On December 3, 2003, President Bush signed legislation implementing key provisions of his Healthy Forests Initiative. The Presidents initiative is helping restore the health and vitality of forests and rangelands, and helping reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires. This is benefiting communities and wildlife habitats.
National Parks Restoring the Quality of Our Cultural, Natural, and Historic Resources
The President is fulfilling his commitment to address the park maintenance backlog. To meet his commitment of $4.9 billion over five years for park maintenance and construction, the President has secured $ 2.8 billion, and proposed $ 1.1 billion in his FY 2005 budget, for a total of $3.9 billion to date. Additionally, for the first time in history, the National Park Service will have a full condition assessment and a facility condition index to prioritize ongoing maintenance needs.
2002 Farm Bill: Helping Americas Farmers Conserve Their Lands
President Bush supported and signed into law a Farm Bill that enhances conservation and environmental stewardship. Under this Administration, funding has nearly doubled for these effective programs. The Farm Bill conservation programs are providing up to $38 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's FY 2005 budget proposes $507 million for cooperative conservation programs at the Department of the Interior. Within that request is $130 million for the Cooperative Conservation Initiative (CCI), a 25 percent increase over last year. Through CCI activities, the Department of the Interior's land managers are joining with communities, non-profits, States, and citizens to remove invasive species, reduce stream bank erosion, and enhance habitat for threatened and endangered species.
Improving Our Air Quality
Clear Skies Initiative
President Bushs initiative, which has been introduced in Congress, would dramatically improve air quality by reducing power plants emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury, by approximately 70 percent over the next 15 years, more than any other clean air initiative. This historic proposal will bring cleaner air to Americans faster, more reliably, and more cost-effectively than under current law.
Interstate Air Quality Rule
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposal to require coal-burning power plants to make the steepest emissions cuts in over a decade. The Interstate Air Quality Rule will require power plants to substantially reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx). SO2 emissions will be cut by nearly 70 percent and NOx emissions will be cut by approximately 50 percent.
Mandating a Cut in Mercury Emissions for the First Time Ever
Mercury emissions from power plants are not currently regulated. For the first time ever, the Bush Administration will impose a mandatory 70 percent cut in mercury emissions from those sources by 2018. These cuts will be achieved by using either a proven market-based, cap-and-trade approach that will better assure compliance and enforceability, or a more traditional command-and-control approach utilizing Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT). Both proposals are currently receiving public comment.
Reduction in Emissions from Non-Road Heavy-Duty Diesels
In April 2003, EPA issued a proposed rule that will dramatically reduce pollution from heavy-duty diesel engines used in construction, agricultural, and industrial equipment. This will prevent up to 9,600 premature deaths, 8,300 hospitalizations, 16,000 heart attacks, 5,700 childrens asthma-related emergency room visits, 260,000 respiratory problems in children, and nearly a million work days lost due to illness. Soot and NOx emissions will decrease by more than 90 percent by 2014, and the sulfur content of diesel fuel will be cut 99 percent by 2010.
Fuel Savings From Light Trucks
For the first time in a decade, the Administration raised Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for SUVs, vans and pick-up trucks. Reforms are also underway that will save more fuel while protecting consumer safety and American jobs.
A Realistic, Growth-Oriented Approach to Global Climate Change: A Synopsis
18 Percent Cut in Greenhouse Gas Intensity
President Bush has committed America to meeting the challenge of long-term global climate change by reducing the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions to economic output by 18 percent by 2012 compared to 2002. Greenhouse gas intensity is the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions to economic output.
$4.1 Billion in Tax Incentives for Renewable Energy and Hybrid and Fuel-Cell Vehicles
The President has called for tax incentives totaling $4.1 billion through 2009 to spur the use of clean, renewable energy, and energy-efficient technologies, such as hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles, residential solar heating systems, renewable energy produced from landfill gas, wind, or biomass, and efficient combined heat and power systems.
A 42 Percent Increase in Climate Change Research Funding
The Presidents FY 2005 budget includes $238 million for the Climate Change Research Initiative (CCRI), a $70 million, or 42 percent, increase over 2004. This funding level includes $57 million to accelerate efforts to advance understanding of the role of aerosols on climate, better quantify carbon sources, and improve the technology and infrastructure used to observe and model climate variations. The CCRI focuses on reducing significant uncertainties in climate science, improving global climate observing systems, and developing resources to support policymaking and resource management.
Federal Energy and Carbon Sequestration Programs
The United States is sponsoring, with international and private-sector partners, a $1 billion, 10-year demonstration project to create the worlds first coal-based, zero-emissions electricity and hydrogen power plant (FutureGen). This project is designed to dramatically reduce air pollution and capture and store greenhouse gases. Through the Presidents Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, the first car driven by a child born today could be powered by pollution-free fuel cells. The Hydrogen Fuel Initiative and the FreedomCAR Partnership will provide $1.7 billion over the next five years to develop hydrogen-powered fuel cells, a hydrogen infrastructure, and advanced automobile technologies that emit no greenhouse gases.
Climate VISION Partnership
In February 2003, President Bush announced that leading firms from 12 major industrial sectors and the membership of the Business Roundtable have committed to work with four Cabinet agencies (DOE, EPA, DOT, and USDA) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade. Participating industries included Americas electric utilities; petroleum refiners and natural gas producers; automobile, iron and steel, chemical and magnesium manufacturers; forest and paper producers; railroads; and the cement, mining, aluminum, and semiconductor industries.
Presidents Initiative Against Illegal Logging
In July 2003, Secretary of State Powell launched the Presidents 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 U.S. in taking action to counter the problem and preserve forest resources that store carbon.
Our Oceans Improved Ocean Conservation in the National Park System 2002-2003
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 their diverse communities of marine life.
Improving The Quality of Our Waters and Resolving Water Crises
Substantially Increased Funding for the Great Lakes
More than one-tenth of the population of the United States and one-quarter of the population of Canada live around 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. The Presidents FY 2005 budget includes an unprecedented $45 million for the Great Lakes Legacy Program, almost five times the 2004 level of funding. These additional funds will allow EPA, in conjunction with its community partners, to begin remediating contaminated sediments at six sites. Sediment remediation will help keep toxics such as polychlorinated biphenyls and heavy metals from entering the food chain, where they could cause adverse effects on human health and the environment.
The Presidents FY 2005 budget includes $21 million, an increase of $13.3 million, for Water 2025, a program that strategically addresses the problem of competing demands for a finite water supply. Water 2025 will help 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.