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Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Remarks at the Groundbreaking for Edmonston’s Green Street, As Prepared

11/24/2009
As prepared for delivery.

Thank you all for welcoming me here today. Last week, I traveled to New Orleans, my old hometown, for my first official visit as EPA Administrator. While I was there, I toured some of the communities that had been hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina, including my old neighborhood in Ponchartrain Park. And I can’t help thinking of some of what I saw there as we talk about this green street.

Four years after one of the worst natural and environmental disasters this nation has ever seen, New Orleans is focused on re-making itself in a cleaner and more sustainable way. They’re tapping the potential of a growing clean energy industry. People are building efficient homes, riding hybrid buses, installing solar panels and working in green-collar jobs. And they are seeing the clear connections between our environment, our economy, and the strength of our communities.

New Orleans is, of course, a unique example. But communities all over America are in need of rebuilding right now. Earlier this year, President Obama helped pass the Recovery Act to do just that.

We’ve cut taxes for the vast majority of middle class families and provided critical resources to local governments so they can keep teachers, fire fighters and police officers in their jobs. The economy is now growing again for the first time in more than a year – and faster than at any time in two years. And one of the most significant achievements in the Recovery Act is its focus on sustainability, clean energy, and green innovation. After decades of hearing that we must choose between a growing economy and a green environment, we now have leadership telling us that that is a false choice. We’re proving that with projects like this.

EPA is proud to invest almost $1.2 million in recovery for this main street. In the years ahead, this green street will save the city money…it will attract more residents and make Edmonston a better place to start a business and bring jobs…and it will keep people healthier by preventing pollution in the air they breathe and the water they drink.

We also believe that – as one of the greenest streets in the country – Decatur Street can show the way for other communities across America – communities looking to revitalize their economies and move into the sustainable future.

This demonstrates the very best of what we can do together – in government and through community action – to meet our pressing economic challenges. And I believe the first steps in remaking this sustainable, green community are some of the first steps in remaking communities across the US.

I look forward to working with all of you in the years ahead as we build our green economy, create new jobs, and safeguard human health and the environment for every American. Thank you very much.