1. As President, what would be your greatest contribution to the environment?
My greatest contribution to the environment will be to build a new and lasting partnership between the federal government and state governments, local communities, and private landowners to conserve our precious resources for future generations.
In Texas, our challenge has been to protect both the claims of nature and the legal rights of private property owners. And we have succeeded--not by antagonizing people, but by inviting them to become part of the solution. Through sound conservation policies, we turned landowners across the state into avid and knowledgeable conservationists. We proved that private land management is an effective way to ensure wildlife and habitat conservation. In the last seven years under the Clinton-Gore administration, we have seen millions of acres of land declared off-limits and designated national monuments--just like that, with no real public involvement and no regard for the people affected by these decrees. If elected President, I will forge a new partnership that will prevent that.
I also support full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, one of the most successful conservation programs in America's history. When this fund was created 35 years ago, the federal government made a promise to share these conservation funds with states and local communities, but since 1996, the federal government has reneged on its promise. That's why I support guaranteeing 50 percent of these funds for state and local conservation initiatives. I will also use federal conservation funds to repair and restore more than 37,000 parks nationwide.
As President, I will seek to make the same reforms I made in Texas. I was the first Texas governor to seek emission reductions from grandfathered (older, unpermitted) sources by signing legislation that will reduce emissions by more than 250,000 tons each year--the equivalent of removing 5.5 million cars from Texas roads. Texas is also one of the first states in the nation to require pollution reductions and permits from grandfathered utilities, as the result of legislation I signed. Under the plan, Texas will reduce nitrogen oxide pollution by 50 percent and sulfur dioxide emissions by 25 percent by 2003.
While I am very
proud of my record on protecting the environment in a way that does not
inhibit the growth of the economy, I believe we can still do more.
As part of my legacy as President, I want to change the way Americans view
and interact with the environment. That is why I am proposing a new
Energy Security and Environment Trust--a bold and unprecedented commitment
to achieve an even more prosperous economy, powered by cleaner, more reliable
energy, in a healthy, truly livable environment. First, we will modernize
and improve our nation's power systems. Second, we will do more to
protect our kids and our parents from the smog and soot that cause asthma.
Third, while we modernize our power systems and reduce pollution here at
home, we must aggressively pursue the global market for new energy technology
that is expected to reach $10 trillion in the next two decades, as other
countries also take steps to overcome pollution and the threat of global
warming. Fourth, as we reduce America's dependence on big oil and imported
oil for the long term--by finding new and better ways to produce clean,
affordable, and reliable energy here in America--we will work even more
closely with industry and labor to bring cleaner cars, trucks, and buses
to showrooms and streets around the world. Fifth, we will cut taxes
so families can start buying those 100-mile-per-gallon cars as they hit
the showrooms. Finally, we will do more than use the technologies
of the future--as a nation, we will aggressively invest in the skill and
creativity of the people who discover them, and the factory workers who
produce them. I know these challenges are not easy. And for me, they
have never been without controversy. But my commitment to the environment
has always run deeper than politics. We have to do what's right for
our earth because it is the moral thing to do. It involves all of
2. Do you support drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)?
I believe we can explore ANWR in an environmentally safe way. It's important for our country to reduce our reliance on foreign oil by increasing domestic production.
I strongly oppose
drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Tapping ANWR would
not only be environmentally damaging but also shortsighted--only deferring
the real need to address this nation's long-term energy security, while
forever despoiling an irreplaceable national treasure. As President,
I will continue to fight against those who would threaten the precious
natural habitats of ANWR with oil drilling, just as I have fought against
potentially environmentally damaging oil drilling off the coasts of Florida
3. How much of the budget surplus should be earmarked for the national park system's $6 billion repair and maintenance backlog?
As President, I will support alleviating the substantial repair and improvement backlog facing our national parks, wildlife refuges, and other public lands just as I have done in Texas. Under my leadership, Texas increased funding for the operation of state parks from $62.7 million to $85.8 million--a 37 percent increase. Also, we increased funding for capital programs for state parks from $28.7 million to $74.6 million--a 160 percent increase.
Our national parks are invaluable ecologically. They are also a shining achievement of our democracy, welcoming some 270 million visitors every year. I agree with the wise person who once said that the creation of the national park stands as one of the very best American ideas. And, as places cherished by American families, our parks are vital to the social and cultural life of the nation as well.
We are, however, in danger of "loving our parks to death." Some parks are more like parking lots. Trails and structures are in disrepair. And plant and animal life are suffering. All of this adds up to a less than fully enjoyable experience for American families and a serious ecological problem.
