Magazine article World Watch

An Early Spring

Magazine article World Watch

An Early Spring

Article excerpt

Weather forecastcrs are predicting a cold winter in Washington - thanks to the effects of Mount Pinatubo's eruption - but for environmentalists it already feels like spring.

On January 20th, Bill Clinton will become the 42nd president of the United States, accompanied by Al Gore, the first bona fide environmentalist to be vice president. Environmentally concerned citizens around the world are looking with anticipation to the things that may be accomplished by the new government in Washington.

On the domestic front, there is a lot of low-hanging fruit left by the Bush administration. In his last painful year in office, President Bush took a marked anti-environmental turn, weakening many regulations, ranging from air quality standards to wetlands rules. Many of these executive actions can be quickly reversed, and enforcement stepped up.

With Al Gore in the vice president's chair, the White House is likely to spur the Environmental Protection Agency to tougher standards, rather than throw out good regulations as Dan Quayle's Council on Competitiveness has done during the past four years.

The next priority is to build on some of the EPA's more innovative initiatives under Administrator William Reilly. Cooperative programs that encourage private companies to install energy-efficient lights, refrigerators, and computers are good models for leveraging scarce federal dollars. These deserve to be increased in scale - used, for example, to encourage the automobilc companies to build cleaner cars. …

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