Live, Work, Play

During his tenure, President George W. Bush has made great strides in protecting the environment where we live, work, and play. Every year, President Bush requests exponentially higher levels of funding than previous Administrations have to preserve wildlife habitat, migratory bird stopovers, river and lake ecosystems, and to restore fish populations.

This year, the President has requested $44.9 billion, a $1.4 billion increase over last year, for environmental protection and natural resource conservation programs, including management, maintenance, and preservation of key forest, grassland, wetland and other vital wildlife habitat.

Protecting the Environment Where We Live

Since 1970, air pollution in the nation has declined 48% even though the population has increased by nearly 40%, our energy consumption has increase 42% and our economy has grown by 164%. This includes acid rain-causing emissions of sulfur oxides that have decreased 41% since 1980, and have declined 9% during the Bush Administration. Additionally, particulate matter that creates smog declined 17% from 2000 to 2002.

President Bush has worked hard to find a balance between reducing air pollution and not only protecting jobs, but ensuring that more jobs are created.

Reducing Air Pollution

The nonroad diesel rule will cut sulfur emissions from 3,400 parts per million today to 15 ppm, a 99% reduction, by 2010 from diesel engines used in agricultural, construction, and industrial equipment.
  • Emissions of soot and nitrogen oxide will be reduced over 90%..
  • The nonroad diesel rule will prevent 12,000 premature deaths and eliminate 280,000 respiratory attacks in children annually.
  • The rule will significantly help metropolitan areas reduce smog and ozone, and enable them to reach EPA-set attainment standards on ozone and particulate matter.
"When it becomes law, Governor Whitman's bold proposal will be the biggest public health step since lead was removed from gasoline more than two decades ago."
Richard Kassel, Natural Resources Defense Council.

The President's proposed Clear Skies Initiative will cut sulfur dioxide emissions 73%, nitrogen oxide emissions 67%, and mercury emissions 69% from power plants by 2018.
  • The Initiative calls for the use of the cap-and-trade method that allows companies to be innovative and flexible while curbing pollution and had a successful track record curbing sulfur dioxide in the 1990s.
  • Further, the Initiative calls for $50 billion to be invested in pollution controls in over 1,000 power plants
The Clean Air Interstate Rule will require coal-burning power plants to drastically cut emissions to reduce pollution and haze in downwind states. Sulfur dioxide (SOx) emissions, which also can contribute to acid rain, will be cut by almost 70% and nitrogen oxide (NOx) will be cut by 65% by 2015 in 29 states, particularly on the eastern states that are downwind from many midwestern power plants. These are the steepest emission cuts in more than a decade.

The Bush Administration put in place new guidelines on power plants, known as New Source Review, to enable companies to make major modifications and reduce emissions. These guideline improvements will remove regulatory obstacles and encourage the modernization of facilities and investments in new technologies. The programs includes:
  • Incentives for environmentally beneficial pollution control and prevention projects.
  • Clean unit provisions, to encourage the use of the best available technology; establishing actual emissions baselines
  • Plantwide Applicability Limits (PALs), stringent pollution caps that encourage modernization and provide operating flexibility.
  • Further, new initiatives to address routine maintenance, repair and replacement, debottlenecking, and aggregation are being put forward.
In February 2003, President Bush announced a plan to develop and construct a new zero-emissions power plant. The FutureGen Project is a $1 billion, ten-year venture to create a coal-fired power plant that will create hydrogen for other uses, such as hydrogen powered vehicles, as well as electricity, while releasing no air pollution. Through public-private partnerships, advanced technology, such as gasification, will be used to convert the coal to energy and hydrogen, while capturing and storing all emissions and greenhouse gases.

The Bush Administration launched a $1.7 billion initiative to develop environmentally friendly hydrogen fuel cells for as power sources for vehicles, homes and businesses. The hydrogen fuel initiative and the FreedomCar initiative are the first to form partnerships with private businesses to develop affordable hydrogen-powered vehicles and the necessary infrastructure. Hydrogen fuel cells release no air pollutants and will reduce the nation's dependence on foreign sources of oil.

Cutting Mercury Emissions

Despite what many environmental groups have claimed, President Bush's mercury rule is the first ever regulation to reduce mercury emissions in the United States. Currently, the United States has the lowest mercury emissions in the world, and the President's proposal will lower emissions even further.

The Clean Air Act Amendments, signed by President George H. W. Bush in 1990, required the Environmental Protection Agency to study and release a report on mercury impacts on the environment and public health. The EPA released its report in 1997, well past the Congressionally mandated deadline.

