Bush's responses - Ballot 2000



OUR QUESTIONS

Global warming
Scientific research is increasingly documenting that greenhouse gases are contributing to global warming. What efforts do you think should be made in the United States to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being generated? Are you in favor of the United States ratifying the Kyoto Protocol -- negotiated in 1997 as an amendment to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change?

Alternative energy sources
What efforts would your administration make to reduce the United States' dependence on fossil fuels and promote the use of alternative energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines? What is your position concerning the government's proper role in developing lower emission vehicles and alternative fuels for automobiles?

MTBE contamination of drinking water supplies
In 1979, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reasoned that replacing lead in gasoline with the fuel oxygenate methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) would result in cleaner vehicle emissions. However, EPA officials failed to consider that in the process, MTBE would contaminate drinking water supplies, such as lakes, underground aquifers and urban wells, around the United States. What actions will your administration take to handle this mounting threat to our nation's drinking water supplies? Do you think the use of MTBE should be phased out, and, if so, what type of fuel additive should be substituted in its place?

Clean water
Our largest remaining source of surface water pollution is stormwater runoff from farm fields, animal feeding operations and city streets. As president, what type of legislation would you support and promote to address this problem?

Brownfields
The Clinton administration has been giving high priority to the redevelopment of brownfields -- idled or underutilized industrial or commercial facilities stigmatized by real or perceived environmental contamination. The U.S. General Accounting Office recently estimated that approximately 450,000 exist throughout our nation. What efforts does your administration intend to take to clean up and revitalize U.S. brownfields in order to put these blighted sites back into productive use?

EPA - 2001 Budget
How much should EPA receive in funding for fiscal year 2001, including EPA's enforcement budget? Please list a specific amount, specify, if any, funds dedicated to particular functions within EPA, and give your reason(s) for advocating that specific funding level.

Appointment of EPA administrator
What qualifications do you think are important for an EPA Administrator to have in order to lead the agency effectively and protect the nation's environment? Please list the names of any potential appointees to this position that you are considering at this time. What actions do you think the next EPA Administrator should take to improve environmental protection, while offering greater flexibility and cost-savings to U.S. industry?

Public lands
This nation's 630 million acres of public land consists of parks, wildlife refuges, national forests and lands managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. What is your policy concerning the future management of U.S. public lands? What is your policy concerning the government's role in relation to the nation's remaining unprotected wildlands?



THE RESPONSES

1. Global Warming & the Kyoto Protocol
Efforts to improve our environment must be based on the best science. Scientific data show 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 from compliance, including major population centers such as China and India. As President, I will work for a comprehensive, fair and effective agreement - one that harnesses the power of the marketplace and encourages international efforts to develop the technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I believe reductions in global pollution through market-based mechanisms, such as the use of appropriately-structured pollution credit trading, have worked in the past and can work in the future.

Policies like the Kyoto Protocol also result in an increase in the cost of gasoline, home heating oil, natural gas and electricity. Drastic fuel price increases would be necessary for the U.S. to comply with the Kyoto Protocol agreed to by the Clinton-Gore Administration. That treaty would impose high and unfair costs on the U.S. economy without protecting the climate. That's why there is strong bipartisan opposition to it.

Scientific models linking carbon dioxide emissions to global warming are controversial, but they agree on two things. First, emissions from China, India, and other developing nations are as important as emissions from the U.S. Second, these models imply that stabilizing climate would require dramatic cuts in global carbon dioxide emissions, cuts the world cannot afford without radically new technologies. But developing nations and new technology are ignored in the Kyoto Protocol. Accepting Kyoto and raising fuel prices would hurt American families without cutting global carbon dioxide emissions. Instead, we must negotiate a new agreement in which the developing nations are full partners, new technology is central, and the power of the marketplace is harnessed.

America must work with businesses and other nations to develop new technologies to reduce harmful emissions. I support investing in technologies that rely on clean, abundant, renewable energy sources, as well as the development of cleaner cars and cleaner-burning fuels and alternative sources of fuel and new fuel alternatives.

As Governor of Texas, I've taken steps to reduce harmful, ozone-forming pollution. In 1999, I signed two landmark clean air bills that will reduce industrial air emissions an estimated 250,000 tons annually - the equivalent of removing 5.5 million cars from Texas roads and highways. One of those new laws mandates reductions of nitrogen oxide (by 50 percent) and sulfur dioxide (by 25 percent) from older ("grandfathered") power plants by 2003. This law - which the Environmental Defense Fund calls this law "the strongest in the nation" - also requires that new renewable and clean sources of energy be built, making Texas the largest market for renewable energy in the country.

