The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour
MR. LEHRER: Good evening. I'm Jim Lehrer in Washington.
MR. MacNeil: And I'm Robert MacNeil in New York. After the News Summary this Wednesday, another campaign issue and debate. We examine the Bush and Clinton environmental records and promises to campaign representatives and outside experts. Then we have a documentary report updating the famine situation in Somalia. NEWS SUMMARY
MR. LEHRER: Gov. Clinton and President Bush put in full campaign days today. Mr. Bush pitched his education reform plan at Norristown High School in Pennsylvania. He said it would revolutionize schools and make the nation more competitive in the world economy. He also attacked Bill Clinton.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Gov. Clinton has spent a lot of time courting the education establishment, teachers unions, leaders, unions leaders and the liberal Congress. And these people fear change. Look at the educationbefore Congress today. They really don't want to spend more money on education. They want to spend it on the same old system. And I wish fixing our schools was that easy. It is not. And a President's job is to set a path, and insist that the nation sticks to it. But Gov. Clinton is in with the crowd who say no to "break the mold" schools, no to higher standards, no to less regulation, and no to my GI Bill for Kids.
MR. LEHRER: Gov. Clinton said today he was in favor of tougher education standards, and wanted other changes in the nation's schools as well. But he said the GI Bill for Kids was no panacea and the President shouldn't be touting it as the major way to improve education. Clinton talked about his welfare reform plans at a stop in Jonesboro, Georgia.
GOV. CLINTON: I think every person with whom I have ever talked on welfare agreed that welfare ought to be a second chance, not a way of life. It's time to end this system, as we know it, and to start with two simple principles: First, people who can work ought to go to work, and no one should be able to stay on welfare forever; and second, no one who does work and who has children in the home should live in poverty, as too many are today. [applause] I am running for President on a plan that would give everyone the funding they need for education, training, child care, and transportation. But after two years, or after the end of an education and training program, everyone on welfare would have to go to work.
MR. LEHRER: Mr. Bush said today he also wants welfare changes, including a link between benefits and work or education programs. Robin.
MR. MacNeil: The Senate confirmed Edward Carnes as a federal appeals court judge today by a vote of 62 to 36. The nomination of the Alabama assistant attorney general had been opposed by Senators who accused him of insensitivity to racial issues, particularly in capital punishment cases. Carnes will serve on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, hearing cases from Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.
MR. LEHRER: South African President DeKlerk called for urgent talks today with Nelson Mandela on ending the country's political violence. Twenty-four African National Congress marchers were killed in the black homeland of Ciskei on Monday. The ANC continued its protest earlier today in another of South Africa's ten black homelands. Jeremy Thompson of Independent Television News reports from Johannesburg.
MR. THOMPSON: The tiny mountain enclave of Kwa Kwa, the smallest of South Africa's ethnic homelands, became an unlikely focus of political attention, a march by 5,000 ANC activists the latest phase of their mass action to dismantle the old apartheid homelands. After Monday's blood bath in Ciskei, it could have been another flashpoint as demonstrators demanded the resignation of Kwa Kwa's unelected government. But today's protest passed off peacefully. However, Nelson Mandela made it clear that the continued existence of the homeland is now a major stumbling block to the resumption of constitutional negotiations. ANC leaders were today meeting to consider whether to suspend even informal talks with the government. President DeKlerk's cabinet was also formulating its response to the Ciskei massacre. A few minutes ago, Mr. DeKlerk called for an urgent meeting with the ANC to draw up new measures to end violence, though he accused the ANC of violating the peace accord and said all parties should now renew their pledge to peace.
MR. MacNeil: That's our News Summary. Now, it's on to the campaign and the environment, and an update on Somalia. ISSUE & DEBATE - '92 - ENVIRONMENT
MR. MacNeil: First tonight another in our series of campaign issues and debate. We look at the environment, an issue that's becoming one of the hottest of the campaign, Democrats charging Bush and Quayle with broken promises and the Republicans calling Clinton and Gore environmental extremists. We'll have representatives from both campaigns, plus outside experts after a backgrounder by Kwame Holman.
MR. HOLMAN: If George Bush has an image problem today with respect to the environment, he could blame it on Rio, as the old movie says. At the United Nations summit on the environment in June, the man who once promised to be the environmental President was viewed by many as an international pariah.
SPOKESMAN: The United States has never had an interest in truly diplomatic activity at the Earth Summit, neither before it began, during it, or now.
SPOKESMAN: We are really very concerned about this -- United States' position.
MR. HOLMAN: For a while, there had been a question whether Bush would attend the conference at all. He upset many countries' leaders when he insisted on weakening the treaty on global warming, claiming that a binding treaty would hurt the U.S. economy. Bush also angered many delegates by refusing to sign the biodiversity accord designed to protect plant and animals he sees around the globe.
PRESIDENT BUSH: America's record on environmental protection is second to none. So I do not come here to apologize.
MR. HOLMAN: That's George Bush's environmental philosophy in a nutshell. Although widely criticized by environmental groups, he defends his own and America's record and avoids remedies he sees as extreme or counterproductive.
PRESIDENT BUSH: You cannot go to the extreme. And, yes, I do have to be concerned about the American worker, about taxes, about a lot of things like that a President must be concerned. But I think we have an outstanding environmental record.
