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Public Papers - 1992 - April

Statement on Earth Day

1992-04-22

Earth Day, April 22, is an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to leaving a better quality of life for future generations. But I believe we must make every day Earth Day. A clean environment requires action from both Government and citizens. I believe that we can have both economic growth and a cleaner, safer environment. Sound policies do not force us to choose between the two.

In just 3 years, this administration has:

d

Proposed, negotiated, and signed into law a new Clean Air Act that will cut sulfur dioxide emissions in half, reduce toxic air emissions by 90 percent, and clean up smog in cities across America;

d

Established a moratorium until at least the next century on oil and gas drilling off the coasts of California, south Florida, Washington, Oregon, and New England;

d

Led the world by proposing to phase out CFC's and other ozone-depleting substances by the end of 1995, and taken legislative action to put the U.S. 42 percent ahead of the internationally required phaseout schedule;

d

Proposed to add over billion in new lands to America's parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and recreation lands;

d

Won international agreements to prevent hazardous waste from being illegally dumped in developing countries, to ban ivory imports, to ban large-scale driftnet fishing, and to protect Antarctica;

d

Increased funding sharply for implementing and enforcing environmental laws (including a 53-percent increase in EPA's operating budget), for Superfund, for cleaning up Federal facilities, for protecting wetlands habitat, and for parks and recreation;

d

Signed an Executive order requiring Federal Agencies, which generate 20 percent of the Nation's solid waste, to recycle paper, plastic, metals, glass, used oil, lead acid batteries, and tires;

d

Made polluters pay the cost of cleanup. The Justice Department and EPA have collected more fines and penalties in the first 3 years of this administration than during the previous 18-year history of the EPA.

But our work is not finished. I have called on Congress to take the following actions this year:

d

Enact balanced national energy legislation providing for increased energy conservation and environmentally responsible energy production, transmission, and use;

d

Establish a U.S. Department of the Environment; and

d

Increase budgets for environmental and natural resource programs, as requested in my budget. Last year, Congress cut my budget requests for Superfund and for America the Beautiful, which includes funding for parks, forests, wildlife refuges, outdoor recreation, and our program to plant one billion trees a year across the country.

These measures would build upon our recent progress and provide continuing momentum to achieve what Americans want in the months and years ahead, environmental improvement and economic growth.

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