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CEC Meeting – Official Opening, Quebec City, Canada

    Once again, I would like to thank everyone for joining us on such an important occasion. I’d like to extend my gratitude to the Canadian government for their hospitality. I would also like to thank each of the delegations for the hard work they have invested in making this a successful event. Thanks to the Secretariat, the JPAC members and the members of the public for their involvement.

    My goals for this Council Session are simple:
    • To advance the work of the CEC; and,
    • To provide guidance in carrying out the new strategic vision for the CEC that will lead us toward even more cooperation in North America for the coming years.

    In the U.S., we have made great strides in cleaning our nation’s air, water and land. Under the Bush Administration:
    • Airborne pollutants have declined by 10 percent;
    • 1,200 abandoned industrial sites have been restored to productive use;
    • From 2002 to 2003, toxic chemicals released into the environment have declined by 6 percent; and,
    • In 2004 alone, 800,000 acres of wetlands were enhanced.

    Over the course of the past four years of environmental success, the U.S. economy has increased by 10 percent – clear evidence that a growing economy and environmental results can, in fact, go hand-in-hand.

    My country’s environmental accomplishments are commendable. During the Environmental Protection Agency’s 35 years, we have learned that when acting alone, mandating federal rules and regulations, environmental progress is incremental. However, it is when we work in cooperation with our foreign partners – like the ones here in this room - that progress accelerates at a remarkable pace.

    We have learned the importance of adopting collaborative approaches and engaging multiple constituencies, including indigenous communities and partnerships with academia, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.

    The United States is committed to the important work carried out by the CEC in our effort to find common solutions to protect our shared North American environment. It is only by working together as partners, that we will be able to produce measurable, lasting results for all our citizens. The environment does not know political boundaries and it is important that we work on a regional basis to protect it.

    I look forward to contributing to the success of this event and am excited about the beginning of the U.S. Chairmanship of the CEC after this Council Session.

    I am pleased to have the opportunity to be here today. Once again, thank you for joining us.