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Administrator Johnson, EPA FY 2007 Budget Request, Washington, D.C.

    Remarks as prepared.

    Earlier today, President Bush submitted to Congress his proposed budget for fiscal year 2007.

    The President’s budget reflects his continued commitment to providing the critical resources needed for our nation’s highest priorities: fighting the War on Terror; strengthening our homeland defenses; and sustaining the momentum of our economic recovery.

    The President's pro-growth economic policies, coupled with spending restraint, will keep the government on track to cut the deficit by more than half by the year 2009. As the President said in his State of the Union Address last week, “Keeping America competitive requires us to be good stewards of tax dollars.” The President’s budget exercises this fiscal discipline by focusing on priorities, while targeting resources.

    EPA shares in the responsibility of being good stewards of tax dollars. In keeping with the need for spending restraint, the President has included $7.3 billion dollars to support the work of the Environmental Protection Agency and our partners nationwide in his budget. This budget fulfills every presidential environmental commitment and maintains the goals laid out in EPA’s strategic plan, while spending less.

    As you may know, throughout the year, we at EPA are celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Agency’s founding. And as we look back, we see much to celebrate - our air is cleaner, our water is purer, and our land is better protected.

    These national successes have continued to advance under the leadership of President Bush.

    Since 2001, air pollution emissions have been reduced by 10% and over 1,400 abandoned industrial sites have been restored to productive use through the Brownfields Program. From 2002 to 2003, toxic chemicals released into the environment declined by 6%. And in 2004 alone, 800,000 acres of wetlands were enhanced.

    Over these years of environmental gains, our economy’s gross domestic product has increased 10% – clear evidence that a growing economy and environmental results can, in fact, go hand-in-hand, and the President understand this.

    When I accepted the position of EPA Administrator, President Bush charged me with accelerating the pace of environmental progress while maintaining our nation’s economic competitiveness.

    As we prepare for tomorrow’s environmental challenges, EPA will meet the President’s charge by focusing on three principles.

    The first is results and accountability.

    EPA must operate efficiently, effectively and competitively. At EPA, we focus on environmental outcomes, not environmental programs, so we can hand the American people a cleaner, healthier environment.

    The President’s budget includes three programs that have been delivering some of the longest standing and greatest environmental successes. The President requested nearly $1.3 billion for the Superfund program, a $17 million increase over last year’s enacted budget - $841.5 million for Drinking Water State Revolving Fund - and $688 million for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

    The second principle is innovation and collaboration.

    By focusing on cooperation over conflict, and by developing collaborative partnerships, EPA and our partners are accelerating the pace of environmental protection by promoting market-based strategies, advancing stewardship opportunities and investing in breakthroughs in new innovative technologies.

    The Great Lakes Program is an excellent example of regional and international collaboration, and in his budget, President Bush requested over $70 million to clean and protect the Great Lakes. This includes $50 million for Great Lakes Legacy Act programs, an increase of about $21 million over last year’s enacted budget – demonstrating a true commitment to preserving this natural wonder.

    Our President understands the importance of our waters, and in his budget he requested $26 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program. This increase of $4 million over last year’s enacted budget will help ensure the Chesapeake Bay remains a national treasure for future generations.

    As the President said last week, breakthroughs in new technology are powering our economy and dramatically improving our environment – and no where is this more apparent than in the Administration’s investment in energy innovation.

    Since 2001, our nation has funded nearly $10 billion in developing energy sources that are cleaner, cheaper and more reliable. EPA plays a substantial role in this effort through the implementation the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The President’s budget request for 2007 includes over $100 million to support the development and implementation of the renewable fuel standard rulemaking, to strengthen preventive measures for underground storage tanks, and to support programs to reduce diesel emissions from existing engines.

    The third principle to accelerate environmental protection is best available science.

    The President shares this commitment to sound science. His 2007 budget request for EPA included $7 million for a Water Infrastructure initiative. These funds will allow EPA to conduct a major research effort to reduce the cost of operation, maintenance, and replacement of aging drinking and wastewater systems.

    This focus on science is also evident in the budget’s:
      funding to study the impacts of manufactured nanomaterials on human health,
      funds for the Integrated Risk Information System,
      and investment in the Computational Toxicology program.

    These three principles are consistent with the President’s mandate to create a government that is citizen-centered, results-oriented, and market-based.

    Before I open this up for a few questions, I need to mention EPA’s responsibility in supporting the President’s top priority: the safety and security of the American people. EPA plays a vital role in protecting our citizens and our environment from the effects of attacks using chemical, biological, and radiological agents, with special responsibilities for water security and decontamination efforts.

    For 2007, the President has requested $184 million for EPA Homeland Security efforts, an increase of $55 million over last year’s enacted budget.

    While our nation is at war, EPA is tightening our belts while maintaining our commitments to the American people. The President’s budget focuses on the programs that effectively deliver environmental results, while providing $540 million to fund our continued efforts to vigorously enforce our nation’s environmental laws.

    By reaffirming our commitment to results and accountability, innovation and collaboration, and the best available science, the funding in the President’s budget will allow EPA to meet the environmental challenges of the 21st Century and beyond.

    Thank you.