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Bush, Democrats Present Contrasting Views on Environment - 2004-04-24

President Bush says he is continuing an enduring national commitment to protect the environment. Democrats say the president's environmental policies are heading in the wrong direction.

President Bush says his environmental record honors a national, bipartisan legacy of working to conserve nature.

"In the past three decades, America has made great strides in honoring the ideal of conservation, and living by high standards of stewardship," he said. "My administration's environmental efforts uphold that legacy. In the past four years, America's air, land and water have all gotten cleaner. Our new proposals build on that progress and help us advance toward our national goal of a cleaner, safer, healthier environment."

Mr. Bush used his weekly radio address to focus on a plan to spend nearly $350 million over the next five years to create and protect more than one million hectares of wetlands, in cooperation with state and local governments, conservation groups and business leaders.

Mr. Bush announced that plan this past week at ceremonies marking Earth Day. The president's presumptive Democratic challenger, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, used the day to attack the administration's environmental record.

That criticism continued in the Democratic radio address Saturday with Colorado Congressman Mark Udall saying the president's policies are headed in the wrong direction.

"Under President Bush, we have basically sold out our environment for the profit of the special interests," said Mark Udall.

Congressman Udall says the president has made it easier for big business to pollute the air and water by not forcing corporations to clean-up their pollution.

President Bush says his administration has reclaimed over 1,000 abandoned and polluted industrial areas over the last two years.