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Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Grants, Washington, D.C.

Remarks of Governor Christine Todd Whitman,
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Grants
Washington, D.C.

April 20, 2001

Thank you, Mayor (Anthony) Williams. I am delighted to be with you today for this important announcement.

With Earth Day just a few days away, some may be wondering why we would choose this place to make an environmental announcement.

It’s not the sort of beautiful, grassy place often used as backdrops for environmental announcements.

But places like this all across America are one of the most important environmental challenges facing our country today.

This is a brownfield. Brownfields are places that are suspected of being polluted, places no one wants to reclaim because they’re concerned about the problems that might lie below the surface.

Because of that concern, this site has been a blight on the neighborhood.

That’s about to change.

Due to the hard work of Mayor Williams and his administration, this location has been studied and assessed and is now the future home of 3 new stores that will give this neighborhood – and the District – a real boost.

This environmental eyesore is going to be transformed into a community asset, creating jobs, promoting prosperity, and building a better future for the people of Ward 5.

Anyone who thinks economic prosperity and environmental protection can’t go hand in hand should stop by here when K-Mart, Giant, and Home Depot are open for business.

At the EPA, we want to help Mayor Williams and his counterparts in other cities and towns across America do what’s being done here.

We want to give them the tools and the resources they need to evaluate and cleanup more sites like this, so that more neighborhoods can transform empty, abandoned lots into places filled with hope and opportunity.

Today I am announcing the awarding of 93 EPA grants to help create more success stories like the one that is unfolding right here.

These grants, which total $38 million, represent an important part of EPA’s commitment to partnership with America’s cities in helping them reclaim the brownfields that scar too many neighborhoods.

These grants are also a part of the Bush Administration’s larger commitment to building partnerships in pursuit of the environmental goals we all share – cleaner air, purer water, and better protected land.

Such partnerships are especially useful in brownfields reclamation efforts. Local mayors know best where the need for efforts such as this exist in their cities.

We have seen achievements like this in cities and towns all across America.

Brownfields have become everything from ballfields to shopping centers, from historically preserved housing to job-creating manufacturing facilities.
But thousands still lay abandoned. We are determined to change that.

Every place we help reclaim a brownfield, we help rebuild a neighborhood for the people who live there.

Today, I am pleased to present to Mayor Williams and the people of the District this grant to the D.C. Department of Health for one hundred thousand dollars.

And while this maybe a brownfield today, with the help of green like this, we’re going to make brownfields bloom all over the District and the country.

Thank you.