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Terre Maritima Operations Center, La Coruna, Spain

Talking Points for Governor Christine Todd Whitman,
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
at the
Terre Maritima Operations Center
La Coruna, Spain

January 23, 2003

Thank you, Minister (Jaume) Matas. The Minister, Ambassador (George) Argyrus, and I have spent the last several hours viewing the conditions along the beaches and being briefed here at the operations center on the current situation.

I want to thank Minister Matas for his hospitality and commend him and his team on the work they are doing to recover from the disastrous oil spill that occurred when the Prestige broke apart and sank last November.

The Spanish government has a difficult task at hand. An environmental disaster of this size presents major challenges on many fronts.

It poses a terrible threat to the health of the marine and coast ecosystem. It hurts the economy of the region and all those families who count on a clean marine environment for their livelihoods.

And, it puts an enormous strain on the resources and personnel who are working so hard to contain and cleanup the oil. But as I said to President Aznar when we met in Washington last month B and I repeated this morning when we met in Madrid B Spain is not in this alone.

An event of this magnitude truly does concern the entire world. The United States has been providing assistance to the Spanish government and I am here today to renew our offer to help.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency stands ready to help you, Minister Matas, your government, and the people of Spain recover from this event.

Spain and the United States have long shared many common environmental goals and approaches to achieving those goals.

We have enjoyed a true partnership over the years, and it is at times such as this that partners come together.

The United States EPA has some hard-won experience and expertise in matters like this and we stand ready to do what we can to help in the recovery. Thank you.