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PR EPA DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR HANSEN LAUNCHES SENIOR CITIZENS' VOLUNTEER ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAM
Release Date: 05/16/97
FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, MAY 16, 1997
EPA DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR HANSEN LAUNCHES
SENIOR CITIZENS' VOLUNTEER ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAM
EPA Deputy Administrator Hansen today announced a new volunteer program to
increase senior citizens' involvement in protecting the nation's environment. Hansen
made the announcement at a national conference of senior environmental volunteers,
the Environmental Alliance for Senior Involvement, held this week in Alexandria, Va.
Hansen said EPA will reach out to volunteer-oriented retired Americans to enlist their active involvement in environmental efforts in their communities. The agency will work with four national senior organizations: the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, which has more than 750 volunteer programs around the country; the U.S. Administration on Aging and the National Council on Aging, which together are affiliated with approximately 16,000 senior centers nationwide; and the Environmental Alliance for Senior Involvement, which can draw on a broad-based membership of environmental, service, and volunteer organizations. EPA and the four organizations signed a formal commitment today in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding.
EPA Administrator Browner, from EPA headquarters, also commented, "We are thrilled to work with the nation's senior citizens who have already demonstrated a remarkable commitment to the environment." Browner added, "Certainly, when it comes to preventing pollution and protecting our environment, the country has much to gain from the wisdom, experience and enthusiasm of America's senior citizens."
Today's seniors are the fastest growing, largest, best educated and healthiest collection of older adults in the nation's history. There are more than 31 million people over the age of 65 in the United States, approximately eight percent of the population. As baby boomers age, that number will increase dramatically. Around four million senior citizens are already actively involved in volunteer work of some kind; another 14 million have expressed a willingness to participate in volunteer work, if asked.
Hansen described a number of activities already underway or being planned as a result of this collaborative effort. For example, senior volunteers in 15 states are being trained to help communities protect the sources of their drinking water; in another 20 communities they will help distribute home test kits for radon as well as other information on indoor air pollution. There also are plans to involve senior volunteers in educating residents about nearby Superfund, Brownfields and other hazardous waste sites, determining residents concerns and helping them through public participation processes. Senior volunteers also will be involved in numerous water quality monitoring efforts along lakes, streams, rivers and coastal waters.
Seniors interested in volunteering in the environmental area should contact their local chapter of any of these groups or any local volunteer agency.