From the Regional Administrator
With the change in Presidential administrations coming in January 2009, most people here at EPA’s Pacific Southwest Regional Office are aware that this will be my last year as Regional Administrator. In recent weeks, I have been reflecting on what our regional managers and staff have accomplished during my seven years here, and the challenges still ahead.
While many of the environmental issues before us will take years to resolve, we have made remarkable improvements thanks to new approaches and the relentless efforts of dedicated professionals and concerned citizens.
It has been a privilege to work with the managers and staff here at the regional office. Their commitment to protecting the environment and public health is awe-inspiring. Together, and in concert with our partners in other federal agencies, states, tribes and local governments, we have accomplished a great deal even with tighter budgets. This report summarizes some of our challenges and major gains of the past year.
But what keeps these successes coming year after year? As I look back over our past Progress Reports, I recognize some common threads.
First is leadership—our managers and staff look for opportunities to make headway even on seemingly intractable challenges such as air pollution from rapidly-expanding Southern California ports or illegal dumping on tribal reservations. We cannot solve these problems alone, but we have found that when we lead the way, others follow.
The second is innovation—the willingness to think creatively, to try new technologies and new approaches, which is key in our fast-changing world. Our Cleanup Clean Air Initiative is a great example of this. We’re using solar power, biodiesel, even molasses and whey to clean up contaminated sites—and getting the job done faster, cheaper and cleaner.
Third is partnerships—not only with our traditional partners, the states, local governments and tribes, but with foreign governments as well, such as Mexico and China. With trade, commerce and pollution crossing all geographical boundaries, these relationships are key to protecting the environment. And our combined efforts, such as the West Coast Diesel Collaborative, are achieving results that no single agency could hope to accomplish.
Finally, there is perseverance and a focus on results. We keep our eyes on long-term goals, and keep working not just year after year but decade after decade. We measure the results, and adjust our efforts. Our long struggle for clean air in our major cities and clean water in our rivers and lakes has largely been successful, but only because we have never been discouraged by the scope of the problem.
These are qualities that will make EPA and its partner agencies successful in the next decade and beyond. I look forward to seeing continuing success in EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region and am proud to be a part of it.
EPA Pacific Southwest Region 9