2. Alternative Energy Sources
Today we have a federal system that encourages Americans to do just the bare minimum, that does not reward innovation or real results. As President, I will set high environmental standards and clear environmental expectations, and I will work to tear down regulatory barriers to innovation and provide market-based incentives to develop the new technologies for Americans to meet - and exceed - those standards.

One of the best ways to encourage clean, efficient and affordable energy technologies is through the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit. As President, I will make the R&D tax credit permanent, which will increase private sector innovation, boost productivity, and create more jobs. A recent study found that a permanent tax credit would generate $41 billion more in new R&D spending over 13 years and provide a 31% return on investment.

The federal government can encourage the use of cleaner fuels by working with companies seeking long term, "green energy" solutions. The deregulation bill I signed in Texas encourages investment in renewable and green power generation. As President, I will encourage the development and use of cleaner burning fuels and cars, and that's why I support the Tier II standards. I believe the federal government should encourage companies that are looking for long term, green energy solutions.

The electric deregulation bill I signed in Texas requires that new renewable and clean sources of energy be built - making Texas the largest market for renewable energy in the country. Electric deregulation at the federal level is an important issue, affecting every state and every customer in the country. The federal government plays an important role due to the interstate nature of the transmission grid and other federal tax issues. It should provide incentives- not roadblocks- for states to enact utility deregulation. Electric deregulation will increase competition and foster innovation, resulting in lower prices and better service for consumers. It will spark demand for new, customer friendly technologies, including distributive generation.

I believe that markets - not government - should set consumer prices. The failed energy policies of the 1970s proved that government distorts prices when it intervenes, causing severe long-term consequences to both consumers and the energy industry. Deregulation will lower prices and improve service. I also believe we have an obligation to help those most vulnerable to fluctuations in market prices. I support the Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and have effectively utilized these emergency funds as Governor of Texas.

I also believe that natural gas will play an important role in helping America reduce its dangerous dependence on foreign oil and meet its energy needs in the 21st century. Because natural gas is hemispheric in nature, it's not subject to global supply disruptions or the whims of OPEC. It is also environmentally friendly, releasing fewer greenhouse gases and criteria pollutants per energy unit than other fossil fuels. In addition, a majority of incremental electric generation under construction is gas-fired, providing an important role in electric deregulation efforts nationwide.

Finally, I believe the federal government can serve as a model for the private sector by encouraging greater energy efficiency in its operations. Through Executive Order 13123, the federal government will demonstrate whether this model for measuring energy efficiency is effective and whether and how it could be utilized in the private sector.

3. MTBE Contamination of Drinking Water Supplies
Americans should never have to choose between clean air and clean water. We must have both. I believe the Environmental Protection Agency should work cooperatively with states where groundwater is contaminated by MTBE to allow them to opt out of MTBE use. To clean our air, I also support the development and use of cleaner-burning fuels and new fuel alternatives.

4. Clean Water
I believe we need to make greater progress in cleaning America's rivers, lakes, and drinking water supplies. Recent figures confirm that non-point-source pollution accounts for more than half of the remaining water pollutants.

Successfully addressing runoff pollution will require high federal standards based on the best science and a focus on achieving real improvements in water quality. Citizens and local communities should be given the resources, the flexibility, and the incentives to get the job done. We must also significantly improve the quantity and quality of information to support these changes. Better information is essential for determining whether our efforts are having the desired results. Above all, we need to unleash and reward technological innovation. For example, the states, with EPA support, need to provide incentives for farmers to innovate and develop the best management practices to reduce runoff.

5. Brownfields
The federal Superfund statute has prevented the cleanup and redevelopment of the nation's 450,000 brownfields by scaring away potential investors and developers who fear being caught in the maze of Superfund regulation, liability, and litigation. In response, 35 states, including Texas, have developed innovative brownfield cleanup programs. In 1995, I supported and signed legislation that created the Texas Voluntary Cleanup Program, which has resulted in cleanups at over 450 brownfields and restored more than $200 million to property tax rolls.

As President, I will seek meaningful environmental reform designed to strengthen the successful state and local approach to brownfield cleanup and redevelopment. I will direct the EPA to establish high standards for brownfield cleanups that will provide more flexibility than the current Superfund standards; provide redevelopers with protection from federal liability at brownfields cleaned up under state programs that meet high federal standards; focus the efforts of the federal government on developing cleanup techniques and new cleanup technologies; reform the Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund by cutting red tape and block granting funds to the states; extend permanently the Brownfield cleanup tax incentive that is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2001.