MR. HOLMAN: The Bush campaign put out a 16-page position paper listing the administration's achievements on the environment. The critics say what the White House giveth with one hand, it taketh away with the other. One example of the criticism concerns the Clean Air Act of 1990. Environmentalists praised it as a comprehensive effort to cut down on every major source of air pollution, but they criticized another arm of the administration, Vice President's Council on Competitiveness. That's the controversial group created to cut down on what the administration called "needless government red tape." Some of the implementing regulations for the Clean Air Act were blocked or slowed down when the Council decided they were too costly to industry. Another example: Bush's 1988 promise that there would be no net loss of protected wetlands. His pledge then was that the total acreage of wetlands under government protection would not be reduced. Since then, he has been accused of changing the definition of wetlands to exclude millions of acres and open them up for development. The White House says the original definition was too broad. Environmentalists say those lands should be preserved. Then, there's the long running controversy over the spotted owl, declared a threatened species in 1990. That meant the owl's habitat in the old growth forests of the Northwest had to be preserved. That threatened jobs in the local logging community. This year, the administration's Endangered Species Committee voted to override the law and allow logging on some of the disputed tracts. The ruling has loggers and environmentalists fighting over the value of business versus wildlife.
BILL PICKELL, Logger Association: Is it really worth taking the towns of Forks and Morton, Randall, Cedra Woolley, and shutting them down for a bird that is supposedly threatened?
MELANIE ROWLAND, Wilderness Society: You have to remember that 90 percent of the ancient forest has already been logged. We don't call it balance when the timber industry has already eaten 90 percent of the pie and they want to share equally in the last piece.
MR. HOLMAN: But it was the Rio Earth Summit that exposed the sharpest differences between Bush and his critics. The demonstrations outside were only part of it. Inside the hall leaders of several European nations embarrassed the U.S. by publicly urging stronger action to curb global warming than called for in the compromise treaty that everyone signed. Then, the President arrived, sticking to this guns, refusing to sign the treaty on biodiversity. He said it would be too expensive to implement and the U.S. wouldn't make a commitment it couldn't keep.
PRESIDENT BUSH: We come to Rio prepared to continue America's unparalleled efforts to preserve species and habitat. And let me be clear. Our efforts to protect biodiversity, itself, will exceed, will exceed the requirements of the treaty. But that proposed agreement threatens to retard biotechnology and undermine the protection of ideas. And unlike the climate agreement, its financing scheme will not work. And it is never easy -- it is never easy to stand alone on principle, but sometimes leadership requires that you do. And now is such a time.
MR. HOLMAN: The flap in Rio produced a public relations problem for the White House. It threw a spotlight on Environmental Protection Agency Chief William Reilly, a career environmentalist who worked behind the scenes to bring the two sides together on biodiversity. Both he and the White House were embarrassed when Reilly's memo asking his bosses to reconsider their position was leaked to the press. After that, Reilly was turned down flat by the White House.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Bill Reilly is one of the top environmentalists in the world. He had some suggestions to make. He did it in a proper way and that he was put in an embarrassing position by the leaking of a document and the printing of a confidential document, I find very offensive. I don't like it and he has my full support.
MR. HOLMAN: The President's stand was strongly attacked by the man who wants to replace him, Bill Clinton, and by his running mate.
BILL CLINTON: If I had been President over the last year, today's ceremonies would have capped a year of energetic United States leadership, rather than a year of grudging participation and general denial of the problems that exist and the phenomenal opportunities before us to create a real new world order, rooted in economic prosperity and environmental protection. The nations of the world at the Rio Conference were looking to the United States for leadership. Instead, they found reluctance.
AL GORE: The simple truth is the President has stumbled on environmental policy and betrayed his pledge to be an environmental President. I would not put the trees in my backyard in his care. I'd be concerned that he had a chain saw in the trunk.
MR. HOLMAN: Clinton and Gore both have loudly criticized the administration as an environmental disaster, but both men also have drawn their own criticism on the environment. Clinton's most visible problem is in Northwest Arkansas, home of the state's growing poultry industry. As the business grew, waste from hundreds of millions of farm animals drained off the land and polluted the White River and surrounding streams. Clinton has been accused of doing too little, too late, and of being too close to the state's powerful poultry industry. In the Southern part of the state, home of the timber industry, Clinton has been called slow to deal with clear cutting of the state's forests and pollution caused by paper mills. Clinton, himself, acknowledges the problems, but says he had to make trade-offs between jobs and the environment in a poor state. Political analysts say Clinton helped his environmental credibility with his choice of a running mate. Sen. Al Gore long has been identified with environmental issues. He headed the congressional delegation to Rio and recently published a best- selling book "Earth in the Balance." Some have praised it for calling for a new worldwide philosophy on the relationship between people and the planet. Republicans say it calls for more government, more taxes, and more foreign aid, and call it extreme. Most recently, the President has charged that the book's advocacy of greater fuel efficiency would cost thousands of jobs in the auto industry. Gore counters that the technological advances needed to make engines more fuel-efficient would create new jobs and make the auto industry more competitive internationally. Both teams claim to be friends of the environment. Bush and Quayle say that the Democrats promote greenness above all, even if it costs jobs. Clinton and Gore say that a greener economy is a stronger economy.
MR. MacNeil: For our debate tonight, as a spokesman, the Bush camp chose Michael Deland, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, which coordinates policy among cabinet departments and advises the President. The other side offered Democratic Sen. Tim Wirth of Colorado, national co-chairman of the Clinton/Gore campaign. He sits on the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee. Also joining the debate are Robert Hahn, and economist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute; he was recently appointed by the White House as co- chairman of the U.S. Alternative Fuel Council, he joins us from Denver; and Carl Pope is the associate executive director of the Sierra Club, which has endorsed the Clinton/Gore ticket. Let's start with the two outsiders here tonight. We'll deal with the records first and then move on to what they're promising and what the likelihood is of their environmental presidencies. Carl Pope, how good an environmental President has Bush been?