After the report's release, a bipartisan group of Senators urged EPA Administrator Carol Browner to release a plan to reduce mercury emissions. Finally, in December 2000, only hours after Al Gore had conceded the election, Browner announced that mercury would be classified as a toxic air pollutant, but offered no plan to reduce emissions.

The Bush Administration inherited the issue and set a first-ever regulation mandating 70% mercury emission reductions from power plants by 2018. This will reduce an estimated 14 tons of mercury nationwide, or 29%, by 2007.

Currently, the mechanism on how to achieve this reduction is under review and public comment. Whether a market-based, cap-and-trade approach (which was highly successful in reducing sulfur emissions that cause acid rain) or a command-and-control approach that would utilize Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) will be used is being considered.

Reducing Global Gas Emissions

The Kyoto Protocol is a controversial series of proposed goals, not a final plan of action. At this time, many nations have chosen not to sign the Kyoto Protocol.

President Bush is tackling this difficult and complex issue and is the first president to introduce a number of proposals and initiatives to improve air quality and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. President Bush's goal is to cut greenhouse gas intensity by 18% over the next eight years, the equivalent of taking 70 million cars off the road.

President Bush has proposed and received record funding levels for climate change research. He has requested $238 million for the Climate Change Research Initiative (CCRI) for 2005, a 40% increase. The Initiative seeks to eliminate the uncertainties over the causes and effects of climate change and determine a long-term solution to any problems. This funding will also be used to develop new technology and infrastructure for climate science modeling, better understand the impact of aerosols, and study the effects of carbon on our climate.

Almost $3 billion has been requested for the Climate Change Technology Program, which employs several federal agencies to speed research and development of emission-reduction technologies. Some of the larger programs include:
  • FutureGen, a first-of-its-kind power plant that burns coal to produce energy, but releases no gas emissions. Additionally, the plant will generate hydrogen as a byproduct, which could then be used as a fuel source.
  • An increased use of hydrogen as a fuel source and as a part of the FreedomCAR program, which will speed development of zero-emission automobiles and provide the necessary infrastructure, such as refueling stations.
  • An international project to develop fusion energy as a viable, clean and renewable energy source. Many nations, including the U.S., have pledged $5 billion for this project.
Recently announced, the Methane-to-Markets Partnership will work with businesses to harness the methane gas that is created as a byproduct of landfills nationwide, as well as some manufacturers. This natural gas will be harnessed as a renewable, clean alternative energy source. President Bush has already committed $53 million to the program, and the U.S. will soon be joined by other nations, including China, Mexico, and Australia, in a global program.

The International Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) charter, signed June 25, 2003, will provide leadership to countries on research and development of carbon sequestration technologies. Unlike the Kyoto protocol, China, India and Brazil joined the U.S. in signing the CSLF charter.

Further, the President's Committee on Climate Change Science and Technology released the Climate Change Science Program, a joint federal strategic plan to address long-term global climate issues. It is an unprecedented program involving 1,200 scientists and stakeholders from 35 countries. The Bush Administration has provided $103 million over two years expand new global observation technologies to accurately study the world's climate.

Climate VISION is a public-private partnership with a wide variety of industrial sectors, from power producers to manufacturers to refiners, coming together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"The Bush Administration's promotion of pro-jobs emission reduction and climate change policies are a strong foundation for increasing jobs, strengthening the economy and protecting the environment we cherish."
John Pritzlaff, founder and board member of TIDE -- a winner of the United Nations 2002 Sustainable Development Award at the World Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Bush Administration launched the Global Earth Observation System. This is the first time nearly 50 countries will coordinate data on global climate trends to map out, predict and understand changes in climate and ecosystems due to manmade and natural influences. The system will link ground, oceanic and satellite data on atmospheric, geological, and other trends and process them in one location. With this, nations will be able to accurately plan for any future climate changes for the first time, from agricultural impacts to the future spread of diseases.

"Ecosystems are the lifeblood of civilization. It's really important we monitor changes and put information in the hands of decision makers that is scientifically valid, so they can make sound decisions."
Mark Schaefer, NatureServe President, Washington Post July 26, 2004.

"From the point of view of weather and climate-sensitive economic sectors, this is one of the most important investments taxpayers can do to provide better information."
Ronald D. McPherson, American Meteorological Society Executive Director, Washington Post, July 26, 2004.

