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UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN, ADMINISTRATOR, The First Hundred Days January 20 to April 30, 2001
Release Date: 04/27/2001
FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2001
UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN, ADMINISTRATOR
The First Hundred Days
January 20 to April 30, 2001
Tina Kreisher 202-564-9828
The Bush Administration has hit the ground running in its efforts to preserve and protect America’s environment, as detailed below. In keeping with the commitments the President made during the campaign last year, the EPA is working to build partnerships with the American people, promote market-based solutions to environmental challenges, and focus on environmental results over bureaucratic process.
Reviewing Late-term Rules Proposed by the Clinton Administration
Consistent with the directive from the White House Chief of Staff, Andrew Card, the EPA has been reviewing the environmental rules proposed by the Clinton Administration during its last 60 days in office. Action has been taken on the following rules covered by the directive:
Diesel Rule – 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.
Lead Rule – 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.
“Tulloch” Wetlands Rule – The administrator affirmed a rule to protect America’s wetlands by more closely regulating construction activities in wetlands. This 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. The Administrator pledged to have the new standard in place in sufficient time to meet the 2006 implementation date set in the original proposal.
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.
Other Significant Policy Actions
In addition to undertaking a comprehensive review of those regulations issued in the final days of the previous administration, EPA has been moving forward on a number of other important policy matters, including:
Pesticides Litigation – 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.
Brownfields Legislation and Grants – The Administrator testified before the relevant House and Senate subcommittees in support of brownfields legislation introduced in the Senate to meet the President’s promise to reform the brownfields program by giving 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.
Reformulated Gasoline in the Midwest – To help prevent a repeat of last summer’s high spike in fuel costs in Chicago and Milwaukee, the Administrator directed that refiners blending gasoline for sale in those two cities may use increased amounts of ethanol.
Starlink Corn – To better protect public health and confidence in America’s food supply, the Administrator announced that EPA will no longer approve a biotech food product for animal consumption unless it can also be safely approved for human consumption.
Keeping in Touch with the American People
Following the President’s example of traveling extensively in his first 100 days to keep in touch with the American people, Administrator Whitman has also spent a significant amount of time outside Washington. During the first hundreds days her 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
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 Major Utility CEOs
American Chemistry Council National Corn Growers
American Farm Bureau Association Natural Resources Defense Council
American Petroleum Institute Nature Conservancy
Conservation Fund Nebraska Department of Agriculture
Environmental Defense Fund Western Governors’ Association
The Green Group World Resources Institute
Iowa Farm Bureau 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 more than 25 major policy speeches since assuming office on February 1. Among the groups she has addressed are:
American Metropolitan Waterworks Association National Association of Conservation Districts
The Business Council National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
The Business Roundtable National Environmental Policy Institute
Environment Ministers of the Americas NGA’s Private Lands, Public Benefits Summit
G-8 Meeting of Environment Ministers NGA’s Task Force on Growth and Quality of Life
League of American Bicyclists
National Pork Producers Council Natural Resources Council
National Wheat Growers Association New England Council
National Wildlife Federation The White House Project
The Agency is eager to build on this new beginning as it works to leave America’s air cleaner, water purer, and land better protected at the end of the Bush Administration than it was at the beginning.