Public Papers

Remarks to Natural Communities Conservation Planning Organizations in San Diego, California


Thank you very much, Bill. Please be seated, and thank you all for that warm welcome at this early hour. I'm delighted to be here. And let me just thank Bill Lowery for the introduction. He's been a joy to work with in the United States Congress. He always keeps in mind his constituents, the people that sent him there. But he always has also had a broad national perspective. I've trusted him, and I've worked with him. And I'm going to sorely miss him inasmuch as he's determined not to stand again for election. But he's a good man, and you've been very, very well served. Let me also acknowledge and thank Doug Wheeler here, the secretary of California resources agency. It's great to be back in California. It's great to be here with him who understands the need to find the balance the right way.

Before I begin, though, let me talk about another situation, the one out in Hawaii. Regrettably, some lives have been lost; the property damage is estimated at a billion dollars. Already relief efforts are well underway. Military aircraft and ships are supplying the island with food and water and generators, tents. And some aircraft are being used to carry tourists who want to leave over to the island of Oahu. We continue to work closely with the Governor to provide whatever assistance possible. And our prayers and good wishes are extended to all who stood in Iniki's path. And I just wanted to say that because following on with Florida and Louisiana, it has been a strange month or so for these natural disasters. And a lot of people have been hurt. I'm proud that the Federal Government has responded, working closely with the three States involved.

You know, we gather at a very important moment in history. Today I can stand before you and say something that no President has ever been able to say before: The cold war is over, and freedom finished first. With the cold war behind us, the global economy is entering a period of transition. And I know that you, particularly in California, but I know our whole country, and I know you all are feeling the impact, feeling it right here in this wonderfully productive part of California.

The question that voters must ask in this election is this: Who has the ideas, the principles to allow America to rise to our new challenges, to guarantee that in the next century America will remain not just a military superpower but also an export superpower and an economic superpower?

Last week I outlined my Agenda for American Renewal, a comprehensive, integrated set of responses to the challenges that are facing America today. And much of the agenda is underway. Other parts are brandnew. I hope that you and every American will take a look at the ideas and then compare them with my opponent's before you make a decision. I start with the belief that free trade can bring prosperity to California and to the United States. That's why I negotiated the North American free trade agreement, or what we call NAFTA. It will create a trillion market from Manitoba to Mexico and bring thousands of new jobs here to California.

And I want to go further. I want to see a strategic network of trade agreements unique to America and the countries of Eastern Europe; then also in the Pacific Rim. My opponent was once in favor of free trade and NAFTA, and then he changed his mind. Now he says, and here's the quote, ``When I have a definitive opinion, I'll say so.'' Listen, my opinion may not be popular in all places, but I will tell it to you straight: Americans will never retreat, and we will always compete. And we will win.

My opponent really believes we need more Government in Washington. He proposes at least 0 billion in new spending plus 0 billion in new taxes, just to start. Well, I want to go in the opposite direction. I've put forward specific ideas to control the growth of mandatory Federal spending, that's two-thirds of the budget that heretofore has been uncontrolled, saving over 0 billion over the next 5 years. I want to use the savings to cut the tax rates. I believe very simply that Government is too big and we spend too much of your money. And we've got to turn that around.

Let me give you another difference. Today, American businesses and consumers spend up to 0 billion just on direct services to lawyers. The Japanese don't spend that much, neither do the Germans. And my opponent doesn't think this is a problem. I really believe it's a disgrace. As a nation, we must sue each other less and care for each other more.

So look at every economic issue we face, improving our schools, reforming welfare, controlling health costs, and my opponent and I offer two vastly different approaches. He puts his faith, if you'll analyze his program, in more Government. And I want to put more faith in you, the American people. My opponent's plan includes new taxes, plus steep defense cuts way beyond what the military and civilian experts believe is responsible. And together this program will cost America 2.6 million jobs, with a major impact obviously right here in California, right here in San Diego. My agenda doesn't kill jobs, it protects jobs. It guarantees the national security of this country. And it offers a way to get this economy moving and create in America the world's first trillion economy by early in the next century.

Now, as we create jobs we can re-create dreams for so many Americans and so many Californians. But Americans dream of more than a good job and rising income. As Bill pointed out, we also want clean waters in which to swim, clean air to breathe, and preserves like this in which to enjoy nature. And I have long believed that a strong economy and a clean environment not only can go hand in hand but they must go hand in hand. And here in San Diego, you know so well, a clean environment can be the foundation for a dynamic economy. So I am proud of what my administration has accomplished, proud of the many environmental achievements that Congressman Lowery very, very generously talked about.

And I'm especially proud of the way we've been able to make these advances. We've been able to strike a balance between jobs and the environment by rejecting the stale old ideas of command-and-control regulation and relying instead on new ideas and the power of the marketplace, new technology, new kinds of partnerships.

