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United States Conference of Mayors Press Conference on Brownfields National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

Remarks of Governor Christine Todd Whitman
at the
United States Conference of Mayors
Press Conference on Brownfields
National Press Club
Washington, D.C.

March 9, 2001

It’s a real pleasure to be here with New Orleans Mayor (Marc) Morial and Mayor (Patrick) McCrory of Charlotte, along with Chairman Smith and Chairman Chafee, to talk about Senator Smith’s brownfields bill.

I am delighted that the U.S. Conference of Mayors has endorsed S. 350.

This important bill will make it easier for Mayor Morial and McCrory and all their colleagues across the nation to cleanup brownfields in their communities.

The fact that America’s mayors have endorsed this landmark legislation shows that President Bush’s commitment to be partners with local governments to solve environmental problems is exactly what local officials want and need.

Mayors are on the front line of government. When an abandoned gas station or contaminated manufacturing site sits as a neighborhood blight, it’s the mayor who gets the calls and the petitions from local citizens who want action.

That’s why it’s only right we at the federal level give them the tools they need to cleanup those sites and make them assets to their communities.

I know the good work local officials can do in reclaiming brownfields because I saw it happen in my own home state.

In Elizabeth, New Jersey, a 166-acre landfill was turned into the Jersey Gardens Mall, triggering more than $200 million in private investment, generating as much as $5 million in new tax revenue, and creating 5,000 jobs.

In Holmdel, New Jersey, a plant where Dixie Cups were made has stood empty for 10 years. With the cleanup of such things as asbestos, oil, solvents, and ash piles now underway, this site will soon contain an office building, a 20-store retail center, and more than 250 adult and assisted living housing units.

When brownfields legislation passes the Congress and the President signs it into law, success stories like these will bloom all over America.

I congratulate the Conference of Mayors for their strong endorsement of this brownfields legislation.

I hope that when they go home they will contact their senators and representatives and urge them to join with Senators Smith and Chafee in passing brownfields legislation this year. It’s important enough to move on its own.

Thank you. I look forward to working with America’s mayors to make this happen.