Pollution Reduction and Enforcement

In 2003, the Bush Administration reduced pollution by over 130% from the previous year, roughly 600 million pounds of pollutants. To facilitate this, approximately 700,000 facilities and businesses were assisted in pollution reduction.
  • Further, the Department of Justice recovered more than $203 million in civil penalties from polluters, almost three times as much as previous years.
  • To abate pollution, the Bush Administration relies on strict enforcement of current laws, ensuring that industries and businesses reduce pollutants, but also provides incentives to reduce pollution.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency partners with private companies, as well as states, communities, and other groups to enforce pollution laws and provide clean air and safe drinking water.
Preserving Water Supplies

President Bush has launched several far reaching initiatives not only to clean up our drinking water sources, but ensure that all stakeholders, including wildlife, farmers, residents, and tribes, have access to this dwindling resource.

In some areas, particularly the West, increasingly scarce water resources must be allocated to wildlife habitat, recreational use, irrigation, and home use. Water 2025 seeks to balance these demands and modernize water infrastructure systems, ensuring the availability of clean water in even the worst drought conditions. President Bush has requested $21 million, a $13.3 million increase, for these programs.
  • Water 2025 will prevent shortages through conservation, infrastructure modernization, and improved technology, such as desalinization.
  • It incorporates the needs of stakeholders and ensures state, local and tribal government input.
  • With proper planning and responsible allocation, water will be available for wildlife and recreation, as well as human consumption and agricultural irrigation.
"The Interior Department has a lot right with Water 2025. Over-allocation of water is a fundamental problem across the West. The region is growing, but a lot of water has been locked up...something has to change."
Steve Malloch, executive director of the Western Water Alliance, A Seattle-based group that includes Trout Unlimited and other conservation organizations. [Excerpted from an article in the Sacramento Bee]

The EPA's Targeted Watersheds Grant Program will provide $15 million in 2004 to protect the nation's lakes and rivers and help provide safe and clean drinking water. Since 2003, the Watershed Program has received more than $30 million in funding.
  • This funding will help protect 14 watersheds in 17 states from coast to coast.
  • The program encourages community-based programs and solutions to protect important drinking water sources, wildlife habitat and recreation areas.
The Small Watershed Dam Restoration is part of the Farm Security Act.
  • It allows for modern technology and conservation techniques to be used to update more than 10,000 small flood prevention dams. These dams have provided recreational and commercial opportunities for many regions.
  • The measure will ensure that the dams continue providing environmental and economic benefits, including flood controls that can destroy property and wildlife habitat.
The Water Quality Trading Policy will help the EPA more successfully and rapidly clean up rivers, streams, and lakes.
  • This public - private partnership solidifies existing regulations and safeguards, but allows states, tribes and businesses greater flexibility and incentives to reach these goals and comply with the Clean Water Act without compromising existing regulatory standards.
  • The policy allows for a cap and trade program to speed results, but requires that technological control requirements be met first.
For 2005, the President has requested a $53 million, 28%, increase for the Abandoned Mine Lands Program. This effort will go towards the cleanup of former coal mining sites that have been abandoned or forfeit by bankrupt companies.
  • These mines pose a threat to local waterways with waste and runoff, as well as a significant safety hazard for local residents.
  • The goal of the program is to cleanup the nation's abandoned coal mines in the next 25 years, almost twice as quickly as the former program.
Putting Americans To Work For The Environment

Cleaning Up Abandoned Industrial Sites

President Bush has been committed to cleaning up abandoned urban industrial sites, known as "brownfields," and turning them into productive economic sites. These sites can that threaten public health and are a blight on many communities.

The Brownfield Revitalization Act will help states, communities, and tribes clean up these sites, protecting the environment while revitalizing the local economy.
  • Last year, $73 million in grants was awarded for 176 projects in 44 states and tribal communities and overall funding increased from $98 million to $170 million. This year, President Bush has requested $210 million for the program.
  • With revitalization, brownfields are turned into productive businesses, stimulating the local economy through increased tax revenue and jobs.
  • This urban development also reduces sprawl and traffic congestion by limiting the development of suburban and rural open spaces, often called "greenfields."
Since 2001, nearly 1,200 contaminated sites have been cleaned up, a rate much faster than during previous years. This has created over 5,000 new jobs annually and led to new economic investment, key to the economies of urban areas.

National Energy Policy

President Bush developed the nation's first comprehensive energy plan to increase energy efficiency, reliability and balance environmental protection with job growth. The plan also invested in new sources of energy and renewable energy, while understanding that we cannot rapidly turn away from fossil fuel use. The President's plan would have stabilized energy and gas prices, as well as increased energy efficiency and developed new technology to enhance our country's energy sources.

