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Top Administration Officials Hold America’s Great Outdoors Listening Session in L.A.

Release Date: 07/08/2010
Contact Information: EPA Press Office, press@epa.gov, 202-564-6794

WASHINGTON — Today, top Obama Administration officials held a listening session in Los Angeles under President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to hear the public’s ideas for building a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda and reconnecting Americans with the outdoors.

The listening session was one of a series the administration is conducting as part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative to promote and support innovative, community-based conservation efforts and to reconnect Americans with the great outdoors.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, Agriculture Under Secretary Harris Sherman, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy participated in the session, which was held at Occidental College. Earlier in the day, the administration officials also held an America’s Great Outdoors youth listening session at Rio de Los Angeles State Park.

“Green space in our urban areas must be part of the 21st century conservation strategy for America’s Great Outdoors. Far too many of our cities have limited access to parks for children, low-income residents and communities of color,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We are here today to learn from the people who know these parks and outdoor spaces best, so that we can recreate their success in communities all across the country.”

“We share a passion and a responsibility to take care of the places we love and the communities we call home,” Secretary Salazar said.
The America’s Great Outdoors Initiative embodies this commitment and that is why we are here today. Southern California’s beauty and outdoor lifestyle is something we must take advantage of and protect. We want to hear your ideas and support your efforts to conserve our land, water, and wildlife. Most importantly, we want to keep the connection to the great outdoors alive for generations to come.”

“Just like many states and communities throughout America, the people of Los Angeles are intensely proud of their parks and outdoor spaces,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “This event and others like it are highlighting how communities like Los Angeles are coming together to clean up, protect and enjoy their cherished outdoor spaces, and how the administration can support these ground-up efforts.”

“Public and private conservation and natural resource stewardship are integral to the history, culture, and prosperity of California,” said Harris Sherman, USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment. “We look forward to hearing in greater detail about the hard work happening in the area, because support for successful regional and local conservation efforts will be key as we chart a 21st century conservation agenda.”

“The Los Angeles community’s efforts on water quality improvement, flood risk management and ecosystem restoration are models for how we can integrate these efforts while providing outdoor recreation opportunities,” said Assistant Secretary Darcy. “Collective learning and sharing best practices will help us better steward our lands and waters, and serve their visitors. I look forward to learning from these events.”

President Obama inaugurated the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative at a White House Conference in April. The conference brought together leaders from communities across the country that are working to protect their outdoor spaces and focused on developing and supporting innovative ideas for improving conservation and recreation at the local level.

Under the initiative, the administration is reaching out to communities across the country to hear good ideas about conservation and to learn about the efforts that ordinary Americans are making to conserve our land, water, and wildlife.

More information on the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative:
http://www.doi.gov/americasgreatoutdoors