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EPA AND THE CITY OF CHARLOTTE SHOWCASE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFORTS IN THE CHARLOTTE AREA AND KICK-OFF INNOVATIVE AIR QUALITY PROJECT

Release Date: 10/30/2002
Contact Information: Carl Terry 404-562-8325 October 30, 2002
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman today joined Mayor Patrick McCrory and other Federal, State and local officials at the Charlotte Convention Center to showcase environmental efforts in the Charlotte/Rockhill area and to "kick-off" implementation of a new innovative air quality project.

<"To achieve lasting improvement in environmental health, it takes a willingness to use innovative approaches, build partnerships, and work together cooperatively across county and state boundaries," said Whitman. "I commend you for recognizing this and developing a coalition that encompasses counties from both North and South Carolina, a partnership that is working to identify specific steps your area can take to improve the environment."

This innovative project builds on an existing effort EPA initiated about two years ago with Mayor McCrory and Parks Helms, Chairman of the Mecklenburg County Commissioners. EPA identified the Charlotte region as a highly desirable area with which to partner to demonstrate improved regional cooperation on air, water and land development issues. Because pollution does not respect boundaries, the region identified the need to build regional consensus on actions to address critical environmental issues. The effort focused on getting regional leaders together to develop a regional tool box of strategies that they can implement to address regional concerns on air quality, water quality, brownfields, smart growth and other regional issues.

The integrated air quality project announced today expands upon the partnership that has been built and will attempt to fully integrate air quality planning with energy, transportation, land use, and economic development. It is the first time in the nation that an area has committed to such a strategy that addresses all these issues simultaneously. EPA will offer technical assistance and expertise along the way. In addition, the Agency will provide nearly a quarter of a million dollars to move the project forward.

"At EPA, we look forward to supporting your efforts and remaining an active partner as plans are made for the future with the goal of achieving lasting and measurable environmental results," said Whitman. "After all, that is what we are pursuing - results. We have a responsibility to provide Americans with cleaner air, purer water, and better protected land, and the American people deserve real results and significant progress."