The plan was estimated to cost roughly $10 billion over ten years. Of this, $6.3 billion was directed towards conservation plans and developing renewable energy, with over $4 billion of this amount is directed towards income tax credits for the purchase of hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles starting in 2002.

The plan also consisted of 105 proposals to refurbish U.S. energy policy. Of these proposals 42 concentrate on conservation, alternative fuels and renewable energy sources, 35 on increasing supply and domestic infrastructure, and 25 on increasing international energy stability.

While the President was able to enact a number of initiatives through executive order, much of his proposal was opposed by excessively partisan and intolerant environmental groups.

New Energy Sources

Overall, President Bush has requested $4.1 billion through 2009 for a broad array of renewable energy projects, including hybrid and fuel-cell cars, advanced solar heating systems, power from methane gas produced by landfills, and combined heat and power systems.

In February 2003, President Bush announced a plan to develop and construct a new zero-emissions power plant. The FutureGen Project is a $1 billion, ten-year venture to create a coal-fired power plant that will create hydrogen for other uses, such as hydrogen powered vehicles, as well as electricity, while releasing no air pollution. Through public-private partnerships, advanced technology, such as gasification, will be used to convert the coal to energy and hydrogen, while capturing and storing all emissions and greenhouse gases.

The Bush Administration launched a $1.7 billion initiative to develop environmentally friendly hydrogen fuel cells for as power sources for vehicles, homes and businesses. The hydrogen fuel initiative and the FreedomCar initiative are the first to form partnerships with private businesses to develop affordable hydrogen-powered vehicles and the necessary infrastructure. Hydrogen fuel cells release no air pollutants and will reduce the nation's dependence on foreign sources of oil.

Farmland Preservation

The Conservation Title of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act, also known as the Farm Bill, took monumental steps towards helping private landowners protect and preserve wildlife habit and open spaces from overdevelopment and overuse.
  • It contains many programs that encourage landowners to set aside farmland and wetlands, including the Conservation Reserve Program, the Wetlands Reserve Program and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
  • The measure will protect millions of acres of grassland, forests and wetlands for wildlife habitat and recreational use.
Since signing the measure in 2002, President Bush has allocated $8.92 billion for farmland and open space conservation through these programs.

Preserving The Environment Where We Play

National Park Improvements

By 2000, most national parks had fallen into disrepair due to a funding and maintenance backlog. In 2001, the President made a commitment to protect and restore these parks through the National Parks Legacy Project.
  • Our nation has 384 park units encompassing 83 million acres of wilderness, forestland and historic and cultural sites, and receives over 287 million visitors annually.
  • By 2006, the National Parks Legacy Project will maintain the parks' forests and rangelands and restore crumbling park infrastructure, particularly water and sewer infrastructure that threatens to pollute parks. Over 1,300 improvement projects have been completed or are currently underway.
  • President Bush has nearly tripled funding to protect and manage the parks' habitat and natural resources. This includes large funding increases to combat foreign invasive species that crowd out native plants and animals.
  • By 2005, the National Parks Service will employ 20,637 people, an increase of 829 since President Bush took office.
  • The President has requested $1.1 billion this year for our parks, 37% higher than funding received in 2001.
    • This is twice as much as requested in 1998 by the previous Administration.
    • The request also includes $77.6 million for the National Park Service Natural Resource Challenge to continue to study and monitor the environmental health of our national parks.
The President will meet his goal of $4.9 billion to improve our parks, including steps to protect visitors from the threat of terrorism. Since 2002, $3.9 billion has been allotted to eliminate the maintenance backlog.

"The President has more than kept his promise to eliminate the National Park maintenance backlog by providing $2.9 billion for this purpose in just his first two years. The entire backlog, of $4.9 billion, will have been funded by FY 2006,"
Douglas Wheeler, former National Executive Director, The Sierra Club.

Reducing Haze In Our National Parks

In addition to reducing greenhouse gases, the President's Clear Skies Initiative will reduce the haze and smog that is increasing over some national parks. Many environmentalists believe that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee is one of the nation's haziest parks.
  • The Clear Skies Initiative will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions 73%, nitrogen oxide emissions 67%, and mercury emissions 69% by 2018.
  • These emissions create the haze and smog that can be seen over some national parks, as well as acid rain that harms vegetation and turns bodies of water so acidic they can't support life.
The Bush Administration has also imposed a rule requiring the Best Available Retrofit Technology (or "BART" rule) to help guide states and localities in upgrading pollution controls at aging power plants and other industries. The rule will help states and localities more rapidly meet goals of pollution reduction.