As President, I will attend to the pressing repair and maintenance issues
facing our parks. And in doing so, I will ensure that we marshal
the new resources this issue deserves. I reject the idea that we
should rob funds currently needed to purchase threatened ecosystems in
order to repair places already in the national trust. We can and
we must do both. As President, I will work hard to ensure that we
4. Do you support breaching the four dams on the lower Snake River as a means of restoring the river's runs of wild salmon?
I believe that we should not breach the dams in eastern Oregon and eastern Washington. We should aggressively promote new technologies to enhance the salmon, in ways that recognizes human concerns as well.
I am deeply committed to saving and restoring salmon in the Pacific Northwest. Extinction is not an option. Neither is massive economic dislocation. If elected, I will convene a Salmon Summit to bring together all interested parties to find a real solution to restore salmon while avoiding massive economic dislocation in the region. My approach will be based on solid science and will include states, tribes, local governments, private landowners, and other stakeholders, along the lines of our work to restore salmon on coastal rivers in Oregon and Washington.
To promote the recovery of salmon populations in the Columbia River basin, I support the administration's draft proposal to establish scientifically based performance measures to help gauge the status of stocks across the basin and the success of recovery efforts by federal, state, and local authorities. These performance measures will help determine whether more aggressive recovery efforts, such as dam breaching, are needed.
In addition, the administration is currently conducting engineering studies on the best way to remove the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams. This engineering effort will help restore the once prodigious Elwha River run and provide important information on dam removal.
However, addressing the hydropower issue is only one of several critical components for salmon recovery. Protecting and restoring habitat for salmon spawning and rearing is also a critically important component of salmon recovery. As part of my commitment to protect habitat for salmon and other species, I was pleased to announce two new national monuments, protecting the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River and the Cascade-Siskiyou Mountains of southern Oregon. Prohibiting logging and other development in inventoried roadless areas will also help protect the headwaters of rivers that are important for coastal salmon and for the Columbia and Snake River runs. In Oregon and Washington State, the roadless initiative will protect approximately 3.5 million acres of National Forest lands.
In addition to protecting federal lands, I support a comprehensive five-year
initiative announced by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest
Service to improve and restore salmon habitat on federal lands in 12 watersheds
in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.
We can also restore salmon through budget initiatives, such as the administration's new Pacific Coastal Salmon Fund. Last year we proposed $100 million in grant assistance to the states of Washington, Oregon, and California. This year's budget continues this important initiative as part of the Lands Legacy initiative.
In addition, I have pledged to provide funds to acquire sensitive lands
for salmon recovery through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund
and through voluntary programs such as the Conservation Reserve Enhancement
Program. If elected, I will include funds in my first budget request
for the innovative Cascades Conservation Partnership to acquire lands in
the central Cascade Mountains, protect salmon and roadless areas, and expand
opportunities for outdoor recreation.
5 .Do you support the Clinton's administration plan to protect more than 43 million acres of roadless national forest land?
I have a simple philosophy: Conservation must begin with conversation. I believe we must build cooperative conservation partnerships among federal and state governments, local communities, and private landowners. The White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire, for example, is a model of success that balances conservation efforts with a sound multiple-use policy. The Clinton-Gore Administration's top-down approach ignores successful local efforts like this one.
Yes. I support protecting unspoiled wild forests, including the Tongass. As Vice-President, I have fought to reform the U.S. Forest Service and to ensure that our forests are protected. I helped lead the administration's effort to implement the Pacific Northwest Forest plan, which protected millions of acres of priceless old-growth forests.
I am proud of our work to protect approximately 18 million acres of federal lands to date through wilderness legislation, national-monument designations, and historic land purchases such as the recent acquisitions of land in the California Desert. With the roadless initiative, we plan to protect an additional 43 million acres of roadless areas in the lower 48 states, for a total of 61 million acres by the end of this year. In addition, I have pledged to protect millions of acres of roadless areas in the Tongass National Forest from logging and development.
I strongly support protecting roadless areas in our national forests. They are jewels of our national landscape; their untamed beauty is the very heart of America's environmental frontier. If I am entrusted with the presidency, I will make it a national priority to preserve them as they are--no if's, and's, or but's about it.
No more destructive development and exploitation, no new road-building, and no timber sales in the roadless areas of our national forests should be permitted. I will insist that the Forest Service preserve these areas for their wildness, for old-growth forests and ancient groves, for clean water and wildlife, and for outdoor recreation, including fishing and hunting. The Forest Service must seek long-term preservation, not commercial development--and if I am elected President, it will.
