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Appendix C
Riders Stopped by President Clinton Through Presidential Veto or Threat of Veto

Since 1994 when Republicans gained control of both the House and the Senate, President Clinton has made good use of his veto authority to block bills containing legislative riders that weaken environmental protections currently provided by law. If President Clinton had not used his veto power so forcefully, the following provisions would have become law. It is also extremely likely that, without the deterrent effect of the veto threat, many even more serious environmental assaults would have been mounted successfully.

Riders in:
104th Congress | 105th Congress | 106th Congress (1999) | 106th Congress (2000)


104TH CONGRESS (1995-96)
Without presidential veto or threat of a veto, the 104th Congress would have enacted provisions that:

  • undermined health and environmental protection laws by requiring that regulations satisfy new risk assessment and cost/benefit criteria, designed by the business community to force the federal government to issue rules that minimize compliance costs rather than protect public health and the environment. This provision would also have provided new opportunities for polluters and regulated industries to challenge and delay regulatory actions. (The first assault on environmental protections through what's know as a "regulatory reform" bill, this bill was a key component of Newt Gingrich's Contract With America and was sponsored by Bob Dole in the Senate. (1995 Debt Ceiling Limit bill, H.R. 2586)

  • opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. (FY 1996 Budget Reconciliation bill, H.R. 2491)

  • provided a royalty exemption for oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico. (FY 1996 Budget Reconciliation bill, H.R. 2491)

  • transferred federal land in Ward Valley, California to the State of California for use as a low level radioactive waste site, overriding scientific and safety concerns to facilitate the creation of this waste dump. (FY 1996 Budget Reconciliation bill, H.R. 2491)

  • eliminated the requirement to address environmental impacts before reissuing grazing permits, and repealed other grazing protections (FY 1996 Budget Reconciliation bill, H.R. 2491)

  • sold national forests to ski resorts (FY 1996 Budget Reconciliation bill, H.R. 2491)

  • repealed the mining patent moratorium thereby allowing private corporations with claims on public resources to obtain them for a fraction of their value (FY 1996 Budget Reconciliation bill, H.R. 2491)

  • eliminated a critical Endangered Species Act safeguard that prevents commitment of federal resources until potential harm to endangered species is assessed (FY 1996 Budget Reconciliation bill, H.R. 2491)

  • eliminated tax incentives for renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency programs (FY 1996 Budget Reconciliation bill, H.R. 2491)

  • banned acquisition of permanent easements to protect wetlands under the Department of Agriculture's Wetlands reserve program (FY 1996 Budget Reconciliation bill, H.R. 2491)

  • banned implementation of the Clean Water Act's wetlands protection program (FY 1996 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, H.R. 2099)

  • created an exemption for a Kalamazoo industrial facility from federal water pollution requirements (FY 1996 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, H.R. 2099)

  • blocked issuance of new discharge limitations and water quality standards (FY 1996 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, H.R. 2099)

  • prevented implementation of uniform water quality standards for the Great Lakes (FY 1996 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, H.R. 2099)

  • banned implementation of stormwater controls (FY 1996 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, H.R. 2099)

  • halted implementation of sewage overflow controls (FY 1996 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, H.R. 2099)

  • blocked issuance of tap water standard for arsenic (FY 1996 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, H.R. 2099)

  • banned issuance of tap water standard for sulfates (FY 1996 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, H.R. 2099)

  • prevented issuance of standards to protect the public from contamination of groundwater supplies by cryptosporidium and other contaminants (FY 1996 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, H.R. 2099)

  • impeded implementation of the clean air act's operating permit program (FY 1996 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, H.R. 2099)

  • provided exemptions for oil refineries and cement kilns from air toxic standards (FY 1996 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, H.R. 2099)

  • restricted the public's right to know about toxic chemicals by preventing expansion of the Toxics Release Inventory (FY 1996 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, H.R. 2099)

