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                         Carol M. Browner

Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

                          EarthFEST '96
                         Cleveland, OH

                      Prepared for Delivery
                         April 21, 1996

I want to thank Susan Powers, the President of the Earth Day Coalition, for bringing us together on this wonderful day. I want to thank Congressman Stokes, a leader in the Congress for public health and the environment.

Protecting our environment means protecting our communities -- not just on Earth Day, but every day. Protecting our environment means protecting where we live and how we live. And no community demonstrates that spirit better than Cleveland.

Twenty-six years ago, on the very first Earth Day, Americans joined together to say, "We must stop the pollution. We must protect our health, our air, our water, our land. We must protect our children's future."

Community by community, we have joined together and we have made tremendous progress -- especially here in Cleveland, where you have done so much to clean up Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River.

On Earth Day, we must honor what communities like Cleveland have achieved -- and we must commit ourselves to continue that progress.

The Clinton Administration is working with communities across this country and we are continuing the progress.

We're cleaning up toxic waste dumps, cleaning up the old industrial properties in the heart of our neighborhoods that have lain contaminated and abandoned for too long and returning them to productive community use.

We put in place the toughest-ever controls on toxic air pollution, the toughest controls on incinerators, and the first comprehensive standards ever for toxic pollution in the Great Lakes.

We expanded the public's Right to Know about toxic chemicals in the community -- giving people the information they need to stop industrial pollution in their own backyard.

We are helping honest business people to comply with environmental laws.

But for those intransigent polluters, for those who carelessly disregard their responsibility to protect our air and water, the public has every right to demand that their government take swift, aggressive enforcement action. And the Clinton Administration has taken that action -- imposing the biggest fines in history on irresponsible polluters.

All of this progress has been achieved despite the fact that over the past two years we have experienced the most severe assault on public health and environmental protection in decades.

Environmental protection is under greater attack today than at any time since the first Earth Day 26 years ago. Vital protections are at risk -- protections of our health, our air, our water, our communities, our children's future.

The American people do not want a rollback of public health and environmental protection. The American people are not saying that the air is clean enough, the water is clean enough. The job is not done. Our commitment cannot waver.

President Clinton is standing firm for our health, our communities, our children's future. And the President will continue to stand firm.

Today, more than ever, Republicans and Democrats must come together. Those who represent the American people in Congress must come together, to continue to protect the public, our air, our water, and our land.

I commend each one of you for being here today, for helping to clean up your community, for all that you do -- at home, at work, at school, in the community -- to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink. To protect the places where our children play.

Earth Day means more than planting a tree. It means planning our children's future.

Together, we can be proud to pass along a safe, clean, secure world to our children and our children's children.