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Press Conference -- Upper Truckee River / Truckee Marsh Restoration Site South Lake Tahoe, California

Carol M. Browner, Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Press Conference -- Upper Truckee River / Truckee Marsh Restoration Site
South Lake Tahoe, California
June 18, 1997

Welcome and thank you for coming.

I am delighted to be here -- in one of the most beautiful places America has to offer -- to host this first official “issue workshop” of the Presidential Forum on Lake Tahoe.

President Clinton and Vice President Gore will be here at the end of next month -- not only because they are concerned about the quality of the water, land and air here in the Lake Tahoe Basin -- but also to learn about what the people of this area are doing to secure both their environmental and economic future.

The President and Vice President strongly believe that environmental protection and economic progress go hand-in-hand -- that we do not have to choose between our environment and our jobs. Indeed, the two are inextricably linked.

The Lake Tahoe area offers a case-in-point.

Recreation and tourism have become the economic backbone of this region. It is a premier vacation destination for millions of people who are attracted by the intense natural beauty of this place.

The principal challenge is how to preserve that natural beauty -- the clear water, the fresh air, the beautiful scenery and the fabulous quality of life here in the Tahoe basin -- so that visitors may continue to enjoy these things, continue to bolster the local economy, and do so without degrading the environmental quality that attracts them in the first place.

I’m delighted to say that here in Tahoe, people from all walks of life are answering the call. Local businesses, environmentalists, government officials, scientists and others have realized that the key to protecting their environmental and economic future is, first, to find common ground and, then, to move forward.

Many of them are here with us today. And I salute you -- not only for the success of your collaborative partnership, not only for the progress you’ve made -- but also for the ambitious course you’ve set for the future.

This place where we stand today -- near the largest marsh area in the Tahoe basin -- is a prime example of the challenge we face. Simply put, wetlands filter out the nutrients and pollutants that threaten Lake Tahoe. Restoring this marsh, and others like it, is absolutely critical to the wider goal of restoring and preserving the lake’s legendary water clarity -- a goal we all share.

We will be discussing this and other challenges at today’s Water Quality Conference -- at which I hope to learn more about your local efforts to protect and restore Lake Tahoe, and discuss ways in which the federal government might help advance your partnership’s efforts to get the job done.

On that note, let me thank the Army Corps of Engineers for co-hosting this conference, and for its commitment to joining in the effort.

Most of all, I want to thank all of you who have demonstrated an enduring commitment to the health of Lake Tahoe, and to ensuring that the natural beauty of this area is everlasting.

And now let me introduce Assistant Secretary of the Army, and head of the Army Corps of Engineers, Martin Lancaster...