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Administrator Johnson, Chesapeake Bay Executive Council Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C.

    Thank you, Governor Rendell, for the introduction and for your leadership as Chairman of the Executive Council.

    EPA is excited to be a part of the Chesapeake Education Summit.

    When President Bush asked me to become Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, he charged me with accelerating the pace of our nation’s environmental progress.

    Collaborative efforts, innovative programs, education and outreach are the proven tools of today and tomorrow. By involving more participants in the process, we promote a culture of environmental stewardship.

    Through today’s signing of the Chesapeake Watershed Education Agreement, we are making environmental stewardship a formal part of our children’s education … ensuring the next generation of America’s leaders will value our nation’s shared environment – including the Chesapeake Bay.

    Preserving this national treasure has always been an ambitious vision. This vision has brought a diverse set of partners to the table – unified in a common goal.

    As you know, EPA represents the federal government on the Chesapeake Executive Council. This is a great honor, and I want to acknowledge a number of federal agencies that have taken important actions on behalf of Bay this year.

    Earlier today, we signed an Adoption Statement on Fisheries Ecosystem Management. Our partners at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have been instrumental in developing a new way of thinking about fisheries management. Thank you, Admiral Lautenbacher, for joining us.

    Another key federal partner is the Department of Agriculture. USDA has played a vital role in developing a new strategy to manage the excess animal manure and poultry litter that can threaten the quality of our waters. Our thanks go out to Secretary Johanns and his dedicated staff.

    And while the list could go on, let me single out the National Park Service. The innovative partnership of the Park Service’s Chesapeake Gateways Network allows millions of citizens to gain a greater appreciation of the Chesapeake Bay. Thank you, Park Service Director Fran Mainella, for your great work.

    From the high-tech to the common-sense, we are advancing the strategies to improve water quality in the Bay.

    President Bush is committed to this progress. The Chesapeake Bay is at the center of the President's "Cooperative Conservation" and "Wetland Gain" initiatives. Landowners on the Bay and along its tributaries are restoring coastal wetlands to help meet the President's national goal of restoring, improving, and protecting 3-million acres of wetlands by 2009.

    In addition to our recent Clean Air Interstate Rule, EPA is working with Congress to reduce powerplant emissions through the President’s Clear Skies legislation. This permanent, nation-wide solution will result in substantial reductions in pollution … providing the American people with cleaner air, and reducing the amount of nitrogen flowing into the Bay.

    As all of you know, the federal government – nor any of our partners – can solve the challenges of the Chesapeake Bay alone. It is through the collaboration of the Executive Council that we will accelerate the pace of the Bay’s environmental progress.

    So, on behalf of all the federal agencies, I would like to extend our gratitude and our continued pledge to work together with you in our effort to preserve the Bay.

    Thank you.