WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, issued the following statement today commemorating Earth Day 2005, and dispelling a clear myth espoused by environmental groups regarding the quality of the nation’s environment: “Today is the 35th Anniversary of Earth Day. While many on the environmental left will use this occasion of to attack the President and Republicans in Congress for political purpose, we can and should use this opportunity to highlight the significant environmental progress we have made over several decades. Under the leadership of President Bush and Republicans in Congress, the air has become cleaner, water purer, and our lands are better protected. All Americans should be proud of these accomplishments.” Inhofe cites declining air quality as one clear myth environmental groups use to mislead the public. The fact is it is improving, and it continues to improve under President Bush: • Between 1970 and 2003, gross domestic product increased 176 percent, vehicle miles traveled increased 155 percent, energy consumption increased 45 percent, and U.S. population grew by 39 percent. During the same time period, total emissions of the six principal air pollutants dropped by 51 percent. (Source: EPA) • In addition, President Bush has called for passage of his Clear Skies legislation, the biggest emission reduction plan ever proposed by an American President. It would dramatically improve air quality by cutting power plants’ emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury, by approximately 70 percent. This historic proposal, based on the successful Acid Rain Trading Program, would bring cleaner air to Americans faster, more reliably, and more cost-effectively than programs under current law. “The focus is of this Administration, and our Committee, is on results. Using sound science and data to inform our decision-making to help make our air, water, and land cleaner. We should not engage in scare tactics, political fundraising, or endless litigation to hold up legislation and policies that can truly help build upon a decades long record of environmental improvement in the United States.” A full list of environmental accomplishments under the Bush Administration is attached. ### EARTH DAY April 22, 2005 Record of Environmental Progress: A Compilation of Accomplishments by the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee and the Bush Administration Over the last 30 years, our Nation has made great progress in providing for a better environment and improving public health. As the graph below demonstrates, pollution reduction and economic growth can go hand-in-hand. Between 1970 and 2003, gross domestic product increased 176 percent, vehicle miles traveled increased 155 percent, energy consumption increased 45 percent, and U.S. population grew by 39 percent. During the same time period, total emissions of the six principal air pollutants dropped by 51 percent. (Source: EPA) BUSH ENVIRONMENTAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS IMPROVING OUR AIR QUALITY · Clean Air Interstate Rule: In March 2005 EPA announced the finalization of a new rule which will require power plants to make the steepest emissions cuts in over a decade. The Clean Air Interstate Rule addresses pollution that moves from one state to another. · Clean Air Mercury Rule: For the first time ever, the Bush Administration will regulate mercury emissions from power plants. Emissions cuts will be achieved by using either a proven market-based, cap-and-trade approach that will better assure compliance and enforceability. The rule was finalized March 15, 2005 · Clean Air Nonroad Diesel Rule: In May 2004 the Bush Administration finalized a rule that will dramatically reduced pollution from heavy-duty diesel engines used in construction, agricultural, and industrial equipment. This will prevent up to 12,000 premature deaths, 8,900 hospitalizations, 15,000 heart attacks, 6,000 children’s asthma-related emergency room visits, 280,000 respiratory problems in children, and a million work days lost due to illness. · Clear Skies: (Received a tie-vote in committee) President Bush’s initiative, which has been introduced in Congress, would dramatically improve air quality by cutting power plants’ emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury, by approximately 70 percent, more than any previous Presidential clean air initiative. This historic proposal, based on the successful Acid Rain Trading Program, would bring cleaner air to Americans faster, more reliably, and more cost-effectively than programs under current law. PROMOTING LAND CONSERVATION AND STEWARDSHIP · Brownfields Program: President Bush signed historic bipartisan brownfields legislation in 2002, accelerating the cleanup of abandoned industrial sites, known as brownfields to better protect public health, create jobs, and revitalize communities. · Healthy Forests Initiative: In 2003 key provisions from the President’s Healthy Forests Initiative were signed into law, helping restore the health and vitality of forests and rangelands, and helping reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires by prioritizing hazardous fuels reduction projects. Since 2001, Interior and Agriculture have removed hazardous fuels from nearly 10 million acres, roughly twice the previous pace. This is benefiting communities and wildlife habitats. · A New Strategy for Increasing Wetlands Acres and Quality: On Earth Day 2004, the President announced an aggressive new national goal—moving beyond a policy of “no net loss” of wetlands to achieve an overall increase