"These are large reductions no matter how you look at it. The benefits are clearly there. We are in an area that will clearly benefit the most from the Clear Skies Initiative. When those reductions start to occur - and most of the improvements will be in the East - the Smokies will be downwind where those improvements are going to happen."
Jim Renfro, air quality specialist with Great Smoky Mountains National Park

"President Bush's Clear Skies proposal would be sufficient to stop damage here [in the Adirondack Mountains]. He is the first President to propose a comprehensive solution in the quarter-century we have known about acid rain."
Bernard Melewski, Acting Director, Adirondack Council.

"President Bush's Clear Skies proposal would be sufficient to stop damage here [in the Adirondack Mountains]. He is the first President to propose a comprehensive solution in the quarter-century we have known about acid rain."
Bernard Melewski, Acting Director, Adirondack Council.

Protecting Forests and Rangelands

Wildfires destroyed nearly eleven million acres of wildlife habitat over the past two years. The Healthy Forests Initiative establishes guidelines for treatment of over 70 million acres of forests and rangelands that are at extreme risk of catastrophic wildfires, a landmass larger than New England.
  • Catastrophic wildfires devastate wildlife habitat, sometimes even fusing the earth, and are not the forest rejuvenators they once were.
  • The Healthy Forests Initiative will treat and protect 20 million acres annually, including pristine wildlife habitat and valuable watersheds, from catastrophic wildfires.
  • President Bush has requested $760 million this year for wildland fire management.
An example of what the Healthy Forests Initiative seeks to prevent by streamlining the treatment and appeals process:
  • Several years ago, in an effort to protect forestland, nearby communities, and Denver's watershed, the U.S. Forest Service set in motion the South Platte Watershed Protection plan in conjunction with state and local officials.
  • However, due to a nearly 800-step bureaucratic process, two lawsuits by environmental groups and another lawsuit by a forestry company, it took three years for a plan to be approved.
  • But before the plan could be implemented, the Hayman fire occurred in this area, evacuating six thousand residents, polluting Denver's water supply, destroying 137,000 acres, including a large amount of old growth forest, and creating the worst air pollution in Denver's recorded history.
The Initiative establishes guidelines for treatment of forest and rangeland to prevent catastrophic wildfires thereby saving millions of acres of wildlife habitat and private property. It specifically protects old-growth forest, vital habitat from many species.
  • The Initiative uses as a base the guidelines of the bipartisan Western Governors Association Ten-Year Comprehensive Strategy and Implementation Plan. This plan was agreed to by local officials, forestry groups, environmental groups, and other stakeholders in May 2002.
  • Catastrophic wildfires are unnatural and are an environmental disaster on many levels. These fires obliterate wildlife habitat, pollute the air, causing respiratory distress. Ash and erosion pollute waterways and drinking water sources.
  • Forests need to be treated and thinned to prevent these catastrophic wildfires. Potential short-term harassment of wildlife must be weighed against long-term survival. It is better that a bald eagle nest be disturbed briefly by mechanical thinning than obliterated by a wildfire.
The Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture's Forest Service will have treated 9.5 million acres by the end of 2004. 2.7 million acres were treated in 2003 alone.

"After many years of fire suppression, much of America's National Forests have tree densities 10 to 20 times natural levels. These heavy fuel loads create potential for catastrophic fires. The Izaak Walton League believes there is a compelling need for a comprehensive stewardship program to reduce fuel loads on many of our national forests."
The Izaak Walton League

"The opposition of groups such as the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society has little to do with forest science and much to do with politics."
(Aug.23 2002) Joseph Perkins, San Diego Union-Tribune columnist

"By its words and its actions, the [Sierra Club] has shown what it really wants: The status quo, with virtually no logging, a handful of small thinning projects, and more devastating fires like those which swept Oregon and the rest of the West this summer."
(Sept 30, 2002) Portland Oregonian editorial