And that's why I really came up here today. We've come together at this historic ranch house, the site of the first land grant in the State of California, to celebrate a voluntary partnership. And frankly, it's an experiment, an effort to preserve species in their critical habitat while still allowing for economic development. The natural communities conservation planning project tries to bring all parties together voluntarily before regulatory approaches kick in and reduce all flexibility. This will help protect endangered species while still allowing for rational and reasonable economic development. It sounds simple. But very few communities are able to pull it off. I congratulate all of you who are involved in this effort. And I hope other communities across this country will take a look at what you are trying to do here.

Partnership is a principle that can work in environmental policy. And another is in using incentives, not expensive regulations, to stop pollution at its source. Let me just give you one example of what I am talking about: We all know that it can stop money for some businesses and factories to comply with the Clean Air Act. And we also know that, by far, the most polluting cars on the road are these clunkers, like the old Dodge Aunt Edna bought in the early sixties before we had real pollution standards. So we came up with a new idea. We let States allow companies to earn credit for meeting the Clean Air Act standards by buying old cars, taking them off the road, and putting them in the scrap heap. UNOCAL tried doing this right here in southern California. Over 8,000 old cars were turned in. The program cut pollution -- now, listen to this -- that program cut pollution equal to 150,000 new cars, one million gallons of paint, half the carbon monoxide from refineries and powerplants in greater Los Angeles, and get this, all the barbecue lighter fluids in the LA basin. [Laughter] It had that kind of effect. It's the perfect program. Companies can protect jobs, the air becomes cleaner, and old Aunt Edna finally gets rid of the old Dodge in the garage. And now we're going to apply this program nationwide.

We're also trying to encourage the development of technology. Technology has made possible cleaner cars and cleaner factories, more energy-efficient buildings, less wasteful factories. Technology is not just key to our economic future but to our environmental future as well. One of the lessons that we've learned over the past two decades is that command-and-control regulation freezes this, locks this old technology in place. And you need incentives, you need investment to make new breakthroughs possible.

In this administration, we've launched a broad program of investment in new technologies. They clean the environment. They promote energy efficiency and, in the process, can create an entire new industry to employ you and your children. We started a national technology initiative, linking experts in our Federal labs, where all that great research has been going on, with those in the private sector. And already environmental technology has been the focus of 20 of these ventures, with twice that many small businesses participating. As part of our R D program, we started a partnership with the major auto companies to develop cars that run on batteries, with no air pollution. And we're working toward lighter materials so that everything from airplanes to automobiles will use less energy and create less pollution. We've increased investment in research and development for new ways to produce and use clean-burning natural gas. And perhaps most important, our national energy strategy gets rid of the roadblocks that will allow these technologies to be adopted in the marketplace. These programs all reject the old command-and-control mentality that drove up the costs and reduced jobs and never achieved the environmental progress that we desired. I am very proud of what we've done.

I'll certainly match my environmental record against my opponent. Under Governor Clinton, Arkansas ranks 50th, worst in the country, for utility of State environmental initiatives, according to an independent analysis by the Institute for Southern Studies. But in his zeal to capture his party's nomination, Governor Clinton has made every promise to every environmental group who sent him a survey. He and his running-mate are advancing a philosophy that goes back to where command-and-control regulation is the only solution, a philosophy that will not only cut jobs but could impede technology, environmental progress, not promote it. And when it comes to the environment, I believe extremism on either side is no virtue. Cooperation, innovation, a faith in technology, these are the virtues that will allow us to protect both jobs and nature.

And let me give you another example of my opponent's inconsistency. It refers to the free trade agreement that I mentioned earlier. I strongly support the free trade agreement. But I am sensitive to concerns about its impact on the environment in Mexico and along the border, not far from here, that goes all the way across Arizona and down into Texas. Governor Clinton claims he's concerned, too. In fact, it's one of the reasons he gives to justify his refusal to take a definite position on the treaty. But at the exact same time he talks about his concern about border pollution, his Democratic friends on Capitol Hill are cutting in half my proposed plan to help protect our border environment. When it comes to environment, Governor Clinton seems to be on one side on one day and on another side the next. And I don't, I honestly do not believe that America needs that equivocation. I believe we've struck the right balance. And with your support, I will fight to keep the right balance.

You remember a few years ago when Time magazine selected its Man of the Year? It selected Planet Earth as the Planet of the Year. And Jay Leno said, ``Well, what do you expect? All the judges came from Earth.'' Well, Time's cover and Jay Leno's joke underscores one fact: The environment is the concern of every Californian, of every American. And we can have a strong environment and a strong economy. Indeed, the way I look at it is we must have both.

I began by talking about the globalization of our economy. I really believe that the question of how America can compete is the defining question not just of this election but of our future. I am very optimistic about our future. If we can create new partnerships like this one, and if we can focus more on preventing a problem than fixing it later, and if we can turn our technological prowess to our environmental advantage, then we face a competitive edge that no other nation can match. But the key is achieving a reasonable balance. And if we do it, we can help. We can renew America. We can make our Nation stronger, safer, and more secure. I am absolutely confident that with your support and with these hundred and some new Members of Congress coming in, that we can get the job done.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America. Thank you all very much.

Note: The President spoke at 8:20 a.m. at Rancho Penasquitos. In his remarks, he referred to comedian Jay Leno.