of wetlands in America each year. The goal is to create, improve, and protect at least three million wetland acres over the next five years in order to increase overall wetland acres and quality. · National Parks- Restoring the Quality of Our Cultural, Natural and Historic Resources: At $1.8 billion, the National Park Service operations budget is 20 percent higher than when President Bush took office and has more funds per employee, per acre, and per visitor than any time in its history. Additionally, for the first time in history, the National Park Service will have a full facility condition assessment and a facility condition index to prioritize ongoing maintenance needs and avoid the type of backlog created in the 1990s. · Helping America’s Farmers Conserve their Lands: The Farm Bills that was signed into law by President Bush enhances conservation and environmental stewardship. Under this Administration, funding has nearly doubled for these effective programs. The Farm Bill conservation programs are providing more than $40 billion over a decade to restore millions of acres of wetlands, protect habitats, conserve water, and improve streams and rivers near working farms and ranches. · Increased Funding for Cooperative Conservation: The President has created three new programs—a Landowner Incentive Program, Private Stewardship Grant Program, and Conservation Challenge Cost-Share Program. Through these programs, the Bush Administration has removed invasive exotic species, planted native grasses, restored millions of acres of habitat, and conserved limited water resources to benefit fish and other species. · More Opportunities for Hunting and Fishing: The Bush Administration has opened more than 60 new hunting and fishing programs at National Wildlife Refuges; The Department of the Interior has executed one agreement with 17 major sportsmen’s group to improve hunting and fishing access to Federal lands and another agreement to improve access for disabled sportsmen. · President’s Initiative Against Illegal Logging: In July 2003, Secretary of State Powell launched the President’s Initiative Against Illegal Logging to assist developing nations in combating illegal logging, including the sale and export of illegally harvested timber, and in fighting corruption in the forest sector. The initiative represents the most comprehensive strategy undertaken by any nation to address this critical sustainable development challenge, and reinforces the leadership role of the United States in taking action to counter the problem and preserve forest resources that store carbon. IMPROVING OUR COASTAL REGIONS AND OCEAN CONSERVATION · A Strong Commitment to Clean Beaches: In April 2004, the Administration announced its commitment to further protect the water quality of the nation’s beaches and to ensure compliance with the Beaches, Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act of 2000. The Administration’s Clean Beaches strategy includes a Clean Beaches Plan, grants to states for beach monitoring and notification programs, technical guidance, scientific studies, and federal water quality standards to backstop state and territorial efforts where necessary. · Restoration of Marine Ecosystems: In close cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and state and local governments, the National Park Service has begun restoring marine ecosystems. New management practices, networks of marine reserves, and natural area research have been established to restore coral reefs, kelp forests, and other diverse communities of marine life. IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF OUR WATER & RESOLVING WATER CRISES · Substantially Increased Funding for the Great Lakes: The Great Lakes themselves are the largest system of fresh surface water on Earth, containing roughly 18 percent of the world supply. In May 2004, President Bush signed an Executive Order establishing the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force, which, under EPA’s leadership, brings together ten Agency and Cabinet officers to provide strategic direction on federal Great Lakes policy, priorities and programs. · Water 2025: The Water 2025 Initiative helps states, tribes and local communities improve conservation, implement efficiencies, and monitor water resources. In some cases, collaborative approaches and market-based transfers can use water banks or other means to meet emerging needs. Federal investments in research and development will provide more affordable water treatment technologies, such as desalination, to increase water supplies in critical areas. United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works 108th Congress Accomplishments Chairman James M. Inhofe Environmental Accomplishments “As Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I have worked to build upon the remarkable environmental progress we’ve made over the last three decades. It is essential to recognize that achieving positive environmental results and promoting economic growth are not incompatible goals.” Senator Inhofe The Captive Wildlife Safety Act (Signed into Law): Extended the protections of the Lacey Act which prohibits the import, export, transport, sale or acquisition of “prohibited wildlife species” by including live lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars and cougars. This will crack down on irresponsible owners of large exotic “pet” cats who do not have the knowledge or resources to properly and safely care for the animals, while protecting their ownership by licensed zoos and other credible organizations. The Marine Turtle