Local Problems Call For Local Solutions: Americans Don't Need Uncle Sam's Help to Protect Open Space

Local Problems Call For Local Solutions: Americans Don't Need Uncle Sam's Help to Protect Open Space

January 18, 1999

WASHINGTON, D. C., January 19, 1999 – "Americans want to regain control of their communities and make decisions close to home. Yet this Administration insists on trying to bring ever greater power to Washington, D.C.," commented Jonathan H. Adler, senior director of environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in reaction to President Clinton’s "Livability Agenda" outlined in the State of the Union address. The President’s initiative, among other things, would create tax-credits to help finance local projects that meet federal environmental standards.

"President Clinton should pay more attention to his own polls. Open space is a legitimate concern, but the American people don’t want the federal government involved," Adler said. Survey results released today by the Competitive Enterprise Institute demonstrate that most Americans think that addressing suburban development and "urban sprawl" is a matter for state and local governments. The survey of 1,000 registered voters, conducted by the polling company in December, found that 67 percent of Americans want state or local governments to address "urban sprawl" in those communities where it is concern. 11 percent want no government involvement whatsoever to address "urban sprawl," while only 8 percent thought that the federal government should be the primary actor in dealing with this issue.

"The last thing this country needs is EPA oversight of local development," Adler added, noting that the Clinton-Gore proposal conditions federal assistance to local bond issues on EPA approval. "Most Americans believe that their local communities are capable of maintaining the quality of their local environment, if only the federal government would get out of their way. If this President were truly concerned about open space and ‘urban sprawl’ he would go after federal programs which encourage excess development and discourage innovation and free enterprise in our inner cities. Instead, he offers one ineffective program idea after another."

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