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EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson Speaks at National Press Club

Release Date: 03/08/2010
Contact Information: EPA Press Office, press@epa.gov, 202-564-6794

WASHINGTON – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson discussed the agency’s seven key priorities and the strong connection between environmental protection and economic prosperity in a speech at the National Press Club today.

Excerpts of the administrator’s remarks are below. Full text of her remarks.

Video of the speech

Excerpts:

“Well-conceived, effectively implemented environmental protection is good for economic growth. Let me repeat that: environmental protection is good for economic growth…”

    “Poison in the ground means poison in the economy. A weak environment means a weak consumer base. And unhealthy air means an unhealthy atmosphere for investments. But a clean, green healthy community is a better place to buy a home and raise a family, it’s more competitive in the race to attract new businesses, and it has the foundations it needs for prosperity…”
      “[Environmental protection] creates a need – in other words, a market for clean technology – and then drives innovation and invention – in other words, new products for that market. This is our convenient truth: smart environmental protection creates jobs…”
        “Often times the same offices that are blasting out press releases on the overreach of faceless EPA bureaucrats are also asking those same bureaucrats for help. That’s a textbook example of irony and it’s all too evident in today’s politics. When it comes to people’s health, everyone wants strong environmental protection…”
          “In the last 30 years, emissions of six dangerous air pollutants that cause smog, acid rain, lead poisoning and more decreased 54 percent. At the same time, gross domestic product grew by 126 percent. That means we made huge reductions in air pollution at the same time that more cars went on the road, more power plants went on line and more buildings went up. The question is, how does that happen? The answer is innovation…”
            “Innovation is the “sweet spot” where our economic and environmental interests meet. It’s where business leaders and conservationists can come together to hash out solutions – solutions that have filled American history with environmental achievements and helped us lead the global economy. America is home to a world-leading environmental technology industry. By conservative estimates, in 2007 environmental firms and small businesses in the US generated $282 billion in revenues and $40 billion in exports, and supported 1.6 million American jobs…”
              “The question we face now is, what can we at EPA do to protect our environment, strengthen our communities and foster prosperity? One of the clear answers is abandoning the old disputes and working in partnership on new innovations…”
                “...the economic costs of unchecked climate change will be orders of magnitude higher for the next generation than it would be for us to take action today. I can’t in good conscience support any measure that passes that burden on to my two sons, and to their children. I find it hard to believe that any parent could say to their child, ‘We’re going to wait to act…’“
                  “Consumers want to know that their products don’t have hidden health and environmental costs. Companies must respond to parents who refuse to buy bottles with BPA in them, or that leech dangerous chemicals into drinking water. Industry can try to resist and ignore EPA, but I know – and they know – that they resist the forces of the green marketplace at their own peril…”
                    “It’s time to put to rest the notion that economic growth and environmental protection are incompatible. It’s time to finally dismiss this false choice. We need a new approach that plays to America’s greatest strengths of ingenuity, invention and innovation. We need to reclaim leadership in the development of new products that protect our health and our environment. And we need to capitalize on the growing green marketplace here and around the world…”
                      “...ever-expanding economic opportunity is not possible without sustainability. Without protection for the water, air and land that people depend on, we can only go so far. Without clean energy, the global economy will be running on empty within our lifetimes…”
                        “This is about rising to meet our most urgent environmental and economic challenges – not shrinking from them with the excuse that it’s just too hard. That’s never been a good enough answer for the American people. At no point in our history has any problem been solved by ‘waiting another year to act’ or burying our heads in the sand. Progress is made by seeing – in our greatest challenges – all the possibilities for building a healthier, more prosperous future, and bringing the best we have to offer to the table. It’s what we’ve done before. It’s what we have to do again today. It’s not something we can leave for tomorrow…”