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Release Date: 04/20/98
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MONDAY, APRIL 20, 1998
To kick off Earth Week, EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner today helped create a forest buffer along the Anacostia River that will protect public health by stopping pollution from entering the Chesapeake Bay watershed, one of America’s Great Places. “Saving Great Places” is the Clinton Administration’s theme for celebrating the nation’s 29th Earth Week, culminating in Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22.
“America’s waters, like the Chesapeake Bay, are among our nation’s greatest places, and working to ensure clean water is fundamental to this Administration’s commitment to protect public health and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner. “Today, the greatest threat to our waters comes from urban and agricultural runoff. That is why President Clinton has put forward the Clean Water Action Plan to finish the job of protecting America’s waters. I want to thank the volunteers here today and throughout America who are working with us to achieve our goal of clean, safe waters for all Americans.”

At today’s event in Kenilworth Park along the Anacostia River, Browner joined American Forests, the oldest national citizens conservation organization, and two dozen cooperating organizations, agencies and businesses to plant several hundred trees on a one-acre site
to support the intergovernmental Riparian Forest Buffer Initiative. The federal-state initiative will plant 2,010 miles of forest buffers by the year 2010 to help filter pollutants that run off into the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

At the same time, American Forests announced a commitment in support of President Clinton’s Clean Water Action Plan to plant 20 million trees across the country. Their public/private campaign, called Global ReLeaf 2000, includes a Global ReLeaf for the Chesapeake Bay which will plant one million trees in the watershed in support of the forest buffer goal.

In February, President Clinton announced a Clean Water Action Plan and $2.3 billion in additional funding over the next five years to finish cleaning up the nation’s waterways. Sixty percent of the nation’s remaining water pollution problems are caused by rural runoff -- animal wastes, fertilizers, pesticides and sediments.

Among the 110 activities underway or planned to finish cleaning up waterways, the Clean Water Action Plan lists a number of key activities to help prevent runoff:

-- more than $220 million in new assistance to state, tribes and farmers to curb polluted runoff; creation of two million miles of buffer zones adjacent to waterways; and development of pollution prevention plans covering more than 35 million acres, by 2002;

-- a new common sense, flexible strategy released by EPA last March, to work with farmers to control runoff from animal feeding operations, calling for a mix of regulatory and voluntary actions;

-- a program to address pfisteria and other microbial diseases in waterways, thought by scientists to be caused by the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus in runoff; EPA will set specific numerical standards for the two nutrients in runoff.

The Clean Water Action Plan is available on the Internet:

Forest buffers along waterways help absorb and filter pollutants and are one of many ways available to reduce the impact of runoff pollution entering water supplies. In October l996, Browner, as Chair of the federal-state Chesapeake Bay Program Executive Council, announced the adoption of the Riparian Forest Buffer Initiative which includes the goal of 2,010 miles of forest buffers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed by the year 2010. Under that program, EPA provides funding for buffers. Last fall, Vice President Gore announced the availability of resources from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create additional forest buffers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, called the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.

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