  • exempted the oil and gas industry from accident prevention programs (FY 1996 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, H.R. 2099)

  • repealed the Delaney Clause prohibiting the use of cancer-causing pesticides in certain foods (FY 1996 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, H.R. 2099)

  • provided an audit shield for polluters who admit but do not necessarily correct environmental violations (FY 1996 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, H.R. 2099)

  • increased logging dramatically in the Tongass National Forest by requiring implementation of a discredited Forest Service draft management plan (FY 1996 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 1977)

  • overrode a court order mandating that the Clearwater National Forest in Idaho be managed for multiple use rather than just for logging (FY 1996 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 1977)

  • suspended grazing rules for 90 days (FY 1996 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 1977)

  • halted scientific assessment of species protection needs in the Columbia River Basin (FY 1996 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 1977)

  • weakened protections for the Mojave Desert (FY 1996 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 1977)

  • terminated environmental enforcement attorneys at Department of Justice (FY 1996 Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations bill, H.R. 2076)

  • provided for corporate sponsorship for the national parks (Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act of 1996, H.R. 4236)

  • allowed clearcutting in the Tongass National Forest that over a 23-year period would destroy an area the size of 130,000 football fields (Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act of 1996, H.R. 4236)

  • prohibited expansion of the Shenandoah National Park except by donation of land (Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act of 1996, H.R. 4236)

  • mandated a land exchange that would allow Arctic Slope Regional Corporation access to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for oil drilling (Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act of 1996, H.R. 4236)

  • increased jet-ski, motorboat, and truck access to Minnesota's pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area (Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act of 1996, H.R. 4236)

  • extended leases for cabins in California's Sequoia National Park. This would extend temporary leases that were granted only to ease the area's transition to National Park status (Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act of 1996, H.R. 4236)

  • granted the State of Alaska 350,000 acres of federal lands that could include existing Wilderness Areas as well as currently protected areas of the Tongass National Forest (Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act of 1996, H.R. 4236)


105TH CONGRESS (1997-98)
Without presidential veto, the 105th Congress would have enacted provisions that:

  • banned funds for Brownfields Revolving Loan Funds (FY 1999 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, H.R. 4194)

  • blocked funding for education of the public about global warming (FY 1999 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, H.R. 4194)

  • prohibited Park Service regulation of commercial fishing in Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska (FY 1999 Omnibus Appropriations bill, H.R. 4328)

  • required unauthorized roads to be decommissioned before any other type of authorized roads are decommissioned; virtually preventing work on regular roads that pose serious environmental risks and which are ready to be removed (FY 1999 Omnibus Appropriations bill, H.R. 4328)

  • imposed a road easement across the Chugach National Forest in Alaska, thereby preventing the government from making modifications to protect the environment while authorizing environmentally damaging management practices; also exempted the project from comprehensive environmental review or public input (FY 1999 Omnibus Appropriations bill, H.R. 4328)

  • required the Forest Service to maximize commercial wood harvesting before the agency conducts prescribed burning projects, effectively stopping most prescribed burns and endangering lives (FY 1999 Omnibus Appropriations bill, H.R. 4328)

  • terminated the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project in six Northwest states (FY 1999 Omnibus Appropriations bill, H.R. 4328)

  • hindered efforts to restore endangered and threatened Pacific salmon runs in the Columbia and Snake Rivers (FY 1999 Omnibus Appropriations bill, H.R. 4328)

  • allowed operation and landing of helicopters in wilderness areas, which is currently prohibited (FY 1999 Omnibus Appropriations bill, H.R. 4328)

  • mandated that funds from the Exxon Valdez settlement can be spent only on grants for marine research and community and economic restoration projects for the fishing industry and local fishermen; prohibits funding for acquiring ecologically significant Alaskan habitat (FY 1999 Omnibus Appropriations bill, H.R. 4328)

