President Clinton and Vice President Gore:
Protecting Our Environment and Public Health
Over the past seven years, President Clinton and Vice President Gore have significantly strengthened protections for the environment and public health, and won new resources to help states and communities protect their water, land and coasts. Here are some of the ways the state of Minnesota has benefited:
Accelerating Toxic Cleanups.
The Clinton-Gore Administration has greatly accelerated the cleanup of contaminated sites, protecting communities and revitalizing local economies by returning land to productive use.
-- Nationwide, the Administration has completed 525 Superfund cleanups since 1993, more than three times the number completed in the previous twelve years. In Minnesota, 20 Superfund cleanups have been completed since 1993.
Administration initiatives have steered more than $110 million to more than 300 communities to assess, clean up and redevelop brownfields – abandoned, contaminated sites, usually in distressed urban neighborhoods. Minnesota has received 11 grants totaling $2.8 million.
Reducing Toxic Releases.
The Administration has greatly expanded communities' right to know about toxic releases to air, water and land – increasing by 30 percent the number of facilities that must report their releases, and nearly doubling the number of chemicals subject to reporting. Increased disclosure has helped lead to dramatic reductions in toxic releases. Nationwide, reported releases dropped nearly 20 percent from 1992 to 1997. In Minnesota, toxic releases declined from 29,751,754 pounds in 1992 to 15,682,943 pounds in 1997.
Strengthening Water Quality Protections.
Through a variety of programs, the Administration has provided significant new resources to states and communities to safeguard public health by improving drinking water and to protect rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. These include:
Clean Water State Revolving Fund
This fund supports low-interest loans to help communities build and upgrade sewage treatment plants and other wastewater systems. Since 1993, the Environmental Protection Agency has provided $10.7 billion to states for these loans. Minnesota has received $182.5 million.
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund
This fund, proposed by President Clinton and enacted in 1996, supports low-interest loans to help communities build and upgrade their water treatment systems. Since 1997, the Environmental Protection Agency has provided nearly $3.5 billion to states for these loans. Minnesota has received $79.3 million.
Polluted Runoff Grants
These grants help states and communities develop programs to combat the largest remaining threat to water quality – polluted runoff from sources such as farms and city streets. Since 1993, EPA has provided grants totaling nearly $900 million. Minnesota has received $31.6 million.
Rural Water Grants
-- These grants and loans provide special assistance to small rural communities to upgrade their drinking water systems. Since 1993, the Department of Agriculture has provided nearly $9 billion in loans and grants. Minnesota has received $168.3 million.
Protecting Local Lands.
The Administration has won significant new resources to help states, communities, and landowners protect farms and other local green spaces that support wildlife, recreation, and water quality.
Land and Water Conservation Fund
Since 1993, the Department of the Interior has provided states and communities with $81.5 million through the Land and Water Conservation Fund to acquire and protect threatened lands. Minnesota has received $1.2 million.
Conservation Reserve Program
This Department of Agriculture program provides payments to farmers who remove environmentally sensitive lands from production and improve them by restoring wildlife habitat, planting windbreaks, or creating streamside buffers. Since 1993, farmers in Minnesota have received funds to protect 1,372,013 acres.
Protecting Our Coasts and Estuaries.
Grants from the National Coastal Zone Management Program help states develop and implement plans for the protection and sustainable management of coastal resources. The National Estuarine Research Reserve System provides grants to states to help protect and restore estuaries, where ocean and fresh water mix. Through these two programs, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has provided $466 million to states since 1993. Minnesota has received $2.2 million.