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Speeches By EPA Administrator

 

Deeds Point Park on the Great Miami River

05/31/1996
                         Carol M. Browner

Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Deeds Point Park on the Great Miami River

                            Dayton, OH

                      Prepared for Delivery
                          May 31, 1996


It is a pleasure to join local government, business, community, and environmental leaders here today.

I want to congratulate the people of Dayton for all you have done to clean up your rivers and to protect your drinking water.
Many of you can remember the days when the Great Miami River was so polluted with industrial waste and raw sewage that
fishing was out of the question. But the people of Dayton made a commitment to clean up the river. We as a nation made a
commitment to clean up our rivers, our streams, and our beaches . Since 1983, EPA has provided Dayton with $44.4 million
in grants and loans to keep raw sewage out of the water. Today, fishing on the Great Miami River is back.


Your effort to protect the quality of your drinking water -- your wellfield protection program -- is also a model for the nation.
You have come together as a community, each person, each business, doing what you can to keep contamination out of the
water that ends up coming out of the tap. EPA has provided $100,000 in funds to help the program. And you have made
great progress.


The people of Dayton give us all the proof we need that an informed, involved local community always does a better job of
environmental protection than some distant bureaucracy. As you continue to take action to protect your water, you will
continue to see the benefits -- for the public's health, for the environment, for the economy.


EPA has just released a report that demonstrates beyond a doubt that clean, safe water is essential to the health of our
communities and our nation's economy. Clean water is a boon to the nation's economy, not a drain. Clean water brings
billions of dollars into our economy each year.


We do not have to choose between our health and our jobs. Economic prosperity and environmental protection go hand in
hand. A healthy economy begets a healthier environment; a healthy environment -- a stronger economy.


EPA's national report, entitled Liquid Assets, is the first report to the American public detailing how key economic sectors
rely on clean water for their economic health.


The report finds that beaches, rivers and lakes are the number one vacation choice for Americans today -- and that every
year, Americans take more than 1.8 billion trips to water destinations for fishing, swimming, boating, or relaxation. Recreation
and tourism -- much of which happens around the water -- is a $380 billion industry and the nation's second largest
employer, employing 6 million Americans.


Clean water is also of vital importance to agriculture. Crops grown on irrigated lands are valued at nearly $70 billion a year.
Agriculture provides jobs for more than 3 million people -- 1712f the labor market.


Clean water is key to commercial fishing and shellfishing, a $45 billion industry employing a quarter million people.

Clean water is a valuable commodity to the real estate industry. Real estate along desirable water areas is worth nearly 30
percent more than similar properties located inland.


And clean water is of vital importance to manufacturers, who use 13 trillion gallons of water each year.

To ensure that we continue to reap the benefits of clean water, we must not take this vital natural resource for granted. EPA's
report shows that despite the progress of the past 25 years, America's waters are still at risk.


Each year, thousands of beaches have to be closed to protect the public from bacteria and other pollutants. In 1994, there
were 96 beach closures in Ohio. More than 4012f Ohio's surveyed rivers and streams are too polluted for swimming, and
35are too polluted for fishing. There are presently 21 advisories in effect for Ohio rivers, as well as for the Great Lakes,
warning people to limit their consumption of fish from those waters. And more than 2 million Ohio residents receive their
drinking water from water systems that violated health standards in the past two years.


Over the past two years, Congressional leaders launched an unprecedented assault on public health and environmental
protection, including an attempt to roll back the Clean Water Act. Those reckless actions ignore the findings of EPA's report
-- that safe, clean water is essential to our lives, our communities, and our economy.


President Clinton stood firm against the attack on public health and environmental protections and has taken aggressive action
to protect water quality. The Great Lakes Water Quality Initiative puts forth tough standards to control toxic pollution. The
Administration is working to ensure that communities like this one have the resources they need to upgrade their drinking
water and keep raw sewage and toxic chemicals out of rivers and off beaches.


The people of Dayton are doing a great job, recognizing the importance of clean, healthy water and taking action to protect
it. The President will continue to take those actions necessary to protect this vital natural resource. To protect our health, our
communities, and our economy, we must protect our water.