  • transferred the jurisdiction over the Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area, a valued hardwood forest in Kentucky and Tennessee from the Tennessee Valley Authority to the U.S. Forest Service with incentives to log and commercialize the land (FY 1999 Omnibus Appropriations bill, H.R. 4328)

  • forced the Forest Service to sell all Alaskan timber using an outdated, impracticable appraisal method that undermines the public return on national forest management (FY 1999 Omnibus Appropriations bill, H.R. 4328)

  • amended the National Forest management act to prohibit forest plan revisions, requiring the use of inadequate and dated forest plans, even beyond their statutory 15-year lifespan (FY 1999 Omnibus Appropriations bill, H.R. 4328)


106TH CONGRESS (1999-2000)
Without presidential veto, the 106th Congress would have enacted provisions that:

(first session -1999)

  • exempted mountain top removal coal mining from federal and state water protections and surface mining laws. Although the rider was designed to prevent environmental laws from applying to mountaintop removal mining in West Virginia, the rider was eventually expanded to benefit western hardrock mining companies by striking down new hardrock mining regulations and would allow unlimited dumping of toxic mining waste on public lands (FY 2000 Interior Appropriations Bill, S. 1292)

  • provided immunity for coal fired power plants for violations of and from enforcement actions under the Clean Air Act. This rider would have barred an ongoing lawsuit against these utilities alleging that they have made major modifications to their facilities without installing the required pollution controls, and would have tolled penalties, eliminated liability for emission increases after November 1, 1999; worse yet, coal-fired power plants could have increased their emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and particulate emissions
  • delayed new roadless protections proposed by the Clinton Administration by expanding the public comment period on these new rules.
  • allowed destruction of valuable wetlands by delaying the implementation of revised nationwide permits that are more protective of wetlands (FY 2000 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, H.R. 2605)

  • attacked nonprofit organizations by (1) requiring special certification that they have never used federal funds to engage in litigation; (2) creating new penalties and obligations designed to harass nonprofit groups and (3) preventing nonprofits and researchers from educating the public on legislative proposals (FY 2000 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, H.R. 2684)

  • waived application of the Endangered Species Act to endangered and threatened salmon that are native to or traveling through Alaskan waters (FY 2000 VA-HUD Appropriations bill, H.R. 2684)

  • delayed important hardrock mining regulations that would require financial resources for cleanup and would give government the discretion to deny mining permits for companies with poor compliance with environmental protections (FY 2000 Agriculture Appropriations bill, S. 2536; and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, H.R. 3423)

  • impeded science-based management of national forest and Bureau of Land Management Land by providing these agencies with broad discretion to choose whether or not to collect new scientific information on wildlife resources when amending forest management plans (FY 2000 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 2466, S. 1292)

  • provided a special deal for Washington grazing interests by renewing and extending livestock grazing, and overruling the National Park Service's decision to halt grazing, within the popular Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, a popular national park land along the Columbia River in Washington state. This rider was inserted for the benefit of 10 ranchers on 1,000 acres (FY 2000 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 2466, S. 1292)

  • delayed critical land acquisition in the Columbia River gorge national scenic area by compromising the public land acquisition process to unfairly benefit landowners at the expense of federal taxpayers (FY 2000 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 2466, S. 1292)

  • delayed implementation of noise standards in the Grand Canyon National Park until the National Park Service provided Congress with a peer-reviewed report on the scientific basis for noise standards (FY 2000 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 2466, S. 1292)

  • interfered with the introduction of grizzly bears into Idaho and Montana by requiring the written consent of the governors of these two states before the federal government could spend any funds to introduce the grizzly to the Selway Bitterroot ecosystem. This rider would set a terrible precedent of requiring state permission to implement a federal law with federal funds on federal lands and would hinder endangered species recovery actions; it also would have derailed a five year collaborative effort to help the grizzly (FY 2000 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 2466, S. 1292)