MR. POPE: Very poor. The basic pattern has been he makes a promise, when it comes time to implement the problems, he backs off and then if Congress or a lawsuit or another presidential election makes him do it anyway, he takes credit for it. And what we've seen consistently has been a failure to follow through on the most specific promises he made. The wetlands pledge in 1988 was next to the "no new taxes" pledge probably his most concrete statement. And yet, when Bill Reilly tried to hold him to that pledge in the White House meetings, Bush listened to Richard Darman, the head of the Office of Management & Budget, who said, you didn't really make that promise, you just read a speech someone wrote for you. And I think that lack of fundamental seriousness on the issue has created an administration that frankly environmentalists just can't trust.
MR. MacNeil: Mr. Hahn in Denver, what kind of an environmental President has Mr. Bush been?
MR. HAHN: I think that President Bush is the first nationally recognized leader to put his finger on a trend of the future, and that is the economy and the environment have to be linked hand in hand. We wouldn't have a new and improved Clean Air Act had it not been for environment Bush. It was bottled up in Congress for over a decade. And most importantly, the most innovative initiative in the Clean Air Act came because of President Bush's prodding. I'm speaking now of the acid rain amendments, which cut sulfur dioxide emissions in half by over 10 million tons, and do so at a billion dollars less in cost than would have been promoted by the Congress, who is promoting a highly centralized, regulatory solution to this problem. So I think that the voters have a real choice. And if you look at Bill Clinton and Al Gore, what you tend to see is an environment odd couple. Gov. Clinton is running away from his record and Sen. Gore makes no bones about it. He says we're in the midst of an environmental holocaust.
MR. LEHRER: Mr. Deland, respond to the charge from Mr. Pope that the President makes promises and then backs off them for political reasons.
MR. DELAND: Well, I would submit that that charge is simply and blatantly inaccurate. One has to reach back to Teddy Roosevelt to find a President that has been as actively engaged in protecting our environment and, indeed, has accomplished as much as George Bush has. He made the --
MR. MacNeil: Address the -- since Mr. Pope made such a specific point -- then I'll come back to your more general points -- but address the wetlands point.
MR. DELAND: Well, on wetlands, we are regulating wetlands today precisely as they were regulated in 1987, when George Bush made his "no net loss" pledge. There have in the interim been two proposals; one in 1989 was implemented that clearly overreached and drew into the regulatory rubric acres that were simply not performing the traditional function of the wetlands, whether it be pollution filtration or flood control, habitat for wildlife, or the like. And in trying to redress that imbalance in 1991, we proposed a revision which clearly on the basis of comments submitted swung the pendulum back in the other direction. But I stress, it's always been a proposal, never been implemented, and we are now in the process of trying to strike a balance between the two. But in the meantime, the Army Corps has been using a 1987 manual.
MR. POPE: But I think it's important to understand, Mike, that the pledge that was made in 1988 was not a pledge to continue with the status quo. We were losing wetlands in 1988, and now three and a half years into George Bush's administration, we are continuing to lose wetlands, because the President didn't act on his pledge.
MR. DELAND: Now, wait a minute, Carl. In 1988, we were losing wetlands at approximately 500,000 acres a year. We are now losing them at somewhere around 150,000 acres a year, so the wetlands loss under the George Bush regime has been dramatically reduced. At the same time, he has increased funding for wetlands acquisition by over 100 percent. I must interject that Congress has not seen fit to fully fund George Bush's proposals for wetlands and, indeed, for other environmental initiatives.
MR. MacNeil: Sen. Wirth, how does the Clinton camp see the wetlands issue?
SEN. WIRTH: Well, I think it sees this as symptomatic of George Bush, who will do anything to get elected. I think the fundamental theme that we have here is somebody who made a number of commitments to the country in 1988, ranging all the way from Boston Harbor to wetlands, to the White House effect on the greenhouse effect, famous statements, and then ended up embarrassing the country globally. The fundamental fact is I think, Robin, that George Bush has had his chance, he failed, and now the country is looking for a different vision for the future. It's time for this country to change, and I think people know that, whether it's the economy or the environment. And wetlands is a symptom of a deeper problem of really a failed administration and promises made not kept.
MR. MacNeil: But you just heard Mr. Deland say that the proposal of 1990 is only a proposal, that the wetlands are being administered as before, the loss rate has been reduced, and Congress has refused to go along with extra funding the President's requested.
SEN. WIRTH: Robin, this is massive semantic backtracking is what we've got here. I mean, the administration tried to cut wetlands - - change in the wetlands -- by 50 percent. That's what the administration attempted to do. And now they're back peddling away from that like mad. This was an attempt -- the President said no net loss of wetlands, and then they try to change the definition by saying, well, we're going to define wetlands in a different way. I mean, it was a joke. It was just like the administration that tried to change when one of the best people, experts in the country came to testify in front of the Congress, the administration tried to change their testimony because they didn't like it ideologically. This is the -- this is the basic -- this is exactly what happened, Michael.
MR. DELAND: It's not -- you know --
SEN. WIRTH: The attempt -- the attempt to redefine wetlands was what you all tried to do, Michael.
MR. MacNeil: Mr. Deland.
SEN. WIRTH: That's what you tried to do.
MR. MacNeil: Mr. Deland.
