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Announcement of Clean Water Action Plan Baltimore, MD

Carol M. Browner, Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Remarks Prepared for Delivery
Announcement of Clean Water Action Plan
Baltimore, MD
     Today, the President and Vice President are announce a new Clean Water Action Plan -- a blueprint for the next generation of water quality protection in America. This is great news for the American people. Cleaner water means cleaner, safer, healthier, thriving communities throughout the nation.

     This administration believes that no parents should have to doubt that the water their children drink and swim in and play in is clean. They should not have to worry if the air their children breathe is pure, or if the land we all share is safe from contamination.

     That is why, since the President and Vice President took office five years ago, this administration has forged a new generation of environmental and public health protections -- standards that are second to none, vigorous enforcement of those standards, and tools that allow the American people to reduce pollution in their own communities.

     The President and Vice President have led the way for public health, giving this country the strongest, farthest-thinking environmental and public health protections in the world.

     Last summer, the Clinton-Gore Administration set the toughest public health standards in a generation for smog and soot, an action that will protect 125 million Americans from respiratory illnesses, including 35 million children.

     We took steps to ensure that the food we eat and the water we drink is safe and healthy, setting higher, tougher standards in the new Food Safety Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. And we wrote provisions into both laws that give consumers the right to know about pesticides in their food and contamination in their drinking water.

     Early last year, President Clinton issued new rules expanding the right of Americans to know about toxic pollution being released into their air, land and water. Now, even more industries must report their toxic releases and they must give us more information. The Clinton Administration believes putting information into the hands of the American people is one of the best ways to protect public health and the environment. And our experience has so far borne out this philosophy. Since the Right-to-Know Program began in 1986, facilities reporting toxic releases have reduced emissions by almost half.

     Also under the President's leadership, 351 of the nation's worst toxic waste sites have been cleaned up -- more than twice as many as in the previous 12 years combined -- so that no child should have to grow up near a Superfund site.  

     And we have accelerated cleanup of the nation's brownfields -- abandoned, contaminated urban property -- clearing the way for new jobs and greater prosperity in communities throughout the nation.

     The list of this administration's environmental and public health accomplishments goes on: an Executive Order that puts children's health first, another order to make environmental justice a top priority, better enforcement of our laws, and a wholesale effort to reinvent our environmental and public health protections so they do the best possible job of protecting the American people.
     Yes, we are making great strides in environmental and public health protection. And this clean water action plan -- the President's blueprint for action on the next generation of our water quality problems -- takes us yet another step closer to where we want to be -- a nation where the safety of our water is beyond doubt.

     At EPA, we look forward to using the President's clean water plan as a tool to fulfill the promise of the 1972 Clean Water Act, providing clean, safe water for every American in every community.

     Thank you.