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Everglades Restudy Announcement Washington, D.C.

07/01/1999
Carol M. Browner, Administrator
 Environmental Protection Agency
                               
                 Remarks Prepared for Delivery
                Everglades Restudy Announcement
                        Washington, D.C.
                          July 1, 1999

     I'd like to thank Senator Graham, Senator Mack and all of the Florida Congressional Delegation -- and the other congressional leaders who join us here today -- for their leadership and commitment to the Everglades.

  Let me also thank Governor Bush who follows the leadership of so many other of our governors, including Governor Graham and, my mentor,  the late Governor Chiles in continuing the state's commitment to a healthy Everglades.

     On behalf of the President and Vice President, I also want to recognize all of the people across the Administration and in the White House who have worked so hard to make this day
possible:

     George Frampton, Sally Erickson and Brad Campbell

     My colleagues at EPA, including: Gary Guzy, John Hankinson, Richard Harvey, Allison Wise.

     And finally, let me thank the environmental community. So many of you have been a part of this effort for as long as I remember. Thank you for your vigilance,  which I am sure will never flag.

     What we announce today is more than just the sum of its parts -- a package of projects. It is a fundamental change in philosophy.  While complex and detailed, the Restudy is also a humble action -- a recognition that after almost a hundred years of intensive management of this ecosystem -- this natural area -- we did not really get it right. And that we must now commit ourselves to a different course.

     No where in our nation is the link between the health of the environment and the health of the economy greater than it is in the Everglades and South Florida.  Not only is tourism, fishing and farming dependent upon adequate flows of clean water, but so too are the six million people who live here. Just as we might invest in traditional infrastructure --  roads and schools -- so too must we invest in the Everglades if we are to guarantee a sound future for south Florida and to preserve this treasure for future generations.

     Today's action is a major step to realize the vision set out by the Vice President in February 1996. As a result of his leadership, the Administration has made unprecedented progress for the Everglades -- acquiring critical new restoration lands in the heart of the system, consensus on the need for restoration and acceleration and development of this plan.  With the help of Congress, we can now make this vision a reality.
 
     It used to be said of the Everglades, "It's just a swamp, let's drain it."  But that's like looking at the Grand Canyon and saying "It's just a hole, let's fill it."  

     I grew up on the edge of the Everglades.  And, it has inspired me since my earliest days.  

     Watch the high storm clouds come rolling in over the vast expanse we call the River of Grass and you will see a vista spread before you as awesome as any mountain range.  Feel the first cool breeze just as the sun sets over this floating prairie and you will feel a kind of peace and quite like nowhere else.

     Harry Truman said, when he dedicated Everglades National Park in 1947:

     "Here are no lofty peaks seeking the sky -- no mighty glaciers or rushing streams wearing away the uplifted land.  Here is land, tranquil in its quiet beauty, serving not as the source of water, but as the last receiver of it.  To its natural abundance we owe the spectacular plant and animal life that distinguishes this place from all others in the country."  And let me add, the world.

     I am proud to be a part of an Administration that has worked so hard -- and continues to work so hard -- to ensure that the heart of the Everglades will once again pulse with fresh, clean, abundant water. To ensure that the Everglades that inspired me will continue to thrive and offer inspiration to my son, our children and all the generations that follow.

     Thank you.