports Tropical Forest Conservation ActSupports protection of 40 million acres of roadless national forests from logging
Air PollutionLobbied to weaken Clean Air Act enforcementNew clean air standards approved under Clinton/Gore
Water PollutionBush’s position papers contain no mention of clean waterBacks federal regulations on factory-farm runoff; worked to strengthen Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act
Brownfield CleanupSupports “more flexibility” in cleanup regulations; supports liability protection for re-developersSupports existing cleanup regulations; under Clinton/Gore, three times as many toxic waste sites cleaned up as in previous 12 years
Source: Boston Globe, p. A28 Nov 3, 2000

Texas has most out-of-compliance plants; but is improving

In a new tally of smog around the country, Texas had more than twice as many industrial plants violating clean air rules than any other state. EPA data showed that 93 plants in the smoggiest areas of Texas did not comply recently with regulations to control volatile organic compounds - among the main ingredients in smog. Next on the list is Illinois, with 38 plants out of compliance in areas with persistent smog.

A Bush spokesman questioned the validity of the report (An EPA official confirmed that the study had used accurate data). But the spokesman said that if the numbers were accurate, they could be read another way to show that Texas has a higher percentage of compliance than many other states simply because it has so many industrial facilities. The percentage of volatile organic compounds fell by over 43% from 1995-1997, more than twice the national average, the spoesman said, adding that a new smog proposed plan will cut pollutants by another 90 percent.

Source: Bill Lambrecht, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Oct 16, 2000

Work in partnership with states and landowners

Q: What will you do to protect the environment?

BUSH: In Texas we reduced our industrial waste by 11%. We ought to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, with half the money going to states. We need to have clean coal technologies. There’s a national petroleum reserve right next to Prudhoe Bay [that was good to open for its] gas reserves. There are practical things we can do. But it starts with working in collaborative effort with states. People care a lot about their land.

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest Oct 11, 2000

Federal standards+local collaboration; no command & control

GORE [to Bush]: He’s right that I’m not in favor of energy taxes. I am in favor of tax cuts to encourage and give incentives for the quicker development of these new kinds of technologies and let me say again, Detroit is raring to go on that. We differ on whether or not pollution controls ought to be voluntary. I don’t think you can get results that way.

BUSH: I don’t believe in command and control out of Washington, D.C. I believe Washington ought to set standards, but we ought to be collaborative at the local levels.

Q: Would the federal government still have some new regulations to pass?

BUSH: Sure, absolutely, so long as they’re based upon science and they’re reasonable, so long as people have input.

GORE: I’m not for command and control techniques either. I’m for working with the groups, not just with industry but also with the citizens groups and local communities to control sprawl in ways that the local communities themselves come up with.

Source: (X-ref Gore) Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

Replace mandate/regulate/litigate with decentralized efforts

Source: The Economist, “Issues 2000” special Sep 30, 2000

Make Amtrak more efficient and competitive

Q: Should the federal government be spending more to help Amtrak expand intercity rail travel and develop high-speed corridors??

A: Our national railroad network is a crucial component of our public transportation system. I support a healthy intercity passenger rail system. I support current efforts to make Amtrak more efficient and competitive. I believe these efforts will result in better, more extensive and more reliant rail service for the millions of Americans who travel by train.

Source: Associated Press Sep 17, 2000

Incentives for private land stewardship & conservation

    To provide resources for conservation and encourage more Americans to take an active role in protecting natural resources and wildlife, Governor Bush proposed:
  1. Fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and provide 50% for state and local conservation efforts.
  2. Provide matching grants for states to establish a Landowner Incentive Program to help private landowners protect rare species while engaging in traditional land management practices, and establish a Private Stewardship Grant Program to provide funding for private conservation initiatives.
  3. Establish the President’s Awards for Private Stewardship to recognize and honor the best examples of private conservation.
  4. Create a tax incentive to provide capital gains tax relief for private landowners who voluntarily sell their land for conservation purposes.
  5. Eliminate the estate tax. This will make it easier for private landowners to pass their land intact to the next generation.
Source: P.R. for Sand Harbor speech, part of “Renewing America” Jun 1, 2000

Conservation partnerships to protect lands & watersheds

Since the days of Teddy Roosevelt, there has been a consensus that Americans have a common interest in protecting our natural lands & watersheds. It is our duty to use the lands well, and sometimes not to use them at all. It is our responsibility as citizens, but more than that it is our calling as stewards of the earth.

