News Releases from Headquarters›Office of the Administrator (AO)
Administrator Pruitt Promotes Environmental Stewardship, Innovation, and Partnership at Commission for Environmental Cooperation
EPA commits to cooperation on innovation and technology with North American counterparts
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just wrapped up the 25th Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) Council Session. This year’s session was hosted by EPA in Administrator Scott Pruitt’s home state of Oklahoma. Administrator Pruitt delivered opening remarks for the CEC Council Session on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. You can watch his speech here.
“The U.S. is a global leader with respect to environmental stewardship, due in large part to technology developed and pioneered in Oklahoma,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “It is a privilege to be able to share the best of American innovation and environmental protection with our North American counterparts. We are committed to working with Canada and Mexico to ensure North America’s abundant natural resources are protected and utilized for the betterment of mankind.”
“The U.S. is honored to host and chair the 2018 CEC Council Session, focused on innovation and partnerships for green growth, and to announce new Council initiatives on extreme events, innovation hubs, and youth engagement in North America,” said Office of International and Tribal Affairs Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator Jane Nishida.
“The CEC plays a vital role in bringing together citizens and experts, businesses and researchers, indigenous communities and youth to foster innovation, and support green growth across the North American region," said CEC Executive Director César Rafael Chávez. "We are looking forward to working on the new initiatives announced today to help advance innovation for green growth and preparedness and resilience to extreme events in North America."
“We appreciate the hospitality of Administrator Pruitt and the people of Oklahoma, an example of pride, resilience and perseverance; qualities we need in our way to strengthening environmental cooperation in North America,” said Enrique Lendo Fuentes, Head of International Affairs at the Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. “Innovation is a fundamental pillar for the achievement of sustainable development and also a key driver of green growth.”
"I am pleased with our continued progress in trilateral cooperation on the environment," said Isabelle Bérard, Canada's Council member and Assistant Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change. "Our joint efforts include advancing science to inform preparedness and resilience to extreme weather events, and promoting innovation and clean economic growth while protecting our shared environment and acting on climate change."
As this year’s Chair of the CEC, Administrator Pruitt welcomed stakeholders from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to Oklahoma City, Okla., where the focus was on innovation and partnership. The two-day event included a visit to the National Weather Center (NWC) and the Tom Love Innovation Hub in Norman. During the visit to the NWC, Administrator Pruitt announced an extreme events mapping initiative and extreme events advisory group. This group will work together to share and advance preparedness and response capabilities to ensure the sustainability and reliability of vital industries, such as agriculture and energy, in the wake of extreme events, with a focus on droughts, wildfires, and extreme temperatures.
During the visit to the Tom Love Innovation Hub, the three CEC Youth Innovation Challenge (YIC) winners — one from each country represented — presented their projects and met with other entrepreneurs to discuss the impact their projects can have on North American communities. This year’s U.S. winner is Nima ShahabShahmir from Lewisburg, West Virginia. His project is called Future Fungi and aims to reduce the use of plastic in everyday life by introducing new environmentally-friendly materials like mushroom mycelium. Administrator Pruitt also announced the North American innovation hub network that will promote sustainability and cooperation between higher education institutions and the private sector.
"We have many environmental challenges facing North America,” said Nima ShahabShahmir. “I believe that young entrepreneurs in Canada, Mexico, and the United States can contribute innovative solutions. I am grateful to the CEC for this recognition and honored to represent the U.S. with my environment-friendly business idea, Future Fungi."
Since 1994, the U.S., Canada, and Mexico have collaborated to protect North America's environment through the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC). The NAAEC came into force at the same time as the North American Free Trade Agreement and focuses on effective cooperation and continuous improvement in the environmental protection of North America.
The CEC facilitates collaboration and public participation among the three countries to foster conservation and protection of North America’s environment and natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.
The 2018 Council Chair is EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and each year the location of the Council Session rotates among the three countries and the respective Council Chair hosts it in his or her home state/province. The CEC comprises a Council, a Secretariat, and a Joint Public Advisory Committee. The Council is the governing body of the Commission and comprises Cabinet-level or equivalent representatives of each country. The Secretariat provides technical, administrative, and operational support to the Council. The Joint Public Advisory Committee — five citizens from each country — advises the Council on any matter within the scope of the NAAEC.