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Estuary Live! Kick-off Celebration, Washington, D.C.

Remarks of Governor Christine Todd Whitman
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
at the
Estuary Live! Kick-Off Celebration
Washington, D.C.

October 3, 2002

Thank you Samuel (Bodman) for that introduction. It = s great to be here today to recognize an exciting new learning tool B Estuary Live! I especially want to welcome all the students who are here literally and virtually to learn more about America = s water resources and estuaries.

2002 is the Year of Clean Water B with the 30th anniversary of the Clean Water Act coming later this month. Thirty years ago, many of America = s waters had become too dirty for swimming, fishing, and drinking. Something had to be done and the Clean Water Act launched an aggressive effort to clean up our nations waters.

Now, many of our waterways are once again safe, healthy, and clean. The anniversary of the Clean Water Act is an opportunity to renew our commitment to providing Americans with pure, healthy water, while at the same time focusing the nation= s attention on the new water quality challenges we face.

An important focus of our clean water efforts are our nation = s estuaries. Estuaries are unique places where freshwater from rivers and streams mixes with the saltwater from the ocean, creating vibrant habitats for marine life and scenic spots for boating and birdwatching. And not only is this the 30 th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, we are also celebrating the 15 th anniversary of the National Estuary Program.

Since this program was established in 1987, 28 National Estuary Programs around the country have restored and preserved over one million acres of marine habitat.

At EPA, our employees are working hard to make sure that our estuaries are protected, but it= s important that we have the help of committed partners in order to achieve our goal. That = s why I = m pleased that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is partnering with EPA to help raise public awareness and understanding about the importance of estuaries by sponsoring Estuary Live!

By utilizing satellite technology and the Internet, this interactive educational program will bring students together from all across the country to tour eight of the nation= s most valued estuaries. Today, we are going to have a chance to tour one of those estuaries not far from here B the Chesapeake Bay. Now, we won = t be going there in person, but Estuary Live! is the next best thing. As we prepare to celebrate National Estuary Day on October 5, I hope that you will share what you learn today with your friends and parents and help us get the word out about the importance of these valued natural treasures.

Working together we can ensure that 30 years from now B when the Clean Water Act turns 60 B we will be celebrating a successful legacy of clean water for this and future generations. Thank you.

And, now, it = s my pleasure to introduce Congresswoman Connie Morella from Maryland's eighth district, an important partner in our clean water efforts. We = re pleased that she could be here today to welcome us to Maryland = s Chesapeake Bay interactive tour.