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Dedication of the EPA Regional Science and Technology Center, Kansas City, Missouri

Remarks of Governor Christine Todd Whitman,
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
at the
Dedication of the
EPA Regional Science and Technology Center
Kansas City, Kansas

May 9, 2003

Thank you, Jim (Gulliford) for that introduction. I = d like to thank Mayor Carol Marinovich, and Brad Scott, Jim = s counterpart at the GSA, for being with us today and for a helping to make this Center a reality.

A few minutes ago, we had the chance to tour this great new facility. While I was walking through, I couldn = t help but think back to the science labs we had when I was in school. A few racks of test tubes, a Bunsen burner, some petri dishes, a couple of microscopes B all of which looked like cast-offs from Pasteur = s lab. When I see this, it sure does seem like a long time ago.

This facility is a long way from that. It is furnished with the latest equipment and technology to make it a state-of-the-art, world class lab for environmental testing, research, and analysis. It = s capabilities are truly amazing B and fit for the 21st century. With the opening of this lab, it can certainly be said that A everything = s up-to-date in Kansas City. @

The design of this center makes it a very usable and flexible space, housing the latest technology in ways that make it most useful. Lab surfaces are built to provide easy access to equipment. The ventilation system is designed to eliminate most of the internal lab contamination problems that have made it hard to carry out of some your work in the past. The internal configuration of the labs will allow you to easily adapt the space, as the need arises, to implement different analytical methods and procedures.

This lab provides analytical support to a host of environmental programs, from ambient air monitoring, to drinking water testing, to soil analysis at Superfund sites. In every sense, the work that goes on here is making America = s air cleaner, its water purer, and its land better protected.

This lab is also ready to help in the war against terrorism. It was, after all, this lab that did the testing of air samples from and around Ground Zero. The results of those samples reassured people that the air in Lower Manhattan did not contain hazardous amounts of dioxin.

Of course, having world class facilities doesn = t mean a thing if you don = t also have world class scientists B and we certainly have that level of talent and knowledge right here at this facility and around the Agency. As an accredited lab under the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference, you have demonstrated the highest levels of professional excellence and dedication.

What I saw here today is impressive, not just because of the A gee whiz @ factor, but because of what it means to the work we do at the EPA. This lab will enable us to continue our commitment to sound science B a commitment which must underlie everything we do.

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 study issues such as endocrine disruptors, pesticide residues, and detection and cleanup of various biological and chemical contaminants that might be used by terrorists, we have to make sure that the policies we pursue are driven by the science.

That = s the only way to make sure our efforts are both successful and have the confidence of the American people. Nothing would undermine our credibility faster than letting political science replace strong 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 and good luck with this great new Center.