Wetlands Preservation and Restoration

Wetlands are an important part of our nation's ecosystem. They act as a buffer zone to filter out pollution and excess nutrients that may harm rivers, lakes or coastlines. Further, they are vital to migratory birds as a stopover, to fish and other aquatic species as breeding grounds, and are diverse wildlife habitats.
  • Wetlands also aid local economies, as they are popular recreation areas for 14 million American hunters, 35 million fishermen, and nearly 60 million migratory birdwatchers.
On Earth Day 2004, President Bush announced his Wetlands Initiative, the latest in a series of initiatives and funding proposals to restore and expand the nation's wetlands inventory. It includes:
  • Preservation and creation three million acres of wetlands over five years
  • Expansion of his mandated "no net loss" of wetlands into annual "net gains."
  • A FY05 budget request of $4.4 billion for a variety of wetlands programs, a $1.5 billion increase.
Several federal agencies oversee thirty separate programs to protect and restore the nation's wetlands. Some of these programs include:

The North American Wetlands Conservation Fund is allocated $54 million in the Administration's FY05 budget, an increase of $16.5 million to help private landowners protect wetlands on their property. Since its passage in 1989, the law is responsible for protecting and restoring over 8.7 million acres of wetlands.

The Wetlands Reserve Program dedicates $295 million to provide landowners with incentives, such as easements and cost-share payments. Enrollment in the program is doubled, from 1.075 million acres to 2.275 million acres.

The Wetlands Conservation Program ("Swampbuster") is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and works with farmers to ensure that wetlands on agricultural land are maintained and restored if damaged by agricultural activities.

The EPA's Five Star Restoration Program provides grants for public-private partnerships to help communities restore wetlands, riparian buffer zones and coastal habitats, such as marshland, and assist in long-term management of these habitats.

The Fish and Wildlife Service's "Partners in Wildlife" is a public-private partnership providing grants and management expertise to help landowners preserve wildlife habitat on private property.
  • In total, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has committed $47.2 million in grants to 19 states to protect wetlands. These public-private partnerships will also be aided by $132 million in state and private funding.
The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission meets several times a year to decide federal acquisition of key inland and coastal wetlands to add to the National Wildlife Refuge System to provide habitat, stopover areas and breeding grounds for migratory waterfowl. In 2003, over 6,000 acres were added to the System.

The Army Corps of Engineers is the lead agency in ensuring the "no net loss" wetlands. The Corps must conduct extensive environmental reviews before a wetland can be disturbed by adjacent activities or construction, and then ensure that any wetlands impact is mitigated by the creation of new wetlands.
  • The Corps is responsible for the restoration for the Florida Everglades, one of the world's most unique wetland ecosystems.
  • The agency has also begun efforts to restore Iraq's historic and culturally important wetlands on the Tigris River.
The Bush Administration reinforced an Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers rule concerning remote wetlands to protect those that are not adjacent to bodies of water, preserving thousands of acres of "isolated" wetlands annually.
  • Strict environmental guidelines and scientific study must be conducted to determine if it is a "true" wetland before it can be disturbed.
  • Many of these isolated wetlands provide key migratory stopover points and unique wildlife habitat.
The Department of Transportation's federal highway aid program creates 2 acres of wetlands for every acre that is impacted. In 2001, this project created over 2,000 acres of wetlands.

Protecting Wildlife Habitat

Wildlife refuges have been important as wildlife habitat and recreation areas for 100 years. On the program's centennial, the Bush Administration requested $402 million for the National Wildlife Refuge program to improve wildlife habitat and combat invasive species that crowd out native wildlife, a $100 million increase.

The President's innovative Cooperative Conservation Initiative partners federal land managers with states, communities and non-profits to develop plans to protect and preserve private lands. These programs will enhance wildlife habitat for endangered species, protect streams and rivers from erosion, combat invasive species, and other beneficial projects.
  • For 2005, President Bush has requested $130 million, a 25% increase. This is part of the overall $507 million requested for overall cooperative conservation programs.
  • This FY05 request will restore 103,000 acres of wetland and upland habitat by partnering with approximately 2,500 landowners.
The Department of Agriculture's Forest Legacy Program encourages landowners to set aside and protect thousands of acres of forests. President Bush has requested $91 million for grants and incentives, a $21 million increase over the previous year.

The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 contains a number of provisions and programs to encourage property owners to set aside land and wetlands as wildlife habitat and for recreation, such as hunting and fishing. President Bush has ensured that these programs receive adequate funding, including:
  • $295 million for the Wetlands Reserve Program to preserve 200,000 acres.
  • $2 billion for the Conservation Reserve Program, an increase of $76 million.
  • $81.6 million for the Grassland Reserve Program, to a total of $254 million.
  • $18 million for the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program to protect and maintain over 800,000 acres of key habitat.
  • $125 million for the Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program to protect 150,000 acres of farmland from development, an increase of $13 million.
The President has requested $900.7 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This program will emphasize innovative ways to protect and manage land, as well as the traditional state and regional grants, rather than simply using the whole fund to purchase lands.

