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Speeches - By EPA Administrator

 

Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Remarks at the Welcoming Reception for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation Council in Guanajuato, Mexico, As Prepared

08/16/2010
As prepared for delivery.

It is my great pleasure to join you for the Seventeenth Regular Session of the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation.

This meeting is important because of the great potential for success we have when we’re working together. But even more than that, this meeting is essential – at a time when our challenges are no longer local or even national, but global, we absolutely must come together on common ground.

That was the foresight our predecessors had seventeen years ago when they met for the first time to protect the health and environment of all our citizens, and to promote the effective enforcement of our environmental laws.

The North American Agreement for Environmental Cooperation was groundbreaking in recognizing the need for mutually supportive environmental and economic policies, and for bringing together the CEC to form some of those policies.

It’s very exciting to be carrying on that work. Last year was my first Council Session, and I know that our three countries have been hard at work since then putting action behind our words.

Last year in Denver, we took our first steps together to improve the functionality and the reach of the CEC. I’m looking forward to continuing down that path.

In discussing the proposed Strategic Plan for 2010-2015, we will continue our open and transparent dialogue and I hope to expand our partnership to support the environmental goals and priorities of each of our three countries.

As part of that dialogue, I’m happy tonight to officially announce EPA’s international priorities. These priorities will guide the U.S. EPA’s work on our shared goals of facilitating commerce, promoting sustainable development, protecting vulnerable populations and engaging diplomatically around the world.

Earlier today, these six priorities were distributed to every single EPA employee. I’m happy to share them with you tonight.

First, EPA is committed to Building Strong Environmental Institutions and Legal Structures to support the regulatory and enforcement systems needed for effective environmental protection;

Second, we commit to Combating Climate Change by Limiting Pollutants. EPA will continue to promote global strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and other pollutants, in particular methane from landfills and black carbon from cookstoves.

Third is Improving Air Quality by working with rapidly developing cities and communities where the concentration of dangerous pollutants is increasing the threat of asthma and other respiratory diseases.

Fourth, EPA is committed to Expanding Access to Clean Water. We want to support the creation of safe and efficient drinking-water and wastewater treatment systems – with a focus on sustainable, high-quality drinking water and sanitation systems for overburdened and underserved communities;

Fifth is Reducing Exposure to Toxic Chemicals. It is imperative that we reduce the exposure to chemicals like mercury and lead, which can have immediate and lasting impacts on the lives of our children.

Last but not least, EPA is committed to Cleaning Up E-Waste. That will come by supporting the improvement of design, production, handling, reuse, recycling, exporting and disposal of electronic waste.

I’m pleased to come together with my colleagues as partners, and to work with all of you to shape a more sustainable North America.

Once again, a sincere thank you to the Government of Mexico, the City and State of Guanajuato, and everyone here for your warm welcome and for hosting this year’s Council Session.