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Atlantic Ecology Division Laboratory Visit, Narragansett, Rhode Island

Remarks of Governor Christine Todd Whitman,
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
at the
Atlantic Ecology Division Laboratory
Narragansett, Rhode Island

May 16, 2003

Thank you, Bob (Varney). It = s great to be here to see the incredible work going on here at the Atlantic Ecology Division. I = m also pleased that Governor Carcieri could be with us today. We = re honored to have you here.

As a life-long resident of a coastal state B and lover of the ocean B I have a special appreciation for the work you are doing here. My home state's 127 miles of clean, sandy beaches are not only a treasured natural resource, they are also a major contributor to New Jersey = s economy.

In years past, we learned the hard way what happens when we don = t take good care of our coastal waters. The work you are doing here B especially in partnership with coastal states B will ensure that those mistakes of the past remain in the past B never to be repeated again.

You have an impressive facility, but the quality of a facility doesn't count for much if you don't also have top-notch scientists B and we certainly have that level of talent and knowledge at EPA and right here at the Atlantic Ecology Division. Your efforts B developing tools to help assess the condition of our coastal waters and partnering with our coastal states B truly is helping make America's coastal waters cleaner.

Of course, the challenges we face today should not be understated. Despite the progress we've made in overcoming such past practices as ocean dumping, much remains to be done. Every eight months, for example, as much oil finds its way into our coastal waters from nonpoint sources as was spilled in the Exxon Valdez. That's a problem with no easy solution B which is why the work you = re doing is so important.

The importance of sound science to the work we are doing cannot be overstated. As the environmental and public health challenges we face become ever-more complex, strong scientific study and analysis must inform the public policy decisions we make. As we work on such issues as nonpoint source pollution, long-range environmental monitoring, and statistically valid data collection, we have to be sure we are using sound scientific approaches.

That's the only way to make sure our efforts are both successful and have the confidence of the American people. The credibility of all we do rests on the quality of our science. So thank you for the work you are doing here on behalf of the EPA and of the American people. I appreciate all you are doing to help leave America = s environment cleaner than we found it.

Thank you.

Now, I = d like to invite the Governor and Bob Varney to join me in cutting the ribbon to open the new wing.