Pacific Southwest, Region 9
Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations
Progress Report 2010
From the Regional Administrator
This year, EPA is celebrating the fortieth anniversary of both Earth Day and the founding of our federal agency in 1970.
As you’ll see by reviewing the timeline that runs through this report, EPA, together with our states, Native American tribes, and island territories, have made a great deal of progress in cleaning up the environment and improving human health.
In 1970, Americans were angry at the lack of attention being paid to critical issues of clean air, water and land. Congress responded to the ongoing crisis of smog and polluted water by passing the Clean Air Act (1970) and the Clean Water Act (1972). In 1980, after the toxic tragedy of Love Canal in New York, the Superfund law was enacted to clean up toxic dumps and hold the responsible parties accountable.
Our region is host to the nation’s second largest city, Los Angeles, where smog-causing pollution has been reduced in the past 40 years by 70%, thanks to sustained effort at the federal, state and local levels. Ninety-seven percent of the Pacific Southwest’s population is now served by community water systems supplying water that meets all applicable health-based drinking water standards. EPA has completed cleanup at more than half of the 128 Superfund sites in the Pacific Southwest. We have a lot to be proud of and much work still to be done.
One thing is clearer today than ever: What’s good for the environment is also good for the economy. President Obama’s Recovery Act funding aided much-needed infrastructure renewal while helping the nation come back from its worst recession since the 1930s. In the next decade, a green innovation revolution will keep our nation competitive and help us tackle complex new environmental challenges.
Climate change is such a challenge. We can start today to reduce our dependency on foreign oil by deploying cutting-edge renewable energy systems, by developing the next generation of electric vehicles, and by purchasing Energy Star appliances.
This march towards green innovation must lift all boats. We need to meet the needs of our most vulnerable communities first. Across America today, poor and minority communities remain at greatest risk from exposure to environmental health hazards. Green collar jobs are now going to communities that need employment and a cleaner neighborhood.
Earth Day and EPA were both created 40 years ago by individuals who saw the power of simple actions to transform our lives and communities. In this regard, much has remained the same. Everyone still needs do their part. To make it a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of 40 things we can all do to lighten our footprint on the planet and save a little money—at home, at school, at work, on the road, or anywhere.
We hope you will join us in our commitment to protect the health of our environment, our communities and our families. I look forward to working with you and EPA’s many partners, from state governments to remote tribal communities to small businesses, to embrace these challenges and leave the world a better place for our children.
EPA Pacific Southwest Region
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