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Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Remarks to the Presidential Environmental Youth Awards, As Prepared

As prepared for delivery.

I’m happy to welcome you to Washington, DC and I want to thank all of you for being here.

It gives me great pride to honor all of you for your work.

I want to acknowledge that none of this would have been possible without all the parents, teachers, mentors, neighbors and friends that helped along the way.

We all owe them a big round of applause as well. So please join me…

The President’s Environmental Youth Award is a prestigious honor.

President Obama joins me in recognizing you for leading the way towards a brighter future for your communities and our planet

You are here because your project to protect the environment was the very best out of the many projects submitted in your region.

Whether you focused on clean energy, land preservation, waste management, or critical environmental issue, each of you is here because you made a real change. Because you helped people. And because you helped the environment.

Some of your projects reached out to communities in the surrounding area. Some of them reached out to people across the planet.

Only 10 projects win this award each year. It’s a very special recognition that comes with the approval of the President of the United States.

Let me also say – and as EPA Administrator I believe I speak for the entire agency here – thank you for making our jobs easier.

As you have seen, protecting human health and the environment is a lot of work. And we need all the help we can get.

We need the Green Your Lives project from our friends in New Hampshire, who showed us how to cut energy consumption and waste products in our schools.

We need the groundbreaking research being done in Pittsfield, New York on sustainable ethanol for our cars and trucks to run cleaner and cheaper.

We need Project Greenlight in Moscow, Pennsylvania – which is helping to relight an entire town with efficient light bulbs.

We need the Green Books Project in North Carolina, an effort that is recycling old materials and cutting waste products – and providing educational materials to elementary schools, prisons, and even a mobile library in Kenya.

EPA needs the help of the Wetlands Education Team in Chesterland, Ohio. A group of students doing exactly what their name says – educating people about how to care for our valuable wetlands.

We definitely need the Keystone Kids’s Café out in Edmond, Oklahoma. This is a wonderful story. 28 special-needs students from grades one through seven worked to make their school green. As part of that, they’ve started the Kids Cafe.

These little entrepreneurs sell the food they make. Then they send the money to an orphanage and school in Thailand so the children there can grow their own green garden.

We need more events like the Scottsbluff Recycle Rally in Nebraska, which helped bring together people in the community to teach them about the importance of recycling.

We need our anti-tobacco youth group in Provo, Utah to help keep the air clean of secondhand smoke.

We need our friends in California to help us solve our plastic predicament with real, workable solutions for removing nonbiodegradable plastic waste from our environment.

And last but certainly not least, we need help to protect the dunes in Kenai, Alaska so that we hang on to such an important natural resource.

In all of these projects we see our country’s future for clean energy, for conservation, for healthy communities, and a safer planet.

Being here today gives me a very good feeling about the years ahead.

I’m proud to honor you and your bright futures. I know that President Obama is proud and grateful as well.

We may be sitting here with the innovator who brings us the next generation of clean energy. Or the next advocate who inspires people to take care of the environment. Or we may be here with a future EPA Administrator.

Thank you for your hard work and your dedication, and for making an impact in your communities and in places all around the world.

You have a lot to be proud of.

I hope you will stay involved and keep working to protect the environment. I’m excited to see where you can take us.