President Clinton issued an executive order Tuesday aimed at heading off Republican attempts to gut many of the nation’s environmental laws and threatened again to veto a House-passed bill that would cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s enforcement budget by half.
Confronting the Republican-controlled Congress at a speech in Baltimore, Clinton denounced a House bill that would make deep cuts in the EPA budget and scrap a 10-year-old regulation forcing businesses to disclose the contents of their emissions.
The executive order would at least guarantee that federal contractors do not evade the so-called “right to know” regulation, which forces companies to notify communities about toxic releases from their factories.
“There are people who want to strip away decades of public health protection. I intend to fight them every step of the way,” Clinton said.
The House bill is given little chance of becoming law, since it is not expected to pass the Senate in its current form. But administration officials said the order signed by Clinton would at least provide an “insurance policy” against any tampering with the right-to-know regulation.