6. EPA - 2001 Budget

As President, I will work to ensure the necessary resources for vigorous environmental and natural resource protection. As Governor, I have increased state spending on environmental protection in Texas. During my tenure, state environmental protection and natural resource dollars increased almost 30 percent.

7. Appointment of EPA Administrator
It would be presumptuous for me to begin naming or omitting candidates from my Administration at this point. I can assure you that I will appoint qualified people from all walks of life. My management philosophy is to hire the best people for the job and then trust them to do what's right.

A successful 21st century environmental policy requires a leader who can reach across partisan lines and bridge political differences. The environmental changes facing us are contentious issues that require strong leadership. As President, I will be committed to improving the quality of our environment, and will work with both Republicans and Democrats to achieve our important environmental goals. Our current 30-year-old regulatory regime has produced immense benefits, but experience has taught that it has serious shortcomings as well. It encourages Americans to do just the bare minimum, it breeds wasteful litigation, and it fails to reward innovation and real results.

My EPA Administrator will understand, as I do, that the United States is entering a new era of environmental policy that requires a new philosophy of public stewardship and personal responsibility. America has entered a new era that requires a new philosophy of public stewardship and personal and corporate responsibility. Government must inspire public stewardship, and all Americans must be careful and conscientious in using our natural resources. Further environmental progress will require smarter policies that build on what we have learned, producing a new era when high federal standards are driven by the best science. I favor a results-oriented approach that rewards innovation and results, a system which recognizes that economic prosperity and environmental protection can and must go hand-in-hand. As President, I will set high environmental standards and clear environmental expectations, and I will work for market-based incentives and innovations to develop the new technologies and approaches for A mericans to meet - and exceed - those standards.

8. Public Lands
Since the days of Teddy Roosevelt, there has been a national consensus that Americans have a common interest in protecting our precious natural resources. If I am elected President, I will speak for that great national goal. As an avid outdoorsman, I know all our prosperity as a nation will mean little if we leave the future generations a world of polluted air, toxic waste and vanished wilderness and forests.

The federal government has an important role to play in conservation - particularly in managing our national forests, park system, wilderness areas, and national wildlife refuges. Problems arise, however, when leaders reject partnership, and rely solely on the power of Washington - on regulations, penalties, and dictates from afar. My philosophy is simple: conservation must begin with conversation. The federal government and the states, local communities and private landowners, must build conservation partnerships, respect and work with one another to preserve our natural heritage. We need full public participation, and conservation decisions should be based on a balanced approach to responsible stewardship that encourages multiple use, including recreation. I support multiple use policies and will give states and local communities a meaningful say in how these lands are managed to allow for conservation, recreation and economic development.

I also believe that federal conservation resources should be concentrated on better management of our existing federal lands, where the cost of eliminating the maintenance and improvements backlog exceeds $12 billion. I will use federal conservation funds to repair and restore more than 37,000 parks nationwide. Improving our natural environment has been my record as Governor of Texas, where I enacted a budget that increased spending on environmental protection by 29 percent. And I will commit adequate resources for environmental protection when I am President.

In my Administration, the federal government will provide the scientific and financial resources and incentives to help states, local communities and private landowners protect and conserve out outdoor heritage. I will urge reinvestment in America's natural resources by fully funding to $900 million the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), 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% of these LWCF funds for state and local conservation initiatives. I will also provide matching grants to states to help private landowners enhance habitat for wildlife and rare species, while continuing to engage in traditional land management practices. In addition, I will establish a Private Stewardship Grant Program to provide financial reso urces on a competitive basis to individuals and local groups engaged in land and wildlife conservation. Finally, I will seek a 50 percent capital gains tax cut for private landowners who willingly sell their land for conservation purposes, rather than for development.

Our legacy should be an unwavering commitment to preserve and conserve our treasured lands - a commitment I intend to keep. As President, I will build fruitful conservation partnerships between the involved parties to protect and conserve our natural resources. The people of New Hampshire should be allowed a meaningful say in how their forest is managed. The White Mountain National Forest 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.

America has entered a new era of environmental policy that requires a new philosophy of public stewardship and personal and corporate responsibility. Government must inspire public stewardship, and all Americans must be careful and conscientious in using our natural resources. I am confident that economic prosperity and environmental protection can and must go hand-in-hand.

Click here to view Gore's unedited responses.

Click here to view Nader's unedited responses.

Click here to view Ballot 2000 introduction.

This article appeared in Environmental Protection, Volume 11, Number 9, October 2000, Page 26.

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2000 issue of Environmental Protection.

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