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UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN, ADMINISTRATOR, SIX MONTHS OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRESS JANUARY 20 TO JULY 20, 2001

Release Date: 07/20/2001
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Also available in Spanish: "La Administradora Christine Todd Whitman de La Agencia de Protecci \ n Ambiental de los EE.UU.: Seis Meses de Progreso Ambiental"




Environmental News

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, JULY 20, 2001

UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN, ADMINISTRATOR

SIX MONTHS OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRESS
JANUARY 20 TO JULY 20, 2001

Tina Kreisher 202-564-9828



The Bush Administration is meeting its commitment to preserve and protect America’s environment. In keeping with the President’s philosophy of government, the EPA is promoting market-based solutions to environmental challenges, focusing on environmental results over bureaucratic process, and building partnerships with the American people.

Significant Environmental Accomplishments

Over the past six months, the EPA has moved forward on a number of important policy matters, including:

Energy Production and Environmental Protection – Perfect Together – The President’s National Energy Policy reflects the Administration’s commitment to environmental protection, energy production, and economic prosperity. With nearly half the Plan’s specific recommendations promoting environmentally sound energy practices, the EPA is a major partner in the Administration’s effort to enact the first comprehensive energy policy for America in a generation. Among EPA action items already underway are a review of New Source Review, expansion of the Energy Star program, and the crafting of a multi-pollutant bill.

Promoting Hemispheric Environmental Partnerships – at the meeting of the Council of the Commission for environmental cooperation in Guadalajara, Mexico on June 29, 2001, the Administrator secured a pledge from the environmental ministers of Mexico and Canada “to explore further opportunities for market-based approaches for carbon sequestration, energy efficiency and renewable energy in North America.”

Cleaner Air through Cleaner Diesel Fuel – The Administrator affirmed a rule to reduce emissions from large trucks and buses and to reduce sulfur levels in diesel fuel. This action will result in significant health benefits to the American people, including saving as many as 8,300 lives a year, as well as enhancing the health of children suffering from asthma by preventing more than 360,000 asthma attacks and 386,000 cases of respiratory symptoms annually.

Improving Views in America’s National Parks – to improve the experience of visitors to America’s national parks, the EPA proposed a rule to control the emissions from older power plants and other industrial facilities that contribute to haze that, too often, spoils the scenic views that once captivated visitors. Parks whose vistas will be improved include Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and Sequoia.

Cleaner Burning Gasoline in the Midwest – to help control gasoline prices in Chicago and Milwaukee without compromising air quality, the EPA made it easier for refiners to add ethanol to gasoline to help it burn cleaner.

Cleaning up America’s Brownfields – The Administrator has been working closely with Congress to secure passage of brownfields legislation to meet the President’s promise to give state and local governments greater flexibility and needed resources to turn community environmental eyesores into productive community assets. The Administrator also joined with members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors to accept its endorsement of the administration brownfield’s proposal. In addition, the Administrator announced the awarding of more than $38 million in grants for a total of 36 new brownfield pilot projects in communities across the country.

Eliminating Persistent Organic Pollutants – to protect the American people from the dangers of 12 chemicals that persist in the environment long after their use, the Administrator represented the United States in Stockholm, Sweden for the signing of the Convention on Persistent Organic Chemicals. This treaty bans or restricts the production, use, and/or release of 12 chemicals that have been linked to numerous adverse effects in humans and animals, including cancer, central nervous system damage, reproductive disorders, and immune system disruption.

Cleaner Drinking Water – to improve the purity of drinking water for America’s families and protect the public health, EPA issued a rule to protect consumers from microbial pathogens, including cryptosporidium.

Improving Rules for Cleaner Water – in response to criticisms from Congress and the National Academy of Sciences, the Administrator has agreed to seek changes to the controversial Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) rule over the next 18 months. This action will protect the long-term health of America’s waterways by addressing numerous legal challenges which have effectively halted any further progress in cleaning up America’s lakes, rivers, and streams.

Protecting Ground Water at Yucca Mountain – to ensure the protection of ground water sources for generations to come in and around the area of the proposed repository for radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the EPA proposed a rule that will ensure the protection of groundwater for millennia to come.

Protecting America’s Wetlands – The administrator affirmed a rule to protect America’s wetlands by more closely regulating construction activities in wetlands. This rule (the Tulloch Wetland Rule)will help prevent loss of wetlands to construction practices that were being conducted under a “loophole” in regulations previously promulgated.

Arsenic Rule – In response to numerous concerns that the level set in the proposed rule was not sufficiently based on sound science and did not adequately address compliance cost issues, the Administrator asked the National Academy of Sciences to perform an expedited review of a range of 3 to 20 parts per billion (ppb)of arsenic for a new drinking water standard to protect public health and asked the National Drinking Water Advisory Council to review the economic issues associated with a new standard. These studies are actively ongoing. The Administrator expects to have the new standard in place in sufficient time to meet the 2006 implementation date set in the original proposal.

