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Speeches By EPA Administrator

 

Public Leadership Education Network's Women and Public Policy Seminar, Washington, D.C.

01/09/2003
Remarks of Governor Christine Todd Whitman
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
at the
Public Leadership Education Network = s Women and Public Policy Seminar Washington, D.C.

January 9, 2003


Thank you Liz (Swanson) for that introduction. It = s great to be here with all of you today. I know that many of you have given up part of your winter break to attend this seminar, and I hope that it has been a worthwhile experience.

I understand there is a large contingent of Rutgers University students here from my home state of New Jersey, so I = d like for you to keep in mind that not everything the newspapers say about me is true.

In all seriousness, I always appreciate the opportunity to talk with a group of young women not only about my work at the Environmental Protection Agency, but about the role of women in politics as well.

As women leaders, and future leaders, I believe that we face an important challenge B increasing the role of women in political leadership positions all across America.

Fortunately, we have a President that believes in promoting strong women to positions of influence, and that = s why there are more women in senior positions in this White House than in any other Administration in America = s history.

In the recent election, women also had much to celebrate. Four women were elected to serve as governors bringing the total number of women governors to six B a record number.

This may be a record, but it = s still a small number and is illustrative of the fact that as women we are still working our way up the ladder of political parity. One of the most important ways to increase the number of women serving is for women leaders to set an example by serving with strength, integrity, passion, and conviction.

In order to convince young women like yourselves to enter the political arena, it= s important to see what makes it all worthwhile B the ability to help others, the opportunity to shape policy, and a career that makes a difference.

Public service has always been something to which I = ve been drawn, and I have been fortunate in the positions I = ve held B from Governor of New Jersey to Administrator of the EPA B to serve the people and pursue the issues I care about.

When I took the job as head of the EPA, I said that my goal was to leave our air cleaner, our water purer, and our land better protected.

An important part of achieving that goal has been a renewed focus on the importance of science to the development of environmental policy.

For the many science majors here, it will come as no surprise, that sound science is the foundation of EPA = s work. From targeting priority chemical concerns, to better identifying sources of pollution, to designing strategies to control it, science is the tool that guides and directs our efforts.

During my tenure at EPA, I have worked to recommit the Agency to that principle by appointing a science advisor, evaluating the process we use to develop regulations, and encouraging the use of innovative scientific methods.

The main goal of these efforts has been to put science up front throughout our decision- making process B to ensure that from the conception of an idea through its development and implementation we make our decisions based on scientific analysis and results.

Especially, as the environmental challenges we face in the 21st century grow more complex, it is imperative that science B not politics B directs our efforts to protect the environment.

As you are finishing up your college studies, I hope that you will find the issues that you care about, and that as you think about the future you will consider public service as an area to invest your time and talents.

Thank you and I = d be happy to answer any questions.