Roadless Areas

A Clinton Administration executive order sought to federally eliminate road building on 58.5 million acres of national forest in 39 states, or about one-third of national forest lands. This would make these areas inaccessible for recreation and maintenance. The Bush Administration has called for local Parks managers, local officials and citizens to develop plans for maintaining and preserving individual parks.

While some environmental groups would have you believe that the Bush Administration has rolled back the "roadless rule" to protect wilderness, this cannot be further from the truth.

Two federal judges ruled that the Clinton-era Rule was illegal:
  • While environmental groups claim that 1.6 million pieces of public opinion were collected before the regulation was made, U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge disagreed, calling the input process "grossly inadequate" and "an obvious violation" of federal law.
  • Further, U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer struck down the Roadless Rule, stating it was made in "political haste" and violated the National Environmental Policy Act and the Wilderness Act.
At issue is whether or not simply "locking away" these lands is the best way to preserve them. Making these wilderness areas inaccessible would mean that maintenance will be impossible and the forests will be increasingly susceptible to catastrophic wildfires and insect infestation.

Having a road does not mean the forest would be open for logging, mining, or even some forms of recreation. Laws and regulations to protect the ecosystem and wildlife habitat would still govern a wilderness area, national park, or similar protected area.

The Bush Administration launched a new proposal to protect our national parks and grasslands. Instead of a sweeping federal rule, it requires park and land managers to work with Governors and local communities to develop roadless plans for specific areas. This will produce balanced plans that could create some roads, which are especially needed to combat wildfires, but will also set aside other areas as wildlife habitat and for recreation.

Everglades Restoration

A joint venture between the state of Florida and the federal government, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) is employing a series of projects to protect and restore the Everglades National Park. The Everglades is considered one of the most unique ecosystems on the planet, and certainly in the U.S., but development and agricultural have disrupted water supplies and polluted the Everglades with runoff.
  • This multi-agency program oversees 68 projects including water flow restoration, land management, and invasive species control.
  • President Bush has requested $231 million this year for the project. The CERP is a 30-year, $7.8 billion plan.
Protecting the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes Legacy Program works to preserve the largest freshwater ecosystem on the planet and home to one-tenth of the U.S. population. The President has requested an almost fivefold funding increase for the Program to $45 million for 2005. This funding will allow the EPA to team up with state and local partners to clean up contaminated sediment that threatens both wildlife and people. These heavy metals and toxins can enter the food chain and bioaccumulate in large fish, where they are then ingested by humans.

Beach Protection

The President's Clean Beach Plan was implemented to help states and communities monitor for coastal pollution and help keep beaches safe for recreation and to protect wildlife. In 2004, the Bush Administration provided $10 million to ocean coastal areas as well as states and communities on the Great Lakes. So far, $32 million has been provided for water quality monitoring programs and public education initiatives.

Protection of Marine Sanctuaries

During the Bush Administration, restoration of marine ecosystems in Dry Tortugas National Park, the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument, and Buck Island Reef National Monument has begun. Located in Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands, these sanctuaries protect some of the regions most diverse and vulnerable coral reef systems. Watershed assessment, closer management, and research will help protect these areas from pollution and human impact. Further, in 2003, the Tortugas Ecological Reserve was designated a no-take preserve, protecting the area from commercial fishing. Tortugas is more that 150 square miles of reefs and fish spawning areas west of Key West, FL.

Balancing Off-Road Vehicle Use with Habitat Protection

In 2000, off-road vehicle recreationists had climbed to 36 million, seven times more than 30 years ago. Many of these outdoorsmen ride in national forests, national parks and grasslands. Due to this increased usage, the Bush Administration saw the need to develop rules about where off-road vehicles can be ridden and where vital habitat must be protected.

While most parks and grasslands have some basis of rules regarding off-road vehicle use, the U.S. Forest Service is expected to solidify rules regarding all parks to ensure all recreationists can enjoy the park system and federal lands, while ensuring wildlife habitat is not disturbed.

Snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park

Snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park has been controversial for many years. Some environmentalists want to ban all snowmobile use in the Park and have filed lawsuits to force the federal government to follow a Clinton-era rule to do just this. While environmentalists paint a picture of snowmobilers chasing wildlife and choking park employees with exhaust fumes, this is far from the truth.