Let me underscore that I will strongly oppose and, if necessary, veto
any effort in Congress to delay or rollback this initiative. If elected
President, I will fight to ensure that this initiative is fully carried
out and will strongly oppose efforts by Congress to weaken this historic
If elected, I will ensure total and permanent protection for the roadless
areas in the Tongass--America's great temperate rainforest. Protecting
roadless areas would ensure that no timber sales would occur in roadless
areas. The Tongass has been exploited and despoiled enough.
With your help, we will put in place safeguards to save this priceless
6. Do you support the Kyoto Protocol, under which developed countries would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 5 percent compared with 1990 levels?
Efforts to improve our environment must be based on sound science, not social fads. Scientific data shows that average temperatures have increased slightly during this century, but both the causes and the impact of this slight warming are uncertain. Changes in the earth's atmosphere are serious and require much more extensive scientific analysis. I oppose the Kyoto Protocol; it is ineffective, inadequate, and unfair to America because it exempts 80 percent of the world, including major population centers such as China and India, from compliance. America must work with businesses and other nations to develop new technologies to reduce harmful emissions.
I have worked throughout my career on the issue of global climate change. If elected, I will build on this work by establishing a National Energy and Environment Security Trust Fund to promote revolutionary change in our transportation, energy, and industrial infrastructure in order to improve our environment and combat climate change. In addition, I am proud of my role in negotiating the Kyoto Protocol--a historic first step in the effort the world must undertake to curb the tremendous threat to our way of life that climate change presents. I will also work to find the most effective way to increase fuel efficiency for the nation's vehicle fleet and to fight for the administration's Climate Change Technology Initiative (CCTI).
Let me reiterate that I will strongly advocate the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. As you know, the protocol includes a legally binding emissions-reduction target for the United States of 7 percent below 1990 levels by the years 2008-2012. That target represents a significant reduction in emissions from where we otherwise would be--on the order of a 25 percent reduction. This represents “binding, concrete emissions reductions” that I believe that the United States should pursue.
As I have consistently emphasized, however, ratifying the protocol and achieving these reductions will require that all of the provisions of the protocol--including market-based mechanisms like emissions trading, joint implementation, and the Clean Development Mechanism--be in full force and effect, and that key developing countries participate meaningfully in this effort. As President, I will work vigorously to ensure that all of these mechanisms are in place, that key developing countries are partnering with the United States in this effort, and that the United States is moving forward aggressively to meet the environmentally and economically responsible emissions-reduction targets set out for us in the Kyoto Protocol.
To promote partnerships with developing countries, the administration reached agreements this year with India and China. In March the United States and India signed an accord committing the United States to providing technical assistance to India to help it achieve specific national goals for renewable energy and energy efficiency. The United States and India also pledged to expand cooperation on climate change and called for a new dialogue between developed and developing countries on climate change. In May China expressed its openness to this new dialogue and the importance of addressing the challenges of climate change.
This year Congress is seeking to enact appropriations bills that include
legislative riders that would prohibit the administration from implementing
the Kyoto Protocol. I strongly oppose these riders as harmful and
unnecessary and will fight to have them dropped from the bills.
7. What is the best use of the $900 million Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)? Are there specific lands you would set aside?
I will seek to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund--to its authorized level of $900 million. I will propose that half of those funds be devoted to state and local conservation. In spending the federal portion of the LWCF, I will require that federal land purchases be made from willing seller, and that any federal conservation initiative include the input and participation of local, affected communities and stakeholders.
I will emphasize the use of a wide range of innovative conservation
tools beyond traditional land acquisition, including technical and financial
assistance to landowners, rehabilitation of existing land holdings, conservation
easements, and the purchase of development rights.
Commercial logging of forestland is not the only threat to the integrity of our national forests. Logging and development of private lands within our forests can threaten the ecological integrity of federal lands. That is why I support the administration's Lands Legacy initiative to help provide funding to bring threatened tracts of private land within national-forest boundaries.
By fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, we can acquire key inholdings [private land surrounded by publicly owned land] in our national forests such as the majestic Baca Ranch in New Mexico and the “checkerboard” inholdings in the Central Cascade range of Washington State. If elected, I will provide federal funds to support the Cascade Conservation Partnership in my first budget request to Congress.
In addition, through grants to states for land acquisition and the Forest
Legacy Program, I will lead the fight to provide states with funds to protect
forested lands outside national forests. To build on the Lands Legacy
initiative, I have proposed expanded funding for open-space protection
and targeted conservation tax breaks for landowners who sell their land
© 2000 NASI
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