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Speeches By EPA Administrator

 

Clean Water Partners for the 21st Century, Washington, D.C.

04/01/2003
Remarks of Governor Christine Todd Whitman,
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
to the
Clean Water Partners for the 21st Century
Washington, D.C.

April 1, 2003


Thank you, Tracy (Mehan), and thanks to our Clean Water Partners for being here today.

I appreciate the effort you =ve made to be with us.

As you found out in February, there = s nothing like a little snow to bring the capital of the mightiest country on the face of the earth to a grinding halt. I = m glad you are able to be with us this morning.

When we announced the creation of this program last Spring, some were skeptical of its chances for success. There is a school of thought in this town that the only way to achieve environmental progress is through command and control from Washington. But what this program shows is that some of the most creative, innovative environmental work going on in America is taking place at the local level.

We received nearly 200 applications from around the country for our Clean Water Partners program. Of those, 79 earned the designation we are awarding today.

The range of effort that is represented among our Clean Water Partners is truly impressive, literally stretching from coast to coast. From a community-based effort right here in Washington to restore the Anacostia River basin to a program to address elevated bacterial levels at the beaches along Orange County, California, our Clean Water Partners are giving all of America something to celebrate.

After all, President Bush has declared 2003 to be the Year of Clean Water, a time to mark 30 years of progress since the adoption of the Clean Water Act. The progress America has made in cleaning its water is impressive. Gone are the days when rivers spontaneously combusted and garbage was more plentiful than seashells along our coasts. Yet, much remains to be done.

Today, some 40 percent of America = s waters are impaired. We can do better than that. I believe the answer to further improvement lies in adopting the watershed approach. Today, most of the pollution that threatens America = s waters comes from non-point sources. Every eight months, as much oil makes its way to our coastal waters from non-point sources as was spilled from the Exxon Valdez.

Each of you here today not only recognizes the importance of watershed-based planning, you are making it happen. The work you are doing not only makes me proud to have you as partners, it makes you examples for the rest of America to follow.

So thank you for being here B and more important, thank you for all you are doing to make America = s water purer in the years ahead.

Thank you.