As we enjoy a renewed commitment to environmental protection as expressed by President Obama and Administrator Jackson, we can all be reenergized to work together to tackle our environmental challenges.
In carrying out EPA’s mission, we have always sought creative ways to protect public health and the environment in the Pacific Southwest. As we meet the challenges before us, we will continue to show how improvements in environmental infrastructure, technology and policy can help strengthen our economy and lead to a healthier, more sustainable future.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act recently signed into law by President Obama provides a major cash infusion to upgrade wastewater and drinking water infrastructure, spur cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields, remediate toxic Superfund sites and leaking underground tanks, and reduce harmful diesel emissions. This funding will bring real environmental improvements and create jobs in the process. (Learn more at EPA's Recovery Act page.)
The environmental challenges we face have always cut across geographic and government boundaries, and every one of us plays a role. We all make a difference—whether through individual action or in partnership through agencies, organizations and communities. EPA’s partnerships with Pacific island and tribal governments are particularly crucial, since they have historically lacked the funding, expertise and infrastructure available elsewhere.
Our work with the Navajo Nation to assess and address hazards at more than 500 abandoned uranium mine sites is a good example. It reminds us that as we look to the future, we still must attend to the toxic legacies of the past. In doing so, we must also answer calls for environmental justice from communities at risk, ensuring that everyone has a healthy environment.
Vigorous enforcement of our nation’s environmental laws is essential to meeting that goal. In fiscal 2008, our enforcement actions secured more than $2 billion toward improved wastewater systems, toxic cleanups and other environmental improvements in the Pacific Southwest.
Beyond our shores, our involvement in international partnerships has been instrumental in improving hazardous waste regulation in China. Our shared border with Mexico is another setting where international cooperation is leading to healthier communities and ecosystems. (Learn more about this progress at EPA's US-Mexico Border site.)
The most daunting challenge of all—global climate change—requires unprecedented cooperation and innovation. As we help map new national strategies, we’re finding many opportunities here in the Pacific Southwest. Wastewater treatment plants, heavy-duty diesel equipment and military bases, for example, can all reduce their greenhouse gas emissions significantly, as you’ll read here.
Each of us bears a responsibility to change—have you calculated your carbon footprint lately? (Try it by clicking on ‘What You Can Do’ on EPA's Climate Change home page.)
Guided by scientific research and a spirit of innovation—and powered by a diverse, talented and dedicated workforce—we’re working to carry out our mission in ways that make sense for the future in the Pacific Southwest.
To all those who have worked with us, thank you—and we look forward to continuing our efforts together.