Gore Announces New Efforts to
Ensure Safe, Clean Water for All Americans

To: National Desk, Environment Reporters
Contact: Office of the Vice President, 202-456-7035

WASHINGTON, March 9 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Vice President Gore today
announced a comprehensive federal strategy to help clean up rivers,
lakes and coastal waters by reducing polluted runoff from large
livestock operations.

The Vice President also announced $100 million in additional
funding to states to control polluted runoff through Watershed
Restoration Action Strategies, and $157 million in proposed FY 2000
funding to help states and communities undertake other projects to
reduce urban and agricultural runoff. In addition, he called on
Congress to strengthen and reauthorize the Clean Water Act.

"Just over a year ago, President Clinton and I announced a new
Clean Water Action Plan to help ensure clean, safe water for all
Americans," the Vice President said. "We've made tremendous progress
over the past year. These new steps will further strengthen our
partnerships with communities and farmers across the country to
restore our waterways and protect public health."

The Unified National Strategy for Animal Feeding Operations,
developed jointly by the Department of Agriculture and the
Environmental Protection Agency, will employ a range of flexible,
common-sense tools to reduce potentially harmful runoff from 450,000
animal feeding operations nationwide -- cattle, dairy, poultry and
hog farms where animals are raised in confined situations.

Manure and wastewater from these operations can pollute waterways
with excess nutrients, organic matter, pathogens, heavy metals and
antibiotics, which contribute to environmental and public health
risks such as groundwater contamination, shellfish bed closures, fish
kills, and outbreaks of toxic algae and microbes such as Pfiesteria.

Under the Unified National Strategy, which will result in better
management of 1.37 billion tons of manure a year, voluntary programs
will be the principal approach for smaller operations that make up 95
percent of the nation's animal feeding industry.

The strategy sets a goal of developing and implementing
Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans for all animal feeding
operations by 2009. The plans will include actions to prevent or
reduce runoff, including feed management, improved storage and
handling of manure, and better land management. The strategy
identifies existing and potential new sources of technical and
financial assistance to help develop and implement these plans.

Animal feeding operations posing a significant risk to water
quality or public health -- about 5 percent of the total nationwide
-- will be required to obtain Clean Water Act discharge permits.
These include operations with more than 1,000 animal units (the
equivalent of 1,000 beef cattle); those that discharge directly into
waterways or have other "unacceptable" conditions; and those that
contribute significantly to the impairment of a waterbody.

The strategy also requires that "integrators" -- large livestock
companies that contract with smaller operators to raise their animals
-- share responsibility for meeting regulatory requirements.

"This comprehensive strategy forges a new partnership with
American agriculture to tackle a major threat to water quality," the
Vice President said. "It recognizes that the vast majority of
livestock operators can be better stewards through voluntary
measures, but sets tough standards for the largest operations to
ensure that our water quality goals are met."

"Through this common-sense approach," the Vice President said, "we
can help strengthen the farm economy while ensuring communities
across the country cleaner, safer water."

The Vice President called on Congress to approve $100 million in
President Clinton's FY 2000 budget for the Department of
Agriculture's Environmental Quality Incentives Programs. The funds,
which Congress denied last year, can be used by livestock operators
to implement pollution control measures encouraged by the Unified
National Strategy.

The Vice President also announced an additional $100 million to
states to carry out other strategies to reduce urban and agricultural
runoff, which is responsible for an estimated 60 percent of the
nation's water pollution. The grants -- a 100 percent increase over
last year -- will be used by states to work with communities to
develop Watershed Restoration Action Strategies for high-priority
watersheds. In past years, the funds have been used to control soil
erosion, create planted buffer strips along rivers and streams,
restore wetlands, and help farmers find alternatives to chemical
pesticides.

In addition, the Vice President announced $157 million in proposed
FY 2000 funding that also could be used by states to control polluted
runoff. Over the past decade, states have asked for more flexibility
in the use of Clean Water State Revolving Fund Capitalization Grants,
which traditionally have supported revolving loan funds for sewage
treatment plants. The President's proposed FY 2000 budget would
allow states to use up to 20 percent of the funding for grants,
instead of loans, for projects to restore estuaries and control
polluted runoff.

Other steps taken over the past year to implement the Clean Water
Action Plan include completing the first national assessment of
watershed conditions and priorities, developing an emergency plan to
coordinate federal response to harmful algal blooms, and creation of
the first national Internet listing of beach water quality
conditions.

Copies of the Unified National Strategy for Animal Feeding
Operations can be obtained by calling USDA at 202-720-5974 or EPA at
202-260-7786. An electronic version is available on the Internet at
http://www.epa.gov.owm.

A state-by-state breakdown of the FY 1999 Polluted Runoff Grants
and the proposed FY 2000 Polluted Runoff and Estuary Grants is
attached.


CLINTON-GORE CLEAN WATER ACTION PLAN:
HELPING COMMUNITIES RESTORE OUR WATERWAYS

    --

                      FY 1999                FY 2000 (proposed)

                Increased Funding to         Grants to Restore

                      States                 Estuaries

                Control Polluted Runoff      Control Polluted Runoff



 Alabama              1,957,900                   1,782,720



 Alaska               1,215,300                     944,880



 Arizona              1,639,000                   1,068,900



 Arkansas             1,962,700                   1,034,640



 California           5,324,400                  11,415,037



 Colorado             1,262,600                   1,269,600



 Connecticut            975,400                   1,955,040



 Delaware               715,500                     771,460



 Dist. Of Columbia      623,100                     771,460



 Florida              3,909,300                   5,387,560



 Georgia              2,332,300                   2,698,582



 Hawaii                 770,100                   1,228,640



 Idaho                1,233,100                     771,460



 Illinois             4,107,800                   7,218,486



 Indiana              2,238,600                   3,846,526



 Iowa                 2,283,000                   2,160,140



 Kansas               1,844,200                   1,435,220



 Kentucky             1,708,400                   2,031,361



 Louisiana            2,427,900                   1,752,280



 Maine                1,169,600                   1,228,000



 Maryland             1,331,200                   3,860,248



 Massachusetts        1,351,600                   5,418,963



 Michigan             2,917,900                   6,862,779



 Minnesota            3,446,100                   2,933,568



 Mississippi          1,915,200                   1,432,520



 Missouri             2,306,800                   4,424,587



 Montana              1,321,200                     771,460



 Nebraska             1,818,700                     804,600



 Nevada                 848,900                     771,460



 New Hampshire          761,900                   1,591,120



 New Jersey           1,662,700                   6,522,219



 New Mexico           1,219,700                     771,460



 New York             3,392,100                  17,616,911



 North Carolina       2,321,300                   2,880,544



 North Dakota         2,410,500                     771,460



 Ohio                 3,031,000                   8,985,200



 Oklahoma             1,578,900                   1,282,500



 Oregon               1,382,900                   1,801,220



 Pennsylvania         2,935,500                   6,322,279



 Rhode Island           675,800                   1,062,520



 South Carolina       1,557,800                   1,631,600



 South Dakota         1,633,200                     771,460



 Tennessee            1,589,500                   2,318,580



 Texas                4,732,700                   7,295,033



 Utah                   916,700                     829,480



 Vermont                738,200                     771,460



 Virginia             1,963,900                   3,266,406



 Washington           1,916,400                   2,775,604



 West Virginia        1,099,600                   2,488,068



 Wisconsin            2,583,000                   4,314,915



 Wyoming                973,400                     771,460



 Territories          1,366,200                   2,355,173



 Indian Tribes          333,000                       --





 TOTAL              100,000,000                 157,296,108