On issues involving environmental concerns, Ashcroft has won praise from the far right and criticism from environmental advocates. In 1998, Ashcroft introduced the "Economic Growth and Sovereignty Act" (S. 2019), which the right-wing Heartland Institute called "the boldest step yet taken by a member of the [Senate] that will ultimately decide the fate of the [Kyoto] treaty." According to Heartland, the Ashcroft measure "aims to undercut White House efforts to circumvent the Senate and impose limits on emissions of man-made greenhouse gases."
Ashcroft voted against a motion to table an amendment that would have limited the American Heritage Rivers Initiative, which gives federal assistance to river communities. He also voted to require congressional approval before President Clinton could implement the AHRI, which the President established by executive order. (Motion agreed to 57-42, Sept. 18, 1997, H.R. 2107, FY 1998 Interior Appropriations, RCV# 247.)