Increased Reporting on Lead – The Administrator affirmed a rule to lower the threshold for reporting of lead used by industry. The new standard will require any company that manufactures, processes or uses 100 pounds of lead or more annually to report such use to the EPA as part of the Toxics Release Inventory. This will significantly increase the information available to the public about the uses of lead in America’s communities. Past practice has shown that such information generally leads to decreased emissions of reportable toxics by companies, leading to public health and environmental benefits.

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) – In response to numerous requests from the agricultural community, the Administrator extended by 75 days the public comment period for this rule.

Promoting Food Safety – EPA achieved agreement among a broad group of stakeholders to an amended consent decree in a case concerning the use of pesticides in farming practices. The changes will guarantee new opportunities for public participation and additional external review of critical pesticide decisions aimed at protecting health and safety.

Ensuring Confidence in America’s Food Supply – To ensure public confidence in America’s food supply, the Agency has affirmed the importance of rigorous scientific evaluation of plants that have been engineered to protect themselves from pests such as insects, viruses, and fungi (plant incorporated protectants).

Keeping in Touch with the American People

Following the President’s example of traveling extensively to keep in touch with the American people, Administrator Whitman has also spent a significant amount of time outside Washington. Since becoming administrator on February 1, her domestic travels include:

Florida – to tour the Everglades; meet with Governor Jeb Bush

Atlanta – to visit EPA Region 4 offices; meet with state environmental directors; meet with various stakeholders regarding Georgia water issues

Cleveland – to announce a landmark public-private clean air pilot program and promote the President’s budget

Denver – to visit EPA Region 8 offices; meet with Western Governors’ Association to discuss their concerns regarding water regulation (arsenic standards)

New York City – to visit EPA Region 2 offices; help recognize regional environmental awards winners; promote the President’s commitment to equal opportunity for women in his administration

Philadelphia – to visit EPA Region 3 offices; attend Earth Week events

Boston – to meet with stakeholders in Region 1; attend Earth Day events

Chicago – to visit EPA Region 5 offices; promote environmental education; address Conservation Foundation with the Speaker of the House, the Hon. Dennis Hastert

Winchester and Keene, New Hampshire – to promote brownfields legislation with Senator Bob Smith; address Lincoln Day Dinner in Keene

Lexington and Somerset, Kentucky – to join with Representative Hal Rogers to promote Kentucky PRIDE, a public-private effort to encourage responsible environmental practices, and participate in their annual clean-up effort and awards ceremony

Atlanta – to promote the President’s energy plan

Tempe and Phoenix, Arizona – to promote the President’s energy plan

Dallas – to visit Region VI headquarters, promote the President’s energy plan

St. Louis – to promote the President’s energy plan

Anchorage, Alaska – to promote the President’s environmental and energy programs

Seattle – to visit Region X headquarters, promote the President’s energy plan

Old Lyme, Connecticut – to promote the President’s energy plan with Rep. Robert Simmons

Building Partnerships

In keeping with the President’s commitment to build partnerships with state and local governments, business and industry, environmental groups, and interested citizens in pursuit of common goals, the Administrator has held numerous meetings with a variety of stakeholders, including:
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
Alaska Conservation Alliance
American Chemistry Council
American Crop Protection Association
American Farm Bureau Association
American Gas Association
American Petroleum Institute
Conservation Fund
Environmental Defense Fund
The Green Group
The Heritage Foundation
Iowa Farm Bureau
Major Utility CEOs
Natl. Assn. Of Home Builders
National Corn Growers
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
Natural Resources Defense Council
Nature Conservancy
Nebraska Department of Agriculture
Western Governors’ Association
World Resources Institute
World Wildlife Fund


Promoting the President’s Agenda

To promote the President’s environmental agenda to a wide variety of groups, the Administrator has delivered nearly 50 major policy speeches since assuming office on February 1. Among the groups she has addressed are:
American Metropolitan Waterworks Association
American Water Works Association
The Business Council
The Business Roundtable
CNN World Report Annual Conference
The Conservation Fund
Commission for Environmental Cooperation
Environment Ministers of the Americas
G-8 Meeting of Environment Ministers
League of American Bicyclists
National Association of Counties
National Association of Local Government Environmental Professionals
National Pork Producers Council
National Wheat Growers Association
National Wildlife Federation
National Association of Conservation Districts
National Association of Manufacturers
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
National Environmental Policy Institute
NGA’s Private Lands, Public Benefits Summit
NGA’s Task Force on Growth and Quality of Life
Natural Resources Council
New England Council
Pennsylvania Environmental Council
Real Estate Roundtable
Republican Main Street Partnership
Resource Development Council of Alaska
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Brownfields Summit
The White House Project


Conclusion

Over the past six months, the EPA has not only laid the groundwork for four years of environmental progress, it has also amassed a strong record of concrete actions that will help meet the Administrator’s goal of making America’s air cleaner, water purer, and land better protected.

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