THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
VICE PRESIDENT GORE CALLS ON CONGRESS TO FUND ENVIRONMENTAL PRIORITIES, DROP ANTI-ENVIRONMENTAL RIDERS Also Releases State-By-State Environmental Funding Figures Under President's 1999 Budget
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Vice President Gore called on Congress today to fully fund the Administration's environmental priorities and to renounce the use of legislative "riders" to roll back environmental protections.
Speaking at the White House, where he was joined by key Democratic lawmakers and the leaders of several environmental organizations, the Vice President put Congress on notice that the Administration will not tolerate riders that "do unacceptable harm to our environment or threaten public health."
"We're here today for one simple reason," the Vice President said, "to tell the congressional majority that it's high time that they deliver the strong environmental protections Americans want and deserve -- instead of standing in the way."
President Clinton's 1999 budget proposes increased funding for several environmental priorities -- increases of nearly $1 billion over five years for critical construction, maintenance, and repair at national parks and other public lands; nearly $600 million over five years for acquisition of scenic and natural areas; $568 million to begin implementing the Administration's $2.3 billion Clean Water Action Plan; $600 million to speed cleanup of toxic Superfund sites; and a five-year, $6.3 billion package of tax and research incentives to combat global warming. The House and Senate budget resolutions do not fund most of these proposed increases.
The Vice President also denounced the practice of attaching anti-environmental riders to unrelated legislation, often at the last minute, with no opportunity for debate. Last year, for instance, disaster relief for flood victims was held hostage to a rider that would have allowed road-building in national parks. The Administration stood firm, and the rider ultimately was dropped.
"Today, we are putting Congress on notice: We will not tolerate stealth tactics that do unacceptable harm to our environment or threaten public health," the Vice President said. "In the past, such actions have led to vetoes. They've led to government shutdowns. Congress should remember these precedents before trying to rob the American people of our precious environmental protections in the dead of night."