The Bush Administration proposed a compromise plan to protect wildlife and public health, but allows snowmobilers to enjoy the park, as well.
  • The plan requires snowmobilers to use quieter four-stroke engines that emit 90% less pollution, rather than the two-stroke engines already in use (for example, chainsaws are two-stroke engines).
  • Additionally, the total amount of snowmobilers allowed within the Park on weekends has been reduced and certified guides will be required for all groups. This will ensure that snowmobilers stay within designated areas and away from critical wildlife habitat. For the most part, these designated areas are unplowed roads that are often clogged with cars and RVs in the summer.
Protecting Fish and Game Birds

Under the Bush Administration, hunting and fishing access has been expanded to 50 additional National Wildlife Refuges. Today, 275 refuges are open to fishing and 316 to hunting.

The North American Waterfowl Management Plan was developed to protect key species of migratory waterfowl and their habitat, including wetlands and other areas within migratory flyways. An increase of $1.2 million for a total of $11.4 million was requested this year.

The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program protects over 83,000 acres of grasslands, nearly 20,000 acres of wetlands and 241 miles of streams and rivers. Some of the projects within this program include:
  • The High Plains Partnership will help prevent further listing of species. It includes $5 million for public-private partnerships.
  • $3.2 million has been requested for sage grouse conservation efforts.
Klamath River Basin has become a focal point in the battle over scarce water between the local farmers, tribes, and salmon who rely on this resource. Endless lawsuits have reached conflicting decisions on who is entitled to the areas water supply. President Bush has requested $100 million for projects in the region to find a balanced solution to protect native salmon and other species, while ensuring water for irrigation and tribal lands. It includes:
  • More efficient irrigation practices on 14,500 acres of farmland and improved water management on another 3,000 acres upstream.
  • $50 million in funding to protect water quality in the Klamath River Basin.
  • Advanced fish protection, including over $16 million for screen to protect the endangered sucker fish.
  • Restoration of 5,200 acres of wildlife habitat and creation of another 1,600 acres of wetlands.
President Bush has made it a priority to protect migratory Pacific Northwest Salmon and their habitat. A multitude of programs across several federal departments and agencies will restore and protect salmon habitat in the Columbia and Snake Rivers, the Upper Klamath River Basin, and Columbia River Basin.
  • Over $600 million has been requested in next year's budget for a variety of programs to restore the Columbia River system.
  • An additional $100 million has been requested for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund. This program help states, tribes and local communities fund a variety of projects to assist the recovery of the Pacific coastal salmon.
To aid in recovery of endangered and threatened fish species, $101 million was requested in FY04 for the National Fish Hatchery System, an increase of $8.8 million. This program enables the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to breed and restock native fish species to bolster local populations.

Under the Fish Passage Program, the Bush Administration is opening more streams and rivers for migratory fish than ever before. The program is currently working on 20 high priority fish passage barriers that would open up 53 miles of streams and 438 acres of spawning habitat for salmon and trout in Washington State. So far, the Administration has opened 10 barriers for migration, freeing 17 miles of streams and 1,742 acres of habitat.

President Bush has proposed significant measures to preserve depleted ocean fish stocks.
  • The Administration created a multinational organization to protect and manage tuna fisheries in the Pacific Ocean.
  • A program was developed to employ new techniques to reduce illegal fishing worldwide and pressure the World Trade Organization to prevent overfishing by reducing subsidies.
  • New measures have been put into place to protect other species impacted by commercial fishing, such as dolphins, sea turtles, and sharks, often as a result of overfishing and bycatch.
Invasive Species Control

Invasive species are non-native plants and animals that are mistakenly, such as in the bilge water of a ship, or deliberately, in the case of some ornamental plants, transported to the U.S. and now compete with native species for habitat and food. Often, the invasive species has few natural predators in the U.S. and quickly crowd out native species. The Bush Administration has made it a priority of combating invasive species before they do too much damage to local wildlife and their habitat.
  • The Forest Health Protection Program provides $90 million annually to eradicate invasive insects and protect native trees.
  • A $6.2 million research facility, the Invasive Species Control Facility, is being built at the University of Florida to increase research and development of control techniques.
  • The National Invasive Species Council works closely with the non-federal Invasive Species Advisory Committee to develop strategies and study results of invasive species management efforts.
  • Federal agencies are working with foreign governments in an effort to stop accidental transport of invasive species in global cargo.