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Region I Regional Conference: Implementing an Action Plan for a Sustainable New England Nashua, New Hampshire

Carol M. Browner Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Remarks Prepared for Delivery
Region I Regional Conference: Implementing an Action Plan for a Sustainable New England Nashua, New Hampshire

                         March 6, 1998

     First, let me extend a special thank you to EPA Regional Administrator John DeVillars, and to the staff at Region I. You worked many long, hard hours to pull this important conference together.

     Governor Shaheen, thank you as well for joining us. I salute your environmental leadership. You have been a staunch ally in the fight for clean air, water, and land and we applaud your work to bring people together -- so that in partnership we can do a better job of protecting public health and the environment.

     And Mr. Vice President, it is a special honor that you are here today. Whether through new technologies, stronger partnerships, or more creative solutions, you have been the driving force behind every action this administration has taken to protect the environment and public health, and still keep our economy robust. Today, our rivers and lakes and air and land are cleaner than ever, and our economy is booming. Thank you.

     This conference is about sustainability and how we get there. But ask a dozen people to define the term -- sustainability -- and you will likely get as many answers. This administration
believes it boils down to one simple, positive phrase: We can grow the economy and at the same time protect our environment and public health -- for our children, our children's children, and all the generations to come.

     This is our guiding philosophy, a fundamental underpinning of this administration's work for the past five years. We can save jobs in our neighborhoods, we can create jobs, and still safeguard the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we all share and live upon. We have shown this to be true time and time again -- with controlling acid rain, building cleaner cars, redeveloping and revitalizing our abandoned industrial properties, cleaning up hazardous waste, and creating new, innovative technologies.     And we are about to prove it again.

     As the President has said, global warming is our "overriding environmental challenge." That is why he has committed this country to lead the nations of the world in making real, significant cuts in the pollution that contributes to global warming.

     We can meet this challenge -- we have the will, the commitment, and the technical know-how to reach these targets in ways that will build our economy and build our competitiveness -- not tear them down.

     A good deal of the technology is already out there -- getting more out of the energy we now use.

     One compact fluorescent bulb, used by one person over its lifetime, can save nearly a ton of carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere as well as save the consumer money. Simply by using existing technologies, we can make significant, cost-effective cuts in global warming pollution.

     EPA and other federal agencies have formed more than 5,000 partnerships with other organizations   many of them businesses   to find ways to use energy more efficiently -- from our televisions to our computers to the exit signs in our office buildings. To date, these partnerships have catalyzed more than $1 billion in energy efficiency and investments in renewable energy.

     This administration wants to spur more partnerships, more innovation, more creative technologies that will bring us to a new level of competitiveness and a new level of effectiveness as we fight global warming pollution. That is why the President has proposed $6 billion in tax cuts and research and development to encourage innovation, to encourage renewable energy and energy-efficient homes.

     This is key -- partnership, innovation, technology. And we are bringing it to bear in everything we are doing at EPA, not just our fight against global warming.

     That is why it is with great pleasure that I announce that the environmental commissioners
and secretaries for each New England state have signed an historic agreement with EPA:

    Bob Varney of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
     Ned Sullivan of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection
     Jan Reitsma, of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs
     Barbara Ripley of the Vermont Department of Natural Resources
     Andrew McCleod of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
     Bob Smith of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection

     Together in partnership -- the states and the federal government -- will replace a burdensome state-by-state permitting process for new hazardous waste cleanup technologies with a common-sense permit process for the entire New England region.

     This means people with new cleanup innovations can get their product to market faster. And that means we can clean up hazardous waste faster. This is great news for public health, great news for the environment, and great news for the economy.

     And now I invite EPA Region One Administrator John DeVillars and Bob Varney of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to come to the stage to finish signing the agreement.

[Agreement signed]

     I now would like to introduce Governor Jeanne Shaheen -- who well understands that the economy and the environment indeed go hand in hand. She is a leader for the environment, a leader for public health, and a leader for clean, safe, healthy, economically vibrant New Hampshire communities. The Honorable Jeanne Shaheen...