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MOU signing at the Anacostia Riverwalk, Washington, D.C.

Remarks of Governor Christine Todd Whitman,
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
at the
Anacostia Riverwalk
Washington, D.C.

June 12, 2003

Thank you for that introduction. It = s great to be back here at the Anacostia River waterfront. Mayor Williams and I biked down here in April to lend EPA = s support for the cleanup of the river. At that time, I had the pleasure of presenting a $50,000 check to Washington, D.C. That check is funding a pilot project we are doing with the Army Corps of Engineers to help coordinate the planning of urban river cleanups and restorations, and this river was one of just eight selected to participate in this pilot.

For too long, the Anacostia has been known as Washington's A Forgotten River." Fortunately, that is changing. The work that the National Park Service is doing with the DC government will once again make this river a vital part of the community. I commend Secretary Norton and Mayor Williams for their leadership.

The word "Anacostia @ comes from an Indian word meaning A village trading center. @ By making the river readily accessible to the people who live nearby, it can again become a neighborhood center B a place to take a brisk walk, paddle a canoe, or cast a line B and, perhaps, trade stories about the big fish that got away. It will also serve as a place where local children can come to learn more about our environment by actually seeing and studying it.

That's why I am pleased that earlier today I signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Walt Disney Company, the American Recreation Coalition, and the Departments and Agriculture and Interior. My hope is that this agreement will lead to greater opportunities for urban youth to get out into the great outdoors, experience first hand all that nature has to offer, and learn about what each of us can do to protect our precious natural resources.

As EPA administrator, my goal has been to leave America's air cleaner, its water purer, and its land better protected, so that these children B and someday their children B have a clean, healthy environment in which to live.

This administration is making good on that goal B we are remembering this once forgotten river, just as we have never forgotten our obligation to the environment B and I am proud to be a part of that work. Thank you.