  • blocked funding for the Bioshere Reserves created through the Man and the Bioshere program (FY 2000 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 2466, S. 1292)

  • allowed the oil industry to underpay oil and gas royalties by delaying a new oil royalty valuation rule. The Clinton Administration was able to ensure that the delay would be limited and not extended in the next year (FY 2000 Interior Appropriations bill, S. 1292)

  • weakened the 1872 mining law by allowing mining companies to dump toxic mining waste on public lands without limitation on the number of acres it destroys. The Clinton Administration was able to substantially modify this rider, even though the final version still allows some mines to dump their wastes in an unlimited fashion (FY 2000 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 2466, S. 1292)

  • restricted the federal government's international and domestic actions relating to the Kyoto Protocol, which could limit the ability of our government to participate in international negotiations and promote domestic interests such as the export of US technology to developing countries to help them reduce carbon emissions (included in the FY 2000 Commerce, Justice, State, H.R. 2670; Energy and Water, H.R. 2605; Foreign Operations, H.R. 2606; Interior, H.R. 2466; and VA-HUD Appropriations bills, H.R. 2684)


(second session - 2000)

  • overruled the endangered species act by preventing water flow changes on the Missouri River that are needed to protect three endangered species, including the least tern and pallid sturgeon. This rider puts these species at severe risk for extinction (FY 2001 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, H.R. 4733)

  • blocked a federal decision to keep water flowing to the Rio Grande River, thus contributing to the extinction of the Rio Grande silvery minnow and the southwestern willow flycatcher (FY 2001 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, H.R. 4733)

  • prevented funding from being used to support the popular collaborative American Heritage River Initiative (FY 2001 Agriculture Appropriations bill, H.R. 4461)

  • restricted the federal government's international and domestic actions relating to the Kyoto Protocol, which could limit the ability of our government to participate in international negotiations and promote domestic interests such as the export of US technology to developing countries to help them reduce carbon emissions (included in the FY 2000 Agriculture Appropriations bill, H.R. 4461; and Interior Appropriations bills, H.R. 4578)

  • transferred land from a national seashore and a national wildlife refuge before the environmental impacts were considered on proposals to construct unnecessary and expensive jetties in sensitive coastal ecosystem in Oregon Inlet, North Carolina (FY 2001 Agriculture Appropriations bill, S. 2536; FY 2001 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 4578)

  • delayed Colorado Forest River protection by postponing a final decision on the White River National Forest Plan (which would limit ski area expansion and closing some motorized trails that harm wildlife, water quality, and other resources by forcing the Forest Service to spend months or years of analysis on the Plan's impact on small business (FY 2001 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 4578)

  • blocked roadless area protection for the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire (FY 2001 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 4578)

  • prevented funding for a new national wildlife refuge in Yolo Bypass, California, which would help restore the wildlife, fish and ecology of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (FY 2001 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 4578)

  • delayed grizzly bear recovery efforts by calling for an unnecessary additional peer review study and required a new higher standard for determining whether the Selway Bitterroot wilderness contains adequate habitat for the grizzly (FY 2001 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 4578)

  • thwarted wolf recovery in Oregon by directing the Fish and Wildlife Service to remove automatically any gray wolves that enter Oregon from Idaho (FY 2001 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 4578)

  • blocked stronger hardrock mining regulations that ensure adequate financial resources for cleanup and would give agencies discretion to deny mine permits to companies with poor compliance records (FY 2001 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 4578)

  • undermined the Administration's comprehensive salmon recovery plan for the Snake/Columbia River Basin by removing recovery options by blocking studies or consideration of dam removal (FY 2001 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 4578)

  • blocked federal procurement reform that would require federal contract officers to consider a contractor's compliance with environmental laws before awarding a government contract (FY 2001 Treasury Appropriations bill, H.R. 4985)

  • exempted steller sea lions from endangered species protections. (FY 2001 Consolidated Appropriations Act, H.R. 4577)

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