The Year in Environmental Protection and United States Politics

The Clinton administration makes fewer environmental advances in 1999 than hoped, as goals for environmental protection and United States politics clash.
By Sam Martin
December 1999/January 2000
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Senators denied a plan to cut $33 million from the Forest Service budget to build more logging roads, while doing away with required wildlife impact surveys in logged areas.

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The year 1999 was a difficult one for environmental activists when little was accomplished for environmental protection and United States politics working towards green goals. 

After impeachment hearings, gun control legislation and the war in Kosovo, 1999 wasn't such a green year for environmental protection and United States politics. In fact, as Congress reconvened after the summer break a slew of eco-hopefuls were shot down.

Senators denied a plan to cut $33 million from the Forest Service budget to build more logging roads, while doing away with required wildlife impact surveys in logged areas. The Environmental Protection Agency also was left wanting after House members voted to decrease its funding. According to Rep. Joseph Knollenberg (R-Mich), the EPA had begun to implement findings from the Kyoto protocol, which has not been ratified by the U.S. Congress. Subsequently, he purported, the watchdog agency was not entitled to federal funds to combat the causes of harmful gases in the ozone.

On the brighter side, the Clinton administration, in one of the few initiatives by the President this year, asked Congress for $1 billion to buy federal, state and local land for conservation and recreation in what Clinton has called his "lands legacy policy." Also, in the biggest environmental boon of the year, the $7.8 billion, 20-year Florida Everglades restoration project got under way with the House Appropriations Committee approving $114 million for this year's portion of the cleanup. The Everglades is widely considered both one of the world's most valuable natural resources and one of its most diverse wildlife habitats.

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