Statement on EPA's 25th Anniversary

by Carol M. Browner
[EPA press release, December 1, 1995]

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency marks its 25th anniversary on December 2, 1995. Since EPA was created in 1970 to protect public health and our environment, our nation has achieved tremendous environmental progress. Our skies are cleaner. We no longer have rivers catching on fire. And U.S. environmental expertise and technology are in demand all over the world.

But the job is not done. More than one in three Americans still live in areas where the air is too polluted to meet health standards. Forty percent of rivers, lakes, and streams are too polluted for fishing or swimming. One in four Americans still live near a toxic waste dump.

To meet the challenges of the next 25 years, we must continue the bipartisan commitment that has served us so well in the past. We need a new generation of environmental protection that uses flexible, common-sense, cost-effective strategies to protect our health, our air, our water, and our land.

For three years, the Clinton Administration has acted to continue the progress and make our environmental process more protective than ever.

Today, these efforts to continue the progress of the past 25 years are threatened by Congressional proposals to make deep cuts in the environmental budget. Those proposals are unacceptable.

Twenty-five years ago, when President Nixon signed the Clean Air Act, he said, "1970 will be known as the year of the beginning, in which we really began to move on the problems of clean air and clean water and open spaces for the future generations of Americans." Let's ensure that 1995 is not the end of that effort.

The American people want clean water to drink, healthy air to breathe, safe land to live on, and a secure future for our children. President Clinton and I firmly believe that these protections are fundamental to the American quality of life. We are committed to ensuring that these vital protections are upheld.