Punishing Polluters

State of the Union Address to the 104th Congress

Lobbyists for polluters have been allowed to write their own loopholes into bills to weaken laws that protect the health and safety of our children. Some say that the taxpayer should pick up the tab for toxic waste and let polluters who can afford to fix it off the hook. I challenge Congress to reexamine those policies and to reverse them. President Clinton, Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the State of the Union, January 23, 1996

As he mentioned in his State of the Union Speech of 1996, President Clinton challenged Congress to support environmental protections and enforcement of existing laws. Clinton went so far as to veto H.R. 2099, a bill with 17 major riders— unrelated pieces of legislation that are attached to a bill— that would have prohibited the EPA from spending funds from fiscal year 1996 on a number of regulatory and enforcement activities. And the Clinton administration did significantly increase enforcement of environmental laws. The number of charges filed for environmental offenses rose significantly during the Clinton Administration, and dropped again after.