MR. DELAND: That simply is not the case. The 1989 manual was put out with no opportunity for public notice, comment. 1990 there was a concerted effort to do that. We reached out across the country to the environmental community, to Congress, to anybody else who had any interest to comment. And on the basis of the comments, clearly, that proposal overreached, swung the pendulum back too far in the other direction, and we're now trying to come to a reasonable balance.
SEN. WIRTH: Well, Michael, this would not be an issue --
MR. DELAND: And we'll do so -- we'll do so soon.
SEN. WIRTH: This would not be an issue --
MR. DELAND: But meanwhile, meanwhile --
SEN. WIRTH: -- and you wouldn't all be howled out of court on this --
MR. DELAND: -- the wetlands are being protected with a greater degree of tenacity than ever before in the history of this country, and as the wetlands lost the tests.
MR. MacNeil: Sen. Wirth.
SEN. WIRTH: We're right back into a situation in which the administration again has made a series of commitments and promises on wetlands. They backtracked on this one. They're now trying to say, well, it was just a proposal. It was a terrible proposal. They got howled out of court on this one, and so they backed off of it. They did the same thing in Rio. I mean, I was there with Sen. Gore. Michael was there. We were all there to see the United States really embarrassed in front of 119 nations around the world who were all there.
MR. MacNeil: Well, let's pursue -- let's pursue the Rio question now, since it's frequently brought up. Mr. Deland, what is your defense of the President's behavior at Rio?
MR. DELAND: Well, I think the President exuded leadership in the midst of tough political conditions in Rio. What emerged was a climate change treaty that's broad, comprehensive, deals with all greenhouse gases, their sources, and their syncs in concert, not just one greenhouse gas, CO2 only, as Al Gore and others espouse, and it's a much more sensible way long-term to deal with the problem of global warming.
MR. HAHN: I think climate change is a good issue. I think it's one where the politics is way out in front of the science. If you look at one of the major proponents of global warming, Stephen Schneider, he was claiming fifteen or twenty years ago that we were in for global cooling. One of Mr. Gore's idols, and former professors, who was one of the foremost scientists in identifying the potential for global warming suggested before his death that we shouldn't take any radical actions at this time on the basis of the science.
MR. MacNeil: Well --
MR. HAHN: I wanted to just address --
MR. MacNeil: May I just ask -- I'd like to pursue this question on the -- the global warming treaty, and then we can come on to the biodiversity question in a moment. But on the global warming treaty, are you saying, Mr. Hahn, that the United States was right and the rest of the world was wrong on this?
MR. HAHN: Well, first of all, I think a lot of European nations were trying to hide behind the United States' skirt on this one, but I wanted to return to an earlier issue that Sen. Wirth was debating with Mr. Deland. The suggestion was made that the Bush administration hadn't done much on the environment. If you look at the big picture, how much we actually spent on the environment over the last four years, it totals to $1/2 trillion. That's more than any other country in the world spends on the environment and it's more than any previous administration has spent. But to suggest that we're not spending money on the environment is patently false.
MR. MacNeil: Let's try and keep this coherent, shall we, on one subject at a time. Let's just pursue the Rio situation. Sen. Wirth, what is your view of what Mr. Deland and Mr. Hahn have just said, that the science isn't there and the President was right on the - - on the global warming treaty?
SEN. WIRTH: Well, first of all, even the administration's own documentation shows that they believe that global warming is enough of a problem that they ought to have taken actions, and they did not. Their own data shows that and that is the overwhelming evidence, the overwhelming consensus of scientists not only in the United States but around the world. When we got to Rio, it was very clear that the United States was out of step, as we had been during the negotiation sessions in New York. I was there during some of those negotiation sessions, Robin. At them, the G-7 countries, the developed countries of Europe, asked us to lead. We failed to do so. The developing countries, the G-77, asked the United States to lead. We failed to do so. The island nations which are -- you know, they're going to be flooded with global climate change, and rising sea levels, they asked us to lead. We failed to do so. This was a complete loss by the United States of a charter that we've had for a long, long time to lead the world. They were asking us and we failed that test. That was the most important post Cold War test.
MR. MacNeil: Mr. Deland.
SEN. WIRTH: We failed miserably.
MR. MacNeil: Mr. Deland.
MR. DELAND: We didn't fail that test. The President led in a responsible fashion. We have laid an action plan on the table. We and the Netherlands are the only two nations in the world to do so to date. The President just yesterday sent our treaty up to Congress for ratification, first nation in the world to do that. And what we have is a comprehensive action plan to reduce greenhouse gases, all greenhouse gases. When we first took office, one thought -- the scientific community thought that CFCs were the leading greenhouse gas. We now find that they have a net wash effect.
MR. MacNeil: Chlorofluorocarbons.
MR. DELAND: Right. And they need to be phased out for protection of the ozone layer and parenthetically the U.S. is leading the world under George Bush in so doing. But in Rio, we -- we have -- or in the climate change treaty -- have one that is a sensible, long-term approach to this problem. And we are taking actions that Tim well knows in energy efficiency, in reforestation, in all of those things that do reduce greenhouse gases, to reduce all of them in concert.
MR. POPE: Mike, if the treaty is so terrific, if the treaty demonstrates leadership, why did the administration write Congressman Dingell and say that in the view of the administration the two critical clauses in the administration committed the United States to no definite action? Those are the words of the administration to a leading member of Congress about what the administration thought this treaty really did.
