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Vice President Highlights ``Greening the Government`` Achievements

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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release April 22, 2000


Washington, D.C. – Vice President Gore today announced the signing of a new Executive Order setting tough new environmental goals for the federal government. The Executive Order, part of a series of “Greening the Government” initiatives, sets a course for the federal government to enhance performance in environmental management, environmental compliance, public right-to-know. The Order will achieve reductions in toxic chemical releases, the use of toxic chemicals, hazardous substances, and other pollutants.

In addition, the Vice President announced a new report, “Greening the Government: A Report to the President on Federal Leadership and Progress,” that highlights the progress Federal agencies have made in response to six of President Clinton's previous “Greening the Government” executive orders. Those orders have directed Federal executive agencies to take concrete steps to conserve energy and natural resources, prevent pollution, reduce waste generation, eliminate usage of ozone depleting substances, purchase recycled, energy-efficient, and environmentally preferable products, and reduce usage of toxic substances.

“Our Administration's series of “Greening the Government” Executive Orders illustrates how the federal government can operate cleaner while spending less,” said the Vice President. “This new Executive Order will mean cleaner communities and safer places to live, particularly for our children.”

Over the last seven years, Federal agencies have made major changes and accomplishments in sustainable procurement, energy efficiency, and other greening practices, that demonstrate the significant impact and leadership the Federal Government can make. The report highlights key accomplishments, including:

  • Federal facilities have reported an almost 60 percent decrease in releases of toxic chemicals since 1994.

  • Energy consumption in government buildings for FY99 decreased 20.5 percent since 1985, saving the taxpayer $2.2 billion in energy costs.

  • Federal agencies and government contractors have dramatically increased their purchasing of recycled content products from 5 to more than 50 since 1993.

To build on these environmental gains, the new Executive Order announced today sets a goal of reducing toxic releases from federal facilities by an additional 40 percent between 2001 and 2006. Based on current levels, this could mean even further reductions of millions of pounds of toxic chemicals a year at Federal facilities in communities across the U.S.

The new Executive Order also sets goals for federal facilities on pollution prevention and employing environmental management systems. Under the Order, the federal government will aim, by 2006, to halve its use of select chemicals that pose a potential risk to human health and the environment and for which there are proven substitutes that are less environmentally harmful. The Order also calls for the federal government to phase out purchasing of certain ozone-depleting substances by 2010.

In addition, the federal government will begin employing environmental management systems by the end of 2005-- a management tool borrowed from the private sector and used to ensure that environmental issues are incorporated into the basic operations and planning processes of an agency.

Additional efforts aimed at improving the environmental management of federal facilities include developing or updating pollution prevention plans, auditing facilities for compliance with environmental regulations, employing budgeting and accounting practices that take environmental costs into consideration and providing necessary training for federal employees. These efforts not only reduce risks to human health and the environment, they control cleanup costs and promote the use of cleaner technologies.

“The federal government has made great strides over the last seven years in reducing impacts to the environment, but we can do more,” said Vice President Gore. “Today, we are saying that the federal government is going to lead by example when it comes to pollution prevention.”

The President also announced two new executive orders today in his Earth Day radio address. The first order improves fuel efficiency by requiring the Federal government to reduce fuel use in its vehicle fleets by 20 percent over the next five years. The second order will offer Federal workers incentives to use public transportation, cutting congestion, fuel use and the pollution that contributes to climate change.

The “Greening the Government” report can be viewed on the web at www.ofee.gov.

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Vice President Highlights ``Greening the Government`` Achievements

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