VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATEOctober 9, 1996
JIM LEHRER: Mr. Kemp, you mentioned it already before, and you'd said on Meet the Press Sunday that the federal government engages in, quote, "regulation reign of terror." What exactly do you mean?
MR. KEMP: Well, exactly just what I said. Regulations that would take property or reduce the value of some farmer or rancher or homeowner's property for wetlands or endangered species and take that property or reduce its value without compensating the owner. That is a reign of terror. It's happening.
In Oregon not too long ago a farmer took 25 percent of his property and declared it a wetland. It had the runoff of snow that allowed it to be declared a wetland, but he did it himself voluntarily. He found within a couple of years that the bald eagle began to use it as a habitat. The Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Wildlife and Fisheries, all of the federal agencies came onto his property, declared it a federal wetland and said he couldn't drive. They took away the road. He couldn't mend his fences. And they wouldn't pay the value of the loss of the - they wouldn't pay, or compensate I should say, for the loss of value to that property.
How can we, as a free society, turn people into enemies or adversaries of the United States government? OSHA does it. EPA does it. ERTA does it. And you name it. We should recognize that this country should live in such a way as to build an alliance with our free enterprise system that can build a better America for our children and our grandchildren. We can do it, but it's got to take new leadership in Washington.
VICE PRESIDENT GORE: Well, it takes values that recognize the importance of the environment. Mr. Kemp voted against the Clean Water Act, voted against the renewal of the Superfund Act.
We have been taking a new approach: protecting the environment, but getting rid of unnecessary regulations. We're eliminating 16,000 pages of regulations. We've entered into a new project called Project XL - this is at the EPA - where we enter into a bargain with businesses. When they say "We'll exceed the standards," we say "Give the EPA a way to measure the progress and then throw away the rule book altogether." Now, this is the kind of common-sense approach that can clean up the environment while eliminating unnecessary red tape.
Make no mistake about it, though: there are those who would like to go much further. Some have even proposed - and this bill he cites would do it - that polluters ought to be paid if they agree to stop dumping poisons into the river. The pay polluters provision is wrong. We fought against it; we'll never allow that.
MR. KEMP: When I went to Congress from Buffalo in 1970, you could almost walk across Lake Erie because of the pollution. Today, thanks to the secondary and tertiary treatment plants - which many of us voted for on both sides of the aisle, which actually started under Richard Nixon, Republican president - our water is cleaner in the Great Lakes. We've got a lot of progress that we've made and we've got to make more.
But to turn the country into a regulatory effort by the federal government and suggest that we can't work in harmony, a, with the environment and with business, is a big mistake. We should use incentives, not always using sticks against business in America and that jobs that it creates.
JIM LEHRER: Mr. Vice President, does the government of the United States, as now operated by the Clinton administration, operate on a reign of terror - through a reign of terror?
VICE PRESIDENT GORE: No, of course not.
We're taking a brand new approach to eliminate unnecessary regulations, unnecessary bureaucracy. We've got lots of examples of this. There was a story in the newspaper the other day about a home testing kit that the FDA had held up. That happened under a rule in the last administration. We said change that rule. It's being changed now; it's under consideration by the FDA right now and it will be changed. There are thousands of other examples.
We believe that there is a new approach. Let me give you an example from OSHA. We're reinventing the way OSHA does its job. Some people would like to eliminate OSHA. We think that the protection of job safety in the workplace is very, very important.
But what we've said is look, start measuring the results. We found that the inspectors were being rewarded on the basis of how many fines they issued. We changed that completely. They used to go in and give somebody a fine if they didn't have a poster on the wall informing employees of their rights.
To use this as an example of our new approach, now, if they go in and see that poster's not there, they go out to the trunk of the car and give them a poster.
It's the same approach that we're taking in all the regulatory agencies. We're making a lot of progress. We want the protection with common sense not nonsense.
MR. KEMP: Well, we have to have the type of economic prosperity that will allow us to generate the revenues to provide this technology. Ten percent of all the emissions - 10 percent of all the hydrocarbon emissions, oxides going into the air are cause by just 10 percent - 100 percent of all the emissions are caused by 10 percent of the automobiles. Now, there is technology that would allow infrared technology to be used to identify those cars that are providing all the pollution in our atmosphere. It is not being able to be used because we are going to take every automobile driver in America, all 110 million automobiles and charge them 17 or 20 or $25. Look, we ought to go after the ones that pollute, not go after the men and women who want to be able to drive their automobile to work or to school and to make sure that they have the type of opportunity to live like everyone else without having themselves regulated by a Washington establishment.
We can use technology. That's the answer. But to get the technology, you've got have a growing economy. This is not growing fast enough, and it will under Bob Dole and Jack Kemp.
VICE PRESIDENT GORE: Well, the economy is growing very strongly right now.
We've had 10-1/2 million new jobs created just in the last four years. In the last quarter the growth rate was 4.7 percent. The average growth rate is also coming up. It is higher than in either of the last two Republican administrations.
Bob Dole said, in February of this year, this is the strongest economy in 30 years. The conservative business journal, Barrons, says this is the strongest economy in 30 years. We've got good, solid growth. Let's don't risk it on some $550 billion risky scheme.