MR. DELAND: Well, there's a real distinction. Many around the world were making cavalier commitments of reductions of CO2 by a date certain, and I had numerous environmental ministers cycle through my office and say, hey, Deland, we persuaded our minister, our president, to sign on, why don't you persuade yours. We're not going to be around the year 2000, so what difference does it make? And they didn't have any idea as to how they were going to achieve those reductions, or, if they did, they didn't make environmental sense. The Japanese, for example, were to stabilize CO2 emissions in the year 2000 by building 132 new nuclear power plants in Japan. Does that make sense?
SEN. WIRTH: I think that that's incredibly disingenuous to say about our allies. I would be very surprised if the Germans and the Japanese would be pleased to hear this administration saying that we don't think that they were willing and able to keep their promises. I mean, that is an extraordinary thing to say. You know, we in the United States have a long and very clear record of world leadership, and we came away from Rio deeply embarrassed. You were there. You know what happened. Bill Reilly, the President's chief point man on this, was deeply embarrassed, under cut completely, and the United States overall missed an opportunity to lead and to lead for the 21st century. There was a vision for change that he absolutely did not have whatsoever. And I think the American people recognize that and this is symptomatic, Robin, of the overall problem. The overall problem is the country needs a change. The country needs a vision for the future. The environment is a perfect example of the kind of places where we need the kind of change all over this country.
MR. MacNeil: Well, let's go back to the point Mr. Hahn was beginning to make in Denver, that leaving these other issues aside, that this administration has a better record of spending on the environment than any previous and than any other country in the world, he said. Mr. Pope.
MR. POPE: Well, I think it's ironic that a Republican administration would say that the amount you spend is the measure of how well you're doing.
MR. DELAND: I didn't say that.
MR. POPE: Now, you do need to spend money. I know you didn't, but the administration sometimes sounds like it does. The real test here is I agree that the administration inherited a number of new programs, and American industry is also beginning to show a fair amount of leadership. And a lot of that spending is being done voluntarily by more enlightened sectors in big business, and I applaud that heartily. But what we've failed to see from this administration is the follow-through on the big picture. They take great pride in the Clean Air Act and if they'd implemented it, I think they could. But over 50 major deadlines have been missed; we've had to sue them over each and every one; and if you add up the total length of time that's been lost implementing the Clean Air Act on those 50 deadlines, it's something like 40 years of time. They're already 40 years behind in implementing this thing, because when it comes down to it, there are people who don't want to move ahead on the environment. There are businesses that are very willing to move, very responsible, and there are others that want to slow it down. And those others -- especially in the last nine months -- have had the ear of this President.
MR. MacNeil: Mr. Deland, how do you respond to that on the Clean Air Act?
MR. DELAND: Let me just say that the President wants to move ahead on the environment and is moving ahead on the environment. And pick a couple of indicia, enforcement, No. 1. In the first three years of the Bush administration, EPA has collected more in civil and criminal penalties than in its eighteen previous year history combined. Now, I think that that's a telling statistic. And so too are the budget numbers. Budgets increased for environmental protection dramatically across-the-board, whether at the EPA's operating budget up 54 percent, budget for acquisition of parts up a billion dollars, which has led to the increase of 1.5 million acres in our national parks, 57 new wildlife refugees, environmental protection across -- across-the-board. Wetlands budget up dramatically, leading the world in phasing out CFCs; the Clean Air Act we've talked about, protecting our -- our oceans, whether it be meeting his pledge of ending ocean dumping, sludge dumping from Boston Harbor, New York Harbor, into the ocean.
MR. MacNeil: Obviously --
MR. DELAND: Offshore drilling.
MR. MacNeil: I'm sorry to interrupt but obviously we can't go through the whole -- the entire list. But Sen. Wirth, isn't that an impressive list of accomplishments?
SEN. WIRTH: Well, it is, if it were true. I mean, let me just run through some of the counters on that. They are very obvious. On the parks issue, the administration opposed four out of the seven parks that have been created. On the budget issue that they point to with such pride, under the Reagan administration when George Bush was Vice President, EPA's budget was cut very dramatically. In fact, in the House of Representatives, I offered the legislation to increase the budget just to get it back to 1980 levels, which they opposed. It is now only 17 percent above 1980 levels, and yet, EPA's responsibilities have more than doubled. I mean, the list of saying one thing and, in fact, the truth is another, goes on and on and on, related to this administration. Now, if we're going to make trust one of the issues of this election, which the Republicans have come out and said, trust, trust, trust, trust, I think one of the key factors is to look fundamentally at what this administration has said and what it's done. The record is so much different from the rhetoric and the American people, I think, want a different kind of a vision for the future.
MR. MacNeil: Let's move on to -- let's move on to Gov. Clinton's record now. Mr. Pope, what is the record of Gov. Clinton as an environmental governor?
MR. POPE: The governor's record is not as good as we'd like it to be. He did not exercise in Arkansas, during the middle years of his gubernatorial term, the kind of leadership that say the Sierra Club would like to see. But at the same time, we saw in the last several years some really startling progress. He's laid out a very solid set of commitments for where he wants to take the nation. Arkansas is one of only five states that has all of its cities in compliance with the Clean Air Act standards and has the best -- one of the three states with the best drinking water for its citizens. So Arkansas has made, we think, good progress for a poor state, not as much as we'd like, and the White River is a problem, and one of the things that is clear about Gov. Clinton is that he has not made a lot of promises and failed to follow through on them. We have found that he promised less than George Bush did several years back, but he delivered what he promised.
MR. MacNeil: Mr. Hahn, how do you see Clinton's record?
