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Earth Day- April 22'nd 2008

Earth Day is a time to celebrate gains we have made and create new visions to accelerate environmental progress. Earth Day is a time to unite around new actions. Earth Day and every day is a time to act to protect our planet.

Environmental Highlights

* The nation's air is much cleaner today than it was in 1970 and progress will continue.
* The trend of annual loss of wetlands has been reversed.
* Restoration and redevelopment of abandoned industrial sites is accelerating.
* President Bush is meeting his commitment to reduce the National Park Service maintenance backlog.

Environmental Highlights:
Federal Government Actions

The nation's air is much cleaner today than it was 35 years ago. Over the last three decades, total emissions of six principal air pollutants have decreased by 54 percent. Remarkably, this progress has occurred even while the U.S. Gross Domestic Product increased 187 percent, energy consumption increased 47 percent, and vehicle miles traveled increased 171 percent.

* This progress will continue with implementation of the Administration's new Clean Air Interstate Rule, the Clean Air Non-road Diesel Rule, and the President's Clear Skies legislation, which will result in a 70 percent cut in sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury emissions from power plants.
To accelerate our national progress towards a cleaner, healthier, safer environment, Administration policies ensure decision making is based on the best data and science. They also encourage innovation and the development of new, cleaner technologies as the foundation for our nations future.

Economic Growth and Reduced Air Emissions

Each year EPA looks at emissions of air pollutants that affect the ambient concentrations of these pollutants. The most recent estimates go through 2004. These annual emissions estimates are used as one indicator of the effectiveness of our programs. Between 1970 and 2005, gross domestic product increased 195 percent, vehicle miles traveled increased 178 percent, energy consumption increased 48 percent, and U.S. population grew by 42 percent. During the same time period, total emissions of the six principal air pollutants dropped by 53 percent. For more information, visit

From 1990 to 2002, air toxics emissions declined by 42 percent. Those reductions are the result of implementing stationary and mobile source regulations. Seventy-five percent of air toxics emitted in 2002 are included below as volatile organic compound and particulate matter emissions.

Conserving America’s Wetlands: Implementing the President’s Goal

Since April of 2004, 832,000 acres of wetlands have been restored, created, protected or improved. More specifically, over the past year:

• 328,000 acres were restored or created;
• 154,000 acres were improved;
• 350,000 acres were protected.

The report also highlights anticipated progress from April 2005 through the end of fiscal year 2006, in which the Bush Administration expects an additional 1.6 million acres to be restored, created, improved, or protected. "Conserving America's Wetlands" is available at

Land Conservation and StewardshipPhoto of a girl planting a tree

  • Healthy Forests Initiative

    On December 3, 2003, President Bush signed legislation implementing key provisions of his Healthy Forests Initiative. The President's initiative is helping restore the health and vitality of forests and rangelands, and helping reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires. This is benefiting communities and wildlife habitats.

  • National Parks: Restoring the Quality of Our Cultural, Natural and Historic Resources

  • 2002 Farm Bill: Helping America's Farmers Conserve Their Lands

    President Bush supported and signed into law a Farm Bill that enhances conservation and environmental stewardship. Under this Administration, funding has nearly doubled for these effective programs. The Farm Bill conservation programs are providing up to $38 billion over a decade to restore millions of acres of wetlands, protect habitats, conserve water, and improve streams and rivers near working farms and ranches.

  • Cooperative Conservation

    In August, 2004, President Bush signed Executive Order #13352 entitled Facilitation of Cooperative Conservation. The order directs the Departments of Defense, the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce and the Environmental Protection Agency to implement laws relating to the environment and natural resources in a manner that promotes cooperative conservation, with an emphasis on local involvement.

Photo of children playing under a blue sky

  • Clear Skies Initiative

    President Bush's initiative, which has been introduced in Congress, would dramatically improve air quality by reducing power plants' emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury, by approximately 70 percent over the next 15 years, more than any other clean air initiative. This historic proposal will bring cleaner air to Americans faster, more reliably, and more cost-effectively than under current law.

  • Clean Air Interstate Rule

    On March 10, 2005, EPA issued the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), a rule that will achieve the largest reduction in air pollution in more than a decade. CAIR will ensure that Americans continue to breathe cleaner air by dramatically reducing air pollution that moves across state boundaries. In 2015, CAIR will provide health and environmental benefits valued at more than 25 times the cost of compliance.

  • Mandating a Cut in Mercury Emissions for the First Time Ever

    Mercury emitted from coal-fired power plants comes from mercury in coal, which is released when the coal is burned. While coal-fired power plants are the largest remaining source of human-generated mercury emissions in the United States, they contribute very little to the global mercury pool. Recent estimates of annual total global mercury emissions from all sources -- both natural and human-generated -- range from roughly 4,400 to 7,500 tons per year. Human-caused U.S. mercury emissions are estimated to account for roughly 3 percent of the global total, and U.S. coal-fired power plants are estimated to account for only about 1 percent.

  • Reduction in Emissions from Non-Road Heavy-Duty Diesels

    In May 2004, as part of its Clean Diesel Programs, EPA finalized a comprehensive rule to reduce emissions from nonroad diesel engines by integrating engine and fuel controls as a system to gain the greatest emission reductions. The new engine standards will reduce PM and NOx emissions by more than 90 percent.

Improving the Quality of Our Waters

  • Water 2025

    The Water 2025 Initiative helps states, tribes, and local communities improve conservation, implement efficiencies, and monitor water resources.

At Home
Save energy
Use less water
More ...

In Your Classroom
For teachers and students
Learn about issues
Try some games
Do activities
More ...

While At Work
Commute smart
Use green buildings
Reduce energy use
More ...

... Or In Your Community
Find ways to volunteer with government at all levels.

USA Freedom Corps
Find service opportunities that match your interests and talents in your home town, across the country or around the world.

Forest Service Volunteer
Volunteers are the heartbeat of the USDA Forest Service. Your talents and skills are matched with your work preference to satisfy you and fulfill the mission of the Forest Service.

Earth Team Volunteers
The Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service needs people 14 and older to help reduce soil loss, protect water supplies, and more.

Take Pride in America
Help maintain our natural, cultural and historic resources on public lands.

More volunteer opportunities home


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