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EPA FY 2005 Budget Release

Good afternoon.

Earlier today, President Bush submitted to the Congress his proposed budget for fiscal year 2005. Included in his proposal is $7.76 billion to support the work of the Environmental Protection Agency and our partners across the nation.

This request is $133 million more than the 2004 budget request and advances our commitment to protect the land, clean the air and cleanse the water.

As we present the President’s 2005 budget today, I invite you to listen for two emerging themes: increasing the velocity of improvement, and something we call “a better way.”

The United States has shown a steady improvement in our overall environmental well being. I feel great appreciation for the early thought leaders who planted the seedlings of that environmental progress, and the thousands of people, many of whom have worked in this agency, who have labored for three decades to see the fruits of this improvement.

While historically crucial, the outcomes of the past three decades represent a harvest of the low-hanging fruit. Each increment of progress from here on gets harder and more expensive. The approach of the past 30 years has become too slow, expensive and conflict-ridden.

The challenge of the next decade is to take a giant leap forward in the velocity of environmental progress and to stay competitive as a nation as we do it.

We will need to find “a better way.”

A better way is found when a new technology changes the equation from the improbable to the possible.

A better way is found when market incentives are used to speed acceptance of new and higher standards.

A better way is found when collaborative networks solve problems that once were stuck in the familiar gridlock of polarization.

A better way is found when our approach rewards results, not programs.

Most importantly, a better way is found when we focus on outcomes so we can demonstrate we are protecting the health of every American.

As each Assistant Administrator details their part of the budget, listen for the four cornerstones of a better way: technology, market incentives, collaboration and results.

You will hear the Office of Air and Radiation describe how, using new technology and market incentives, we are launching the most productive period of air quality improvement in our nation’s history.

The Office of Water will highlight national, regional and local collaborations with names as far ranging as the Great Lakes or Chesapeake Bay, or as small as a watershed in Georgia.

The Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response will explain how we are focused on results in our brownfields program, working to recycle America’s land.

The Office of Environmental Information will demonstrate how we are using technology to speed up environmental progress and improve decision-making by sharing environmental information.

The Office of International Affairs will share our progress in collaborating effectively with a wide range of international stakeholders.

You will hear how the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances will employ market incentives, collaboration and a focus on results to reduce pesticide risks and promote the development of safer technologies and chemicals.

These are just some of the many highlights in this year’s budget that will document two emerging themes of this agency – increasing the velocity of improvement and implementing “a better way.”

At the Environmental Protection Agency we are adopting better ways – facilitating collaboration, harnessing technology, creating market incentives – and we are committed to measuring progress, not process.

Future generations will benefit.

I’d now like to turn the time over to Steve Johnson, the Acting Deputy Administrator to walk through a few budget highlights and then we would be delighted to answer a few questions.