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FY 1997 Budget Presentation

                         Carol M. Browner

Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency FY 1997 Budget Presentation

                         Washington, D.C.
                         March 19, 1996

I am very pleased to present the fiscal year 1997 budget for the Environmental Protection Agency. With me are Fred Hansen, my Deputy Administrator; Sallyanne Harper, my Acting Chief Financial Officer; and my Assistant Administrators.

The President's 1997 Budget for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reflects the President's continuing commitment to protect public health and our environment while balancing the budget.

This budget shows once again that we can balance the budget over the next seven years, and we can do it the right way. It reflects the President's determination to cut the deficit but at the same time to invest in the American people and our future -- to invest in our health and in the air, the water, and the land that we all must share.

This year's budget continues the Administration's commitment to meet America's public health and environmental challenge. To meet that challenge, we must target the highest risks to public health. We must take steps to secure our future. And we must use common-sense strategies to protect the public and our environment.

Let me describe the three key elements in our budget for Fiscal Year 97:

Number 1, we target the highest risks to public health and our environment and set standards to address them. To ensure safe drinking water for all Americans, we direct our resources to protect the public from cryptosporidium and other microbial contamination, and from disinfection byproducts.

To provide every American with healthy air to breathe, we direct our resources to protect the public from dangerous fine particulate pollution and from smog.

To clean up our rivers, lakes, and streams, we direct our resources to control pollution discharges and polluted runoff.

To strengthen our communities, we direct our resources to revitalize "brownfields" -- the abandoned and contaminated land that lies idle in our urban communities.

We continue to make the Superfund toxic waste cleanup program work faster, fairer, and more efficiently to clean up contaminated sites and return them to productive community use.

Number 2, we take steps to secure our future, so that we can pass along a safe, healthy world to those who will come after us.

We direct our resources to protecting our children, expanding health effects research and risk assessments specifically designed to take into account the special vulnerabilities and exposures of children.

We invest in the President's Climate Change Action Plan to control air pollution that can cause the unhealthy warming of the Earth's atmosphere.

Through our STAR program -- which stands for Science to Achieve Results -- we continue to reach out to the best and the brightest in the scientific community so that we can understand the most serious public health and environmental risks and take action to protect ourselves and future generations.

Number 3, we direct our resources to common-sense strategies for protecting public health and our environment.

We direct our resources to strong enforcement of our nation's environmental laws, sending a firm message that pollution does not pay and ensuring that the environmental cop remains on the beat.

We strengthen our partnerships with states, tribes, and local governments. We provide them with funding in the form of consolidated grants called Performance Partnerships -- money they can use to meet environmental needs in the ways that work best for them.

We expand the Community Right to Know about toxic pollution and increase citizen participation in protecting our health and our environment, by expanding the Toxics Release Inventory and promoting environmental justice.

Our Small Business Compliance Programs give well-intentioned business owners the help they need to obey the law and protect their communities.

We work with industry on innovative efforts to prevent pollution before it starts. Through the President's Environmental Technology Initiative, we work with industry to find new, effective cleanup technologies.

Through our Regulatory Reinvention, we will save millions of hours for businesses and communities by cutting paperwork. The Common Sense Initiative and Project XL explore new ways to achieve better environmental results.

The President is committed to balancing the budget and doing it now -- not waiting until after the political season. Last fall, the President and Congress agreed to balance the budget over seven years, using the assumptions of the Congressional Budget Office, and to protect the President's priorities. This budget fulfills the President's commitment to that agreement.

In an era of limited federal resources, this budget continues the President's strong commitment to protect our health, our air, our water, and our land. With this budget, we can meet America's public health and environmental challenges and continue the proud environmental tradition that has served our nation so well for the past generation.