MR. HAHN: Well, I think Gov. Clinton is running away from his environmental record much the same way that Gov. Dukakis did with Boston Harbor, but I really think that's besides the point, because Sen. Gore is going to be making most of environmental policy if Clinton and Gore are elected. And when you look at Sen. Gore's proposed policy, what you see from his book are things like population controls, more green taxes, higher cafe standards, which would result in hurting Detroit and helping Tokyo, and you see a series of regulations and proposed expansions in the bureaucracy which are very different from the kind of approach that President Bush has tried to take.
MR. MacNeil: Sen. Wirth, how do you respond to the -- to both Clinton's record and the charge that the Bush camp is making -- we just heard it repeated -- that it's Sen. Gore who will be running the environmental policy in the Clinton administration?
SEN. WIRTH: Well, first of all, Sen. Gore and Gov. Clinton will make a great combination and a great team. There's no question about that. We've seen that over the last two months in a very exciting fashion. And I know that Gov. Clinton will work very closely with Sen. Gore and vice versa on this issue. For Mr. Hahn to suggest that something is wrong with a commitment to try to do everything he can to lower the world's population I think is absolutely astonishing. Everybody ought to know that population is one of the major problems that we face and we ought to do everything in this country -- we in the United States have had leadership for a long time until George Bush again flip flopped from his initially good position, for example, on population control to now, you know, taking this hard core, right wing position. Let me go back to the point --
MR. DELAND: What I'm -- that's not what I'm suggesting at all.
SEN. WIRTH: -- if I might, of Arkansas, Robin. Let me go back to Arkansas.
MR. MacNeil: Let him just speak about Clinton's record in Arkansas, and then we'll come to you, Mr. Deland.
SEN. WIRTH: Let me go back, if I might, to Arkansas. I think perhaps of all the five of us, I'm the only one who's been there. I went up to the White River. I didn't want to get engaged with a campaign where there were going to be chickens floating in the river or whatever. And much of this, I think, is a creation of a lot of hysteria and early, early data. The record of the Clinton administration has been one of working with that major industryin Arkansas very carefully. The basic problem in the chicken industry in Northern Arkansas relates to run-off. And you can't -- it's very difficult to set standards for what agricultural run-off are going to do. It's particularly difficult when the EPA does not set national standards. What's the relationship between Arkansas and its adjoining states, for example, of Oklahoma and Missouri? EPA has refused to set any run-off standards. Gov. Clinton, given that vacuum, has attempted to work with the chicken industry and in some ways in a very, very successful fashion. To look at what they have accomplished is very, very important. Gov. Clinton has an ambitious program there, say much, much better in related agricultural run-off than in my own state of Colorado, which is probably one of the most environmentally tuned states in the country.
MR. MacNeil: Mr. Deland, how do you see Clinton's record?
MR. DELAND: Well, Robin, I would suggest that the American people not take on faith what Tim is saying from one side of the political spectrum, or I, from the other, but look at what an independent group, namely the Institute for Southern Studies, concluded. And that was when it came to the environmental protection, that Arkansas, under Clinton's leadership, was 50 out of these 50 United States, none worse when it comes to environmental initiatives; 47 out of preventing toxic run-off into surface water, and that list goes on. At the bottom of the barrel on virtually every environmental indicia, and that was a report funded by MacArthur Rockefeller Foundations, it was released just this spring.
SEN. WIRTH: Robin, I hope we get a chance to respond to that because it must be responded to. The data that was collected --
MR. MacNeil: Yes, respond.
SEN. WIRTH: -- from that was early 1980s data. As Carl Pope pointed out, related to clean air, this is one of the few states in the country where everybody is breathing clean air.
MR. DELAND: Sure, because there is virtually no heavy industry in Arkansas.
SEN. WIRTH: Wait a minute. Just a minute. They get a lower rating on this in this Southern Studies deal, whatever it is, they get a lower rating on clean air than California does. Now, that doesn't make any sense whatsoever. The data that's used --
MR. DELAND: Just stack up the level of industry in California versus Arkansas.
SEN. WIRTH: How can you give a state where 100 percent of the people are reading clean -- are breathing clean air -- how can you give that state a lower rating on clean air than California, which we know has some of the most severe pollution problems in the country?
MR. MacNeil: Mr. Deland.
SEN. WIRTH: It doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Look at the study, Michael. I mean, again, I did that just as I went to Northern Arkansas to try to find out what was going on.
MR. MacNeil: Mr. Deland.
MR. DELAND: I have looked at the study and the study is based on per capita emissions into the atmosphere.
SEN. WIRTH: If it's per capita emission, if 100 percent of the people in Arkansas are breathing clean air --
MR. DELAND: Well, that's -- they aren't.
SEN. WIRTH: -- why did they get a lower rating? Well, that's what they -- that's what EPA says. A hundred percent of the people in Arkansas are breathing clean air.
MR. DELAND: It depends how --
SEN. WIRTH: And they get a lower rating in California, where a much lower percentage is --
MR. MacNeil: Gentlemen --
SEN. WIRTH: It doesn't make any sense.
MR. MacNeil: Excuse me interrupting, but, gentlemen, we obviously aren't going to get you to agree on this. Mr. Deland, in our remaining time, let's turn to the future. The President claims the Democrats' environmental positions are extreme and will cost jobs. What is the reasoning to support that argument?
MR. DELAND: Well, first, the President has consistently said that environmental protection and economic development go hand in hand. And he's said it in every message that he's submitted to Congress, mentioned it in virtually of his major speeches. And so he believes that the two are mutually inter-dependent. Now, clearly, in some cases, spotted owl versus loggers, you're going to come up against that short-term loggerheads. As to the overall, I think you look at some of the Al Gore and the question of whether Bill Clinton believes in them, they're starting to back away. Proposals of cafe at 45 miles per gallon, that clearly --
MR. MacNeil: Cafe is the industry average for fuel consumption for -- or miles per gallon.