Conservation Act (Signed into law): built on the existing success of multinational species conservation funds to support the conservation of threatened and endangered sea turtles. This fund is expected to be leveraged with private matching funds and is aimed at conserving species habitat outside U.S. borders, thus protecting conservation investments made on U.S. soil. The Migratory Bird Treaty Reform Act (Signed into law): served to restore the historical application of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to protect native migratory birds through treaties between the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, and Russia. The Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act (Signed into Law): extends the authorization of the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program until fiscal year 2019. This program utilizes a variety of funding sources, including excise taxes on fishing tackle and trolling motors, import duties, motor boat and small engine fuel sales and interest from the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund to further various conservation, boating safety and outreach activities. National Wildlife Refuges (Signed into Law): The National Wildlife Refuge System is a network of lands and waters administered for the conservation, management and where appropriate, the restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States. Recognizing the important benefit of preserving these resources for present and future generations and to further the conservation efforts being made at certain sites throughout the country, Chairman Inhofe and the Environment and Public Works Committee passed bills that too, became law, to expand refuge boundaries at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, and Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. Chairman Inhofe was also instrumental in ensuring the continued operation of the successful Mingo Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center by transferring operations from the Fish and Wildlife Service to the Forrest Service. Since 1982, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have maintained a volunteer program throughout the Refuge System, federal fish hatcheries and other field and administrative offices. Volunteers play a vital and growing role in the operation of many units within the Refuge System, assisting in education, habitat management, maintenance, research and public use. From the inception of the program, the number of volunteers has increased from 4,251 to 44,000 volunteers. The hours of service have grown as a result from 128,000 to 1.5 million, and volunteers contribute time equal to that of 721 full-time employees. Recognizing their contributions, Chairman Inhofe was proud to pass the National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer Act to reauthorize this successful volunteer program. Reauthorize the U.S. Institute for Environment Conflict Resolution (Signed into Law): Reauthorizes the United States Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution. EPA Ombudsman Reauthorization Act (Signed into Law): The Ombudsman Reauthorization Act of 2003 (S. 515) expands the duties of the EPA Ombudsman to include assisting citizens in resolving problems relating to any program or requirement under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), as well as any other program administered by the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. This bill will help establish the independence of the EPA Ombudsman. National Estuaries Program Reauthorization Act (Signed into Law): The goal of the National Estuary Program (NEP) is the promotion of comprehensive conservation and management plans (CCMPs) for estuaries of national significance through the collaborative voluntary efforts of federal, state, local, non-profit and private interests. Today, the NEP includes 28 estuaries in 18 States and Puerto Rico. All 28 estuary programs are in the process of implementing their CCMPs. POPS Treaty (Passed the Committee): S. 1486 was crafted to allow for the implementation of three related international agreements regarding chemicals. Enactment of this legislation is necessary for the United States to become a party to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, the LRTAP POPs Protocol, and the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade MTBE/Reformulated Fuels (part of Energy Bill) (Passed the Senate): A provision was attached in conference that provided liability protection against lawsuits claiming MTBE a defective product. This provision had no impact on liability for negligence or other similar action -only providing protection against "defective product" lawsuits. Given that EPA approved MTBE and effectively mandated its use, the liability provision was necessary to combat a flood of frivolous lawsuits. Underground Storage Tank Compliance Act (Passed the Senate): The bill seeks to improve the compliance of underground storage tanks nationwide. It provides resources for the cleanup of tanks and improves leak prevention by focusing on onsite tank inspections and underground storage tank owner/operator training programs. Additional Resources: · 2004 Bush Earth Day Fact Sheet: President Announces Wetlands Initiative on Earth Dayhttp://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040422-1.html · White House website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/environment/ Ask the White House: Jim Connaughton http://www.whitehouse.gov/ask/20041022.html Environment and Public Works Website www.epw.senate.gov ###