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What They Are Saying: 50 Years of Environmental Partnerships

07/01/2020
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (July 1, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency closed out its month-long celebration of the key international, state, local, tribal, and non-governmental organization partnerships as part of its EPA at 50 series. The Agency highlighted some of the thoughtful and inspiring messages received from partners over the month:

Koizumi Shinjiro, Japan Minister of Environment: “I would like to congratulate all EPA members and staff on the 50th anniversary of the EPA. It is a special opportunity to look back and reflect, but also to look forward. Our partnership is continuing to grow as we work together to tackle marine plastic pollution, building upon our achievements at last year's G20, hosted by Japan.”

Shinsuke J. Sugiyama, Japanese Ambassador to the United States: “One of my favorite memories of being ambassador involves the EPA. On Earth Day last year Administrator Wheeler and I rode on a DC skimmer boat along the Anacostia River. We collected trash that would have been ended up increasing plastic pollution in the sea. It was such a good and productive experience in picking that trash. For 50 years everyone at EPA has been doing similar good and productive work, and I thank each and every one of you.”

Harry Seah, Deputy Chief Executive Singapore National Water Agency: “What is significant is how we managed to create a freshwater body in the city.  This is only possible with the knowledge that our engineers have access to. For that we would like to thank US EPA for the open sharing of knowledge engineering solutions, and research in water management that make such projects a reality. We had this MOU in 2013 that we helped to reinforce these collaborations. This MOU has been a very successful one with many collaborations and sharing our knowledge and we hoped where many more years of such collaborations and sharing our knowledge with US EPA.”

Chuck Hoskin Jr., Cherokee Nation Principal Chief:As the elected leader of the largest tribal government in the United States it's my honor to commemorate the partnership between the Cherokee Nation and the Environmental Protection Agency.  Over the years we have made great progress by working with this federal agency to preserve our natural resources: clean air, pristine water, and uncontaminated land.  This collaboration has been a win-win for the Cherokee Nation and for the federal government and most importantly it ensures our citizens remain safe and our planet is preserved for future generations.”

Leonard Forsman, Chairman of the Suquamish Tribe: “Suquamish means "people of clear saltwater