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Top U.S. EPA Officials Tour Dow Wetlands Preserve

Release Date: 11/19/2002
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, U.S. EPA, (415)947-4307

     Visit by Administrator Christie Whitman and Regional Administrator Wayne Nastri Kicks Off Corporate Wetlands Restoration Project in California

     ANTIOCH, Calif.    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman and the EPA's Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator, Wayne Nastri, today joined executives from the Dow Chemical Company, the National Association of Manufacturers and Coastal America to officially launch the Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership (CWRP) in California.

     CWRP is an innovative private-public initiative that brings together businesses, government agencies, conservation organizations, community groups and academia to protect, enhance and restore our nation's critically important wetlands, coasts and waterways. Dow is the first to join in California.

     Wetlands are vital natural resources that purify our water, help prevent floods and are homes to many plants and animals including rare and endangered species. But in the U.S., more than half the wetlands have been lost since 1780. While the clock cannot be turned back, many wetlands can be restored successfully.

     "Today, I'm proud to represent the partners of Coastal America in joining with the Dow Chemical Company and the National Association of Manufacturers to celebrate the expansion of this unique partnership into the state of California," said EPA administrator Christie Whitman. "There is an old saying that, if you want to make a difference, start by looking in your own backyard. That's exactly what Dow has done."

     Among the morning's activities were remarks from Whitman and other dignitaries, interpretive displays, and educational activities conducted by students from Learner-Centered School and the University of California at Berkeley. The event also featured live animal exhibits by the nearby Lindsay Wildlife Museum of Walnut Creek, California.
     
     The event was hosted at Dow's 470-acre wetlands preserve in Antioch, a scenic stretch of land on the San Joaquin River that is just south of the company's Pittsburg manufacturing site. Dow's wetlands preserve was created in 1989 and is home to three endangered species, more than 120 species of birds and a diverse range of habitats. It is a major stopping point along the Pacific Flyway, a migratory route that originates in the Arctic.

     "In the business world, we often hear that protecting our natural resources costs too much. And we also hear that when weighed against considerations of increased profits and improved company performance, the price of environmental protection is too high," said Arnold Allemang, Dow executive vice president, in his remarks at the event. "Dow disagrees. We consider it our responsibility, as part of our commitment to sustainability, to support projects like CWRP. We are pleased to be CWRP's first corporate partner in California."

     Wayne Nastri, the EPA's regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, praised Dow, and other corporations who are already striving to protect and restore wetlands, saying, "This is an important first step by Dow and it underscores the company's commitment toward corporate environmental stewardship. In thanking Dow, I also urge them to continue their environmental efforts and I encourage other corporations to follow in their footsteps."

     Coastal America is a partnership among federal, state, local and tribal governments and private alliances to address environmental problems affecting our nation's coasts, waterways and wetlands.

     Dow is a leading science and technology company that provides innovative chemical, plastic and agricultural products and services to many essential consumer markets.

     NAM is the national sponsor of CWRP and the nation's largest industrial trade association. NAM represents 14,000 members and 350 member associations serving manufacturers and employees in every industrial sector and all 50 states.

For more information, visit these Web sites: www.coastalamerica.gov and www.nam.org .