MR. DELAND: That's correct. And a cafe standard of 45 miles per gallon, the National Academy of Sciences, has said is technologically infeasible, if we are to meet the pollution control constraints of the Clean Air Act, so that doesn't make common sense, nor does a carbon tax at this point, nor does giving $100 billion with our own economic difficulties here at home on an annual basis to the developing nations of the world for environmental protection. So there are numbers of things in the Gore question Clinton proposals that will cost substantial number of jobs in this country.
MR. MacNeil: Sen. Wirth.
SEN. WIRTH: These are just untrue. I mean, let's talk about cafe again. This administration has a wonderful way of saying things that just are not the case. First of all, in cafe, the administration, itself, before it was gutted by the ideologues in the White House, the Department of Energy proposed that there be a cafe standard, increased average miles per gallon standard up to 36 miles per gallon. Clinton and Gore have said 40, with flexibility in there for alternative fuel vehicles, and for vehicles that are equipped with air bags. That's the Bryan Bill, which is broadly supported across the country, and I think working with the industry, the Clinton/Gore administration will do a very good job of helping to back out foreign oil, clean up the atmosphere, increase the efficiency of our automobiles, and work with and try to help the automobile industry. There's a certain irony of the fact this administration under whom a hundred -- one hundred thousand jobs were lost in the auto industry, that this administration says that somebody could hurt the auto industry. Good lord! I mean, what have they done? Second, if we look at the issue of the $100 billion, where did that number come from? That was made up out of whole cloth by somebody in the -- in the Bush/Quayle administration. Nobody has proposed a giveaway of $100 billion per year. Nobody has done so. That is absolutely not the case. Third --
MR. MacNeil: Let's ask --
SEN. WIRTH: -- on a carbon tax, neither Bill Clinton nor Al Gore supports a carbon tax. The idea of a carbon tax was originally raised by Martin Feldstein, who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under Ronald Reagan.
MR. HAHN: Tim, I beg to differ with you on that. If you read Sen. Gore's book, his environmental security trust fund is based on a carbon tax. I think there are fundamental differences between Gore and Clinton -- excuse me -- between Gore, Clinton and Bush. And these need to be looked at very carefully.
MR. MacNeil: Gentlemen.
SEN. WIRTH: Well, there certainly are fundamental differences. There's no question about it. And that's what the American people are going to decide in November, and I hope decide for the better.
MR. MacNeil: That's our time this evening, gentlemen. Mr. Pope, Sen. Wirth, Mr. Deland, and Robert Hahn, thank you for joining us. UPDATE - AGONY'S CRADLE
MR. LEHRER: Now an update on the tragedy of Somalia, where thousands of people have already starved to death and a million more remain at risk. It is as much a man made as a natural tragedy because of fighting among rival gangs and war lords in that East African nation. Our report is from the Somali capital. It is by Martin Seemungal of the Journal Program of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
MARTIN SEEMUNGAL, CBC: Mogadishu's dispossessed, lost in a ruthless city, where the strong and cunning survive, where the weak get left behind. It is a country with no government, a city with no police force. People resort to any means to survive in this chaos. Some buy and sell in the black market that thrives in the center of town. Others take advantage of the lawlessness, working as hired guns for those who can pay. The city bristles with all kinds of weapons. You can see them mounted on vehicles, or casually slung over the shoulders of people on the street. In a place where food is desperately scarce, guns seem easy to obtain. Even international aid organizations, who normally shy away from anything to do with guns, are forced to travel around the city with armed escorts.
DR. JOHN WATSON, CARE, Canada: The armed guards you see on the top of the vehicles as we're driving around, they're not employees of CARE; they're people that come along with the rented vehicles. The owners of the vehicles want to make sure they don't get hijacked. So they're not there to protect us at all. They're there to protect the vehicles.
MR. SEEMUNGAL: That's pretty bizarre.
DR. JOHN WATSON: It is terribly bizarre. It's a Mad Max world out here.
MR. SEEMUNGAL: There is a shaky cease-fire, but the country's civil war left 25,000 people dead in the city. The scars from fighting are everywhere; banks, theaters, embassies, all reduced to rubble. What's left is bitterly fought over by rival clans. This is Mogadishu's no-man's land, the dividing line between the two main factions; on one side, territory held by the acting president, Ali Madi; on the other side, his rival, General Adid. The rivalry has destroyed the city, but there are no winners. Anarchy rules here. On the North side, Ali Madi moves from house to house every night to avoid assassination.
SPOKESMAN: [speaking through interpreter] What happens in Somalia today can happen in many other parts of the world, or it has possibly happened in many other parts. What has mainly contributed to this is because of the collapse of the state institutions, because of the collapse of the security, the police force, the military, and that's what caused the anarchy, and unless there is a foreign support to at least stabilize the situation back to normal, to get law and order work, it is not going to be very easy to solve this problem --
MR. SEEMUNGAL: Some foreign aid is getting to Somalia. This ship carries 10,000 tons of sorghum from the United States. But the port remains a flash point for trouble. A tenuous agreement allows all sides in the factional war to use the port, but it's in one side's territory, the part controlled by General Adid. It's a volatile situation. These trucks from the North side of the line are coming to pick up supplies at port. It's taken five days of negotiation toallow them across. A deal's been struck but everyone's uneasy. It's still 100 trucks moving into enemy territory. They're barely inside when the shooting starts. The convoy screeches to a halt. Officials from the international relief agency, CARE, intervene. In this atmosphere, a special kind of diplomacy is required. The trucks finally arrive at the port, pick up the food, but nothing happens. The operation is at a standstill because two of the trucks were hijacked by the other side. Relief workers, eager to see supplies reach all parts of the city, have to step in again. But the stakes get higher. Another clan shows up with tanks to help themselves. Foreign aid workers are forced away at gunpoint. An official with CARE boards the ship for safety and watches as the looting begins. His colleagues back at headquarters can only listen helplessly to the reports by radio.
