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Speeches By EPA Administrator

 

Administrator Johnson, Empire Canyon Sustainable Redevelopment Groundbreaking, Park City, U.T.

04/17/2007
Thank you for joining us.

This is a great day for the environment and economy of this community, and I want to thank our state and local partners – Governor Hunstman and Dana Williams – for their enthusiastic leadership and support.

I also want to thank Kerry Gee, from United Park City Mines, for investing millions of dollars in mine cleanups throughout the area … as well as Jeff Mongan, who’s forward-thinking development group has committed to constructing this "green" resort.

Finally, I want to thank my friend, EPA Regional Administrator Robbie Roberts, for making this project one of his top priorities.

It’s a pleasure to join all of you today to kick off this pilot project under EPA’s new Environmentally Responsibility Redevelopment and Reuse program – also called ER3.

I think it’s only appropriate for EPA to launch the ER3 program here in Park City, Utah – a place where residents and visitors alike come to appreciate our natural wonders.

I think it’s also fitting we’re celebrating the ribbon cutting of this redevelopment project just days before our nation celebrates its 37th Earth Day.

Earth Day is an opportunity to look back at America’s incredible environmental accomplishments. Our nation’s air, water and land are cleaner today than they were just a generation ago – and under the Bush Administration, this progress continues.

Earth Day also serves as an annual remainder to all Americans of their environmental responsibility.

Thankfully, our citizens are getting the message.

From newspaper headlines to the covers of Fortune 500 reports, we are reading about more and more companies, communities and individuals working to outdo each other in going “green.”

Even here in Empire Canyon, DV Luxury Resort is not building just an ordinary resort complex – but rather a resort complex that incorporates an impressive array of green design and operational features to minimize its environmental footprint.

America is shifting to a “green culture” – where all of our citizens understand that environmental responsibility is everyone’s responsibility.

Instead of having only 17,000 EPA employees working to protect the environment, this Earth Day we can celebrate the fact we now have 300 million Americans as partners, helping us hand to the next generation a cleaner, healthier world.

At EPA, we are promoting America’s evolution to this green culture by equipping the growing army of environmental stewards with the tools they need to help pass down a cleaner, healthier world.

One of those tools is being showcased here today – though it might not seem as impressive as the excavators behind me. The tool I’m talking about clears legal roadblocks, which in the past has prevented redevelopment projects from moving forward due to liability concerns.

EPA’s ER3 initiative provides liability relief to those who agree to make substantial steps to improve environmental conditions and minimize the impacts of redevelopment projects. What does that mean here in Park City?

Bottom line – Empire Canyon will be a success story of restoring contaminated properties back into community assets.

Formerly a mine that extracted precious resources, this site will soon add to the environmental and economic well-being of this area.


The property we are standing on was scarred by decades of mining. But instead of just cleaning it up, EPA is encouraging the development of a “green resort.”

Under an agreement with EPA, DV Luxury Resort will build an environmentally sensitive resort and spa facility that will meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver standard – an accomplishment few are able to achieve.

Earlier today, I joined Governor Huntsman at the Utah Energy Summit to discuss the state’s energy future. So when reading up on the Empire Canyon project, I was pleased to learn this resort will be constructed to be an environmentally responsible energy user. Not only will it maximize its energy efficiency, it will annually use the wind-generated power equivalent of planting more 375 acres of trees each year.

Others here have described in more detail the additional “green” features of this redevelopment, which will help protect this community’s watersheds and wetlands, minimize and recycle waste, and restore native habitat.

I want to thank each of our partners for playing such a vital role in transforming this site damaged by decades of mining, back into a thriving community asset.

As I said before, America is evolving into a “green culture.” I see this particular redevelopment project as one that can serve as a model for others in the “green” resort market.

Americans are realizing their environmental responsibility doesn’t disappear when they walk out of their front doors. And the market is responding, providing consumers with environmentally conscious products, energy sources … and now even spas.

Companies are proving that doing what’s good for the environment can also be good for their bottom lines, and I commend DV Luxury Resort for setting a great example for other resort developers to follow.

Once again, I want to thank them, and all of our partners for making today’s kickoff possible. This is a landmark achievement for EPA, the U.S. Department of Justice, the state of Utah, property owners, and developers.

As we remind Americans that environmental responsibility is everyone’s responsibility this Earth Day, this project serves as a shining example of how to responsibly transform contaminated sites back into environmental and economic treasures.

Thanks, and good luck with your work.