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Speeches By EPA Administrator

 

Healthy Hoops Coalition and Clear Skies, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

03/07/2003
Remarks of Governor Christine Todd Whitman,

Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,

at the

Penrose Elementary School

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

March 7, 2003


Thank you, Jason (Lawson), for that introduction and for being here today. I also want to thank Keystone Mercy Health Plan for their support for this program. We have a great team working here in Philadelphia to help kids with asthma and I= m proud to be part of that team.

We = re here to launch Healthy Hoops , an innovative program to help children with asthma learn how to protect their health and manage their condition so they can live full and active lives.

This is an exciting program and it = s going to help a lot of kids. As far as I = m concerned, Healthy Hoops is every bit as great as sinking the winning basket, at the buzzer, from half court B and nothing but net.

Asthma is a growing problem among children in America today. Nationwide, more than 6 million children struggle with asthma every day. Here in Philadelphia, nearly 38,000 boys and girls have asthma. If every one of those kids went to the First Union Center to see a Sixers game, you = d have to have everyone sit on someone else = s lap.

At the EPA, we are determined to do more to help understand why the incidence of asthma is growing and to help communities address some of the problems that make it harder for kids with asthma.

One of the most important things we can do is make the air you breathe cleaner and healthier. Air pollution is bad for everyone B but it = s especially bad for kids who have asthma. That = s why President Bush has proposed a bill we call the Clear Skies Initiative B a landmark proposal to improve air quality here in Pennsylvania and everywhere else in America.

Clear Skies will make the air cleaner by requiring power plants to reduce the amount of pollution they put into the air. Overall, Clear Skies would reduce by 35 million tons the emission of three of the most dangerous pollutants from power plants B nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and mercury B over and above what would be accomplished under the current Clean Air Act.

Here in Pennsylvania, once Clear Skies is fully implemented, emissions of sulfur dioxide will be reduced by 83 percent, nitrogen oxide emissions will be cut by 66 percent, and mercury emissions will be reduced by 86 percent from current levels.

Clear Skies will also deliver clear public health benefits. Nationwide, Clear Skies will save thousands of lives and help millions of people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses breathe a bit easier. Here in Pennsylvania, Clear Skies will mean 1,000 fewer premature deaths every year, and more than 22,000 fewer asthma attacks for the people of this state.

But there = s more to do B and thanks to the budget President Bush proposed earlier this month, we will get the resources we need to do the job right. The President has called on Congress to provide nearly $24 million for children = s asthma programs in the next fiscal year B a $3 million increase over last year = s request.

Among the efforts this will support is new research into how certain pollutants present in the environment may trigger asthma in children, as outlined in the Asthma Research Strategy we released last fall.

Please be sure that like everyone else here today, President Bush and I are committed to helping kids with asthma feel better and breathe better.

Thank you.

Now, I am pleased to present this check for $10,000 to help carry out the good work of the Healthy Hoops Coalition.