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Speeches By EPA Administrator

 

Albuquerque Attains Public Health Standard for Air Quality

05/15/1996
             Carol M. Browner

Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Albuquerque Attains Public Health Standard for Air Quality

                         Albuquerque, NM

                      Prepared for Delivery
                          May 15, 1996


It is a pleasure to be here in Albuquerque, to breathe your clean air, and to celebrate the victory that you have achieved. I am
here today on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to sign a rule certifying that air quality in Albuquerque now
meets federal standards for public health.


The people of Albuquerque have achieved a remarkable success by working together on a wide variety of common-sense
actions, especially your cleaner-burning oxygenated fuel program and your vehicle inspection and maintenance program.


In 1980, this area failed to meet federal public health standards for carbon monoxide pollution 117 times -- more than
one-third of the year. By 1985, that number had dropped to 14, and by 1990, there were only three recorded
"exceedances." Air quality in Albuquerque has consistently met national health standards since 1992.


Albuquerque is now in compliance with federal air quality standards. That's good for the health of the people of this City and
it's good for your economy.


It is important to note that the air is cleaner even though the population of Albuquerque has grown by almost 40,000 in just
five years. As your population grows, as your economy grows, EPA is confident that the City can sustain this great success
by continuing your efforts to control air pollution.


Across this country, communities, government, and industry are working together to reduce air pollution. And together, we
have made great progress. Since 1990, 50 million Americans in 55 cities are breathing cleaner air that meets federal health
standards.


The Clinton Administration is committed to continuing the progress -- to protect where we live and how we live -- our air,
our water, our land, our health.


Under the President's leadership, in this Administration we can point to the biggest drop in toxic air pollution in U.S. history.

In three years, we have cleaned up more toxic waste sites than had been cleaned up in the previous 12 years. We have
accelerated the cleanup of urban properties that have long lain contaminated or abandoned -- returning them to productive
use, creating jobs, creating hope.


We expanded the public's right to know about toxic chemicals in their communities. We cut red tape for honest business
owners by eliminating 10 million hours of paperwork.


But for intransigent polluters, those who irresponsibly disregard the law, the public has every right to expect swift action, and
we have taken that action: we have imposed the biggest fines in history.


President Clinton has always believed that environmental protection and economic progress can and must go hand in hand.
Today, the combined rate of unemployment and inflation is at its lowest level since 1968. Under the Clinton Administration,
8.4 million new jobs, 2 million new businesses, 3.6 million new homeowners. Here in New Mexico, more than 90,000 new
jobs.


Over the past two years, we have experienced an unprecedented Congressional assault on environmental protection. In the
battle over the budget, in the battle over the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws, the President stood firm for
public health and environmental protection. As a result, vital protections are in place and will remain in place.


Now, the President has called on Congress to lock those protections in place through a seven-year balanced budget. The
President believes, as the American people do, that we can balance the budget and protect public health and the
environment. We do not have to choose.


The President has called on all Americans to come together, to meet America's challenge on the environment, to restore the
bipartisan commitment to public health and the environment that served this nation so well for the past generation.