SPOKESMAN: It's very depressing to see all this bloody food leaving here. Over.
MR. SEEMUNGAL: The looting goes on for hours, 1,000 tons of grain and a huge stockpile of fuel. The worst incident at Mogadishu Harbor since January. Carl Holworth was the CARE worker on the ship.
CARL HOLWORTH: It was somewhat disturbing to see some of the grain leaving here that should be going to people in need, people up in the regions in Bidoa, where the situation is very critical.
MR. SEEMUNGAL: Dr. Gutali Salad belongs to one of the factions controlling the port.
MR. SEEMUNGAL: So you think they took food because they didn't think there was more coming in?
DR. GUTALI SALAD: Yes. They thought that this -- don't worry -- this is the last ship.
MR. SEEMUNGAL: Once neatly piled bags of grain are strewn around the dock, evidence of the frenzied rush for food. Supplies looted at the port often surface at the local market, like these tins of cooking oil donated by the Red Cross. And that means it doesn't always get to the places that need it most. This Red Cross Center feeds 3,000 people every day. Sixteen hundred people live here. They're still losing two to three people a day. The administrator complains that there is not enough food. People are supposed to get one meal a day, but there's often not enough to go around. He says the people are disappointed that there's not enough here.
DAVID BASSIOUNI, UN Coordinator: The insecurity in the country has denied access to many thousands of children and women, the helpless. I think the situation, as you see today in Mogadishu, compels you to innovate and try to try everything under the sun. And I think we have exhausted that. We have come to a state where there is no way, except to try the troops.
MR. SEEMUNGAL: Five hundred U.N. troops are coming in, maybe more. But on the day the port was looted, two U.N. soldiers were shot. The U.N.'s special envoy to Somalia flew in for an emergency meeting.
MR. SEEMUNGAL: Do you think after what happened yesterday, they should be deployed much quicker?
MR. SEEMUNGAL: The United Nations voted weeks ago to send in troops, but some of Somalia's clans don't want the U.N. to come here. The clans control the ports and they don't want to lose that territory to the U.N.
DAVID BASSIOUNI: i think it's a matter of education. I think we have to make sure that people are educated, especially people in the port. They should know that the troops are not here to supplant, to displace them; they're here to improve things in the port.
MR. SEEMUNGAL: People running the relief operation in Somalia are also trying to find ways of rationing the dependence on the port. Airlifts outof neighboring Kenya have started flying food into towns in the center of the country. But a fully loaded plane transports a fraction of what a ship can carry. The port remains a vital link even with the airlift under way. It's still the best way to bring large amounts of food into the country and thousands of tons will be needed to deal with the crisis in the countryside. It's the people here who are suffering most from the effects of war and drought. Thousands have struggled in from outlying areas to the town of Bidoa, in Central Somalia, where relief workers are battling to cope with the onslaught.
SPOKESPERSON: Because we don't have enough for everybody, but we're bringing in more.
MR. SEEMUNGAL: Malnutrition is not the only scourge. There are also deaths every day from disease and exposure. The workers here know they won't be able to save everyone. For some, help has come too late. This child is not expected to survive much longer. Every day, the graveyard outside the camp grows bigger. This man had four children. Today he takes the bodies of his last two to the graveyard, pushing them on a cart he once used to carry food. A burial chamber is built for the youngest, just one-year-old, a tiny victim of the violence and famine that has torn this country apart.
MR. LEHRER: United Nations officials said today the organization plans to start air drops of food to rural villages on Friday. RECAP
MR. MacNeil: Again, the major stories of this Wednesday, in the presidential campaign, Gov. Clinton talked about welfare reform. President Bush advocated his education reform proposals. And in South Africa, President DeKlerk called for urgent talks with Nelson Mandela on how to end the country's political violence. Good night, Jim.
MR. LEHRER: Good night, Robin. We'll see you tomorrow night. I'm Jim Lehrer. Thank you and good night.
- The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour
- Producing Organization
- NewsHour Productions
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- NewsHour Productions (Washington, District of Columbia)
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- Episode Description
- This episode's headline: Issue & Debate - '92 - Environment; Agony's Cradle. The guests include CARL POPE, Sierra Club; ROBERT HAHN, Economist; MICHAEL DELAND, Bush Administration; SEN. TIM WIRTH, Clinton Campaign; CORRESPONDENTS: KWAME HOLMAN; MARTIN SEEMUNGAL. Byline: In New York: ROBERT MacNeil; In Washington: JAMES LEHRER
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- Copyright NewsHour Productions, LLC. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode)
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- Moving Image
Producing Organization: NewsHour Productions
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: NH-0023 (NH Show Code)
Format: 1 inch videotape
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- Chicago: “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour,” 1992-09-09, NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 5, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-507-m32n58db6p.
- MLA: “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour.” 1992-09-09. NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 5, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-507-m32n58db6p>.
- APA: The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. Boston, MA: NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-507-m32n58db6p