The federal government has a crucial role to play in conservation-particularly in managing our national forests, our park system, wilderness areas, and national wildlife refuges. But problems arise when leaders reject partnership, and rely solely on the power of Washington-on regulations, penalties, and dictation from afar.

It’s time to build conservation partnerships between the federal government and state governments, local communities and private landowners. In all these efforts, we see the future of conservation. What is the federal role? To provide the scientific and financial resources to help states, local communities and private landowners preserve land and wildlife.

Source: Sand Harbor speech, part of “Renewing America’s Purpose” Jun 1, 2000

$60M for private stewardship; tax break on conservation land

I will seek to fully fund the Land & Water Conservation Fund-to its authorized level of $900 million. Half of those funds [should] be devoted to state & local conservation. I will ask that $50 million be used to help states set up Landowner Incentive Programs, similar to ours in Texas. And $10 million for a Private Stewardship Program-making grants available to individuals and groups engaged in private conservation. I will establish the President’s Awards for Private Stewardship, to recognize outstanding examples of private stewardship, and to publicize innovative techniques in natural resource management. I will seek an additional tax incentive to encourage private conservation. Incentives already exist in the tax code, but only if the land is given away. Many private landowners want their property to be conserved, but are in no position to give it away. Under my proposal, the seller would receive a 50% break on his or her capital gain if the land is sold for conservation purposes.
Source: Sand Harbor speech, part of “Renewing America’s Purpose” Jun 1, 2000

Superfund failing: too costly; too litigious; too complex

    The federal Superfund statute was passed by Congress in 1980 to ensure that the worst contaminated sites in the country would be promptly cleaned up. However, Superfund has failed in its mission:
  1. It has proven both expensive and inefficient. Of the 1,231 Superfund sites, only 595 have been cleaned up as of June 30, 1999. Moreover, while Superfund was expected to cost $5 billion and complete all cleanups in less than five years, actual Superfund spending has exceeded $30 billion and the current average length of cleanups is eight years.
  2. Superfund has promoted costly litigation: 36% of the $11 billion spent by the private sector on Superfund in the first ten years of the program went not to clean up contaminated sites, but to pay consultants’ and lawyers’ fees and other litigation costs
  3. Superfund has actually had a chilling effect on brownfield cleanup, because a brownfield can be subjected at any time to Superfund and its complex regulations and liability scheme.
Source: Press Release, part of “Renewing America’s Purpose” Apr 3, 2000

Remove federal impediments to states’ clean energy

Q: What would you do to promote the use of cleaner energy?

A: I would remove federal impediments, such as unclear jurisdiction over who is responsible for grid reliability, to help states be able to deregulate their electric industries effectively. This way states’ green power can be identified and rewarded. As governor, I presided over an electric deregulation bill that brings competition to Texas residents, makes mandatory emissions reductions from older power plants, and calls for 2,000 megawatts of new renewable energy by 2009, making Texas the largest market for renewable energy in the country. The Environmental Defense Fund calls this Texas law ‘the strongest in the nation.“‘

Source: Associated Press Sep 12, 2000

George W. Bush on Brownfields & Parks

Against Kyoto & national monuments; for drilling ANWR

Climate ChangeOpposes Kyoto agreement; wants more research on causes & impact of global warmingSupports Kyoto agreement; believes human-induced global warming is a real threat and must be remedied
Arctic Wildlife RefugeSupports opening 8% of refuge area to oil explorationOpposes opening the refuge to oil exploration
ConservationSupports Land and Water Conservation Act; opposes new national monuments; backs tax breaks and incentives for private conservationSupports Land and Water Conservation Act; Clinton/Gore created 13 new national parks
EnergyBacks increased domestic exploration of natural gas & oil; more research on clean-coal technologySupports tax credits & incentives for renewable-energy or efficiency improvements in homes, cars, power plants; backs aid for cleaner mass transit
Source: Boston Globe, p. A28 Nov 3, 2000

$450M annually for wildlife and open spaces

Source: Blueprint for the Middle Class Sep 17, 2000

$4.9B to repair “crumbling” national parks

Bush said too many federal dollars were spent acquiring land and not maintaining existing properties. “Under this administration, the parks are in worse shape than ever before. For eight years, this administration has talked of environmentalism while our national parks are crumbling.” He pledged to push Congress to spend about $4.9 billion more to pay for a backlog of repairs on deteriorating highways and tourist attractions and to purify polluted streams in national parks.
Source: AP Story, NY Times Sep 13, 2000

6-point plan for brownfield cleanup

    Governor Bush today outlined a six-point agenda to reform efforts to clean up the environment by encouraging state and local efforts to clean and redevelop abandoned industrial sites, known as brownfields.
  1. Direct the EPA to establish high standards for brownfield cleanups that will provide more flexibility than the current Superfund standards
  2. Provide protection from federal liability at brownfields cleaned up under state programs that meet high federal standards
  3. Focus on developing cleanup techniques and new cleanup technologies
  4. Reform the Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund by cutting the red tape and block granting the funds to the states
  5. Extend permanently the Brownfield cleanup tax incentive that is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2001
  6. Direct active federal facilities to comply with the environmental protection laws and hold them accountable.
Source: Press Release, part of “Renewing America’s Purpose” Apr 3, 2000

Reinvest in Conservation Fund; repair parks & refuges

Source: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

George W. Bush on Farm Policy

Don’t use food as a diplomatic weapon; it hurts farmers

Q: The family farms are disappearing and having a hard time, even in the current positive economic environment. Your plan?

BUSH: I’d like our farmers feeding the world. We’re the best producers in the world. And I want the farmers feeding the world. We need to open up markets. Exports are down. And every time an export number goes down, it hurts the farmer. I want the next president to have fast track negotiating authority to open up markets around the world. We’re the best. We’re the most efficient farmers. I don’t want to use food as a diplomatic weapon from this point forward. It hurts the farmers. It’s not the right thing to do.

We need more work on value-added processing. I’m for research and development, so that we can use our technological base to figure out new uses for farm products.

I’m for completely getting rid of the death tax. One reason family farmers are forced to sell early is because of the death tax. It’s a tax that taxes people twice, it penalizes the family farmer.

Source: St. Louis debate Oct 17, 2000

Keep Freedom to Farm Act: cut price supports

Q: The Freedom to Farm Act cut price supports to farmers while giving them more freedom to plant what they want. Do you support this law?

A: Yes. The best way to ensure a strong and growing agricultural sector is through a more market-driven approach that allows our farmers to fully participate in the world economy. As farming moves towards market-driven production, I believe the government should help farmers adapt to a global marketplace by providing a strong safety net and the means to manage the cyclical downturns in the farm economy. I will reinforce the important role farmers and ranchers play in the U.S. economy by increasing trade opportunities, reducing regulatory burdens, and reducing the overall tax burden. My administration will also renew our commitment to investments in new and innovative technologies for rural America.

Source: Associated Press Sep 20, 2000

Farm policy: emergency relief; insurance; antitrust

Source: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Family farms: Food for Peace instead of food as a weapon

Q: Since the family farmer is self-employed, would you cap government agriculture benefits to a modest one-family level? A: I would look at the formulas to make sure that the money was distributed fairly. And I would have an agricultural department that would send the money out on a timely basis. I believe we ought to open up markets all around the world. We ought to reduce barriers and tariffs. We shouldn’t be using food as a diplomatic weapon. We ought to implement the food for peace program. We ought to eliminate the death tax as well so people can pass their farm from one generation to the next. And we ought to have good sound risk management policies that give farmers more options when it comes to crop insurance, and more options on how to manage their income. Agriculture is incredibly important for this country and one of the reasons why we’ve had trouble in the world is because administrations have traded off agriculture just as if it’s a secondary part of our economy. It’s not.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa Jan 16, 2000

Ethanol tax incentives good for farmers and good for air

George W. Bush says that he “supports tax incentives for use of ethanol [because] not only is it good for the farmer, it is good for the quality of air all across America.”
Source: Sustainable Energy Coalition, media backgrounder #2 Nov 18, 1999

George W. Bush on Global Warming

Scientific consensus is that pollution causes global warming

Had the standard of accuracy operating in the first debate been applied in the second, Bush would not have fared as well. Bush, in arguing against the Kyoto environmental agreement, seemed unaware of the scientific consensus that pollution does indeed cause global warning. [See Issues2000 background information for details].
Source: Time, p. 62, “Double Standard” at Wake Forest debate Oct 19, 2000

Scientists are unsure about global warming

Q: What about global warming?

BUSH: It’s an issue that we need to take very seriously. I don’t think we know the solution to global warming yet and I don’t think we’ve got all the facts before we make decisions.

GORE: But I disagree that we don’t know the cause of global warming. I think that we do. It’s pollution, carbon dioxide and other chemicals that are even more potent. Look, the world’s temperatures going up, weather patterns are changing, storms are getting more violent and unpredictable. And what are we going to tell our children?

BUSH: Yeah, I agree. Some of the scientists, I believe, haven’t they been changing their opinion a little bit on global warming? There’s a lot of differing opinions and before we react I think it’s best to have the full accounting, full understanding of what’s taking place.

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

Kyoto Treaty puts too much burden on US

Q: What about global warming?

BUSH: It’s an issue that we need to take very seriously. But I’m not going to let the US carry the burden for cleaning up the world’s air, like the Kyoto treaty would have done. China and India were exempted from that treaty.

Q: The Senate did turn it down.

BUSH: 99 to nothing.

GORE: A lot of supporters of the Kyoto treaty actually ended up voting for that because of the way it was worded, but there’s no doubt there’s a lot of opposition to it in the Senate.

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

Drill ANWR and leave only footprints

“Gore says he would rather protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge than gain the energy [from drilling for oil there],” Bush said. “But this is a false choice. We can do both-taking out energy, and leaving only footprints. Critics of increased exploration and production ignore the remarkable technological advances in the last 10 years that have dramatically decreased the environmental impact of oil and gas exploration.”
Source: Mike Allen, Washington Post, p. A7 Oct 1, 2000

Can’t sue our way to clean air & water--work with industry

Bush yesterday announced his first environmental initiative: to quicken the cleanup and redevelopment of polluted industrial sites known as brownfields. Bush said that under his plan, state and local governments would work with private industry to develop new environmental standards, rather than battling them in the courtroom. “The government cannot sue its way to clean air and water,” Bush said.
Source: Audrey Hudson, Washington Times, p. A4 Apr 4, 2000

Keep fed enviro role but give money & flexibility to states

Bush unveiled proposals yesterday prescribing flexible standards and technology as the best antidote for pollution and blight. “Prosperity will mean little if we leave to future generations a world of polluted air, toxic lakes and rivers, and vanished forests,” Bush said.
He pledged, if elected, to eliminate red tape and give states the money and regulatory flexibility to clean up hundreds of similar sites on an accelerated schedule. “The solution is not to eliminate the federal role in protecting the environment,“ he said, ”the solution is reform--reform that sets high standards.“
Bush argued that rigid, complex regulations can be obstacles to cleaner cities. ”[Texas] didn’t wait for Al Gore to wave his magic wand to clean up our environment,“ he said. ”We cleaned it up ourself, and out state’s the better for it.“
Source: Washington Post, p. A6 Apr 4, 2000

Base enviro decisions on science & market-driven solutions

Source: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Keep drilling; keep dams; keep private property

Source: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Cooperate with industry, instead of lawsuits & regulations

Bush’s environmental record is [premised on his] relationship with industrial leaders. As an advocate of limited government, Bush said the best way to achieve clean air & water was “to work with local jurisdictions using market-based solutions and not try to sue our way or regulate our way to clean air & water.” His aides say Bush has pursued a cooperative approach that emphasizes voluntary solutions instead of government mandates, balancing the needs of industry with the need for clean air & water.
Source: New York Times, p. A1 Nov 9, 1999

Opposes Kyoto treaty, ESA, & other intrusive regulations

Bush opposes an agreement signed in Kyoto, Japan, that establishes emission targets for industrial nations. In the past he has criticized federal regulation, particularly when he regards it as too intrusive. In his 1994 campaign for governor, he lashed out against the Endangered Species Act as overly intrusive on landowners.
Source: New York Times, p. A20 Nov 9, 1999

Other candidates on Environment: George W. Bush on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
Al Gore
Bill Clinton
Jesse Ventura
Ross Perot
Ralph Nader
Pat Buchanan
John McCain
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
School Choice
Social Security
Tax Reform
War & Peace