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EPA New England Regional Laboratory Visit, Chelmsford, Massachusetts

Remarks of Governor Christine Todd Whitman,
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
at the
EPA New England Regional Laboratory
Chelmsford, Massachusetts

May 16, 2003

Thank you, Bob (Varney). It = s great to be here to see the incredible work going on here at EPA = s New England Regional Lab. As a life-long resident of a coastal state B and lover of the ocean B I have a special appreciation for the work you are doing here to support the Clean New England Beaches Initiative.

My home state = s 127 miles of clean, sandy beaches are not only a treasured natural resource, they are also a major contributor to New Jersey = s economy. In years past, we learned the hard way what happens when we don = t take good care of our coastal waters. The work you are doing here will help ensure that those mistakes of the past remain in the past B never to be repeated again.

I = ve just had a great tour and am quite impressed with everything going on here in Chelmsford. I want to make special note of the many environmentally-friendly practices used in building the Lab= s new wing B practices which have earned you the Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.

This is both the first EPA building to earn that designation, and the first building in the State of Massachusetts to do so, as well. After what I = ve seen today, when I think back to the science labs we had when I was in school B a few racks of test tubes, a Bunsen burner, some petri dishes, a couple of microscopes, all of which looked like they were cast offs from Louis Pasteur = s lab B it sure does seem like a long time ago.

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 at EPA and right here at the New England Regional Lab. Your efforts, including air toxics monitoring, developing methods for rapid analysis of recreational water samples, amd screening soils from Superfund sites B truly are helping make America = s air cleaner, its water purer, and its land better protected. Of course, the challenges we face today should not be understated. In many ways, the so-called A easy @ environmental challenges of the past have been mastered. Today = s environmental challenges don = t come with easy solutions B which is why the work you = re doing is so important.

For example, let = s look at nonpoint source pollution. Every eight months, as much oil enters America = s coastal waters from nonpoint sources as was spilled from the Exxon Valdez B America = s worst single environmental disaster. Yet meeting the challenge nonpoint source pollution poses will require complex solutions B and the importance of sound science to finding those solutions B cannot be overstated.

As we work on today = s most pressing environmental problems, we have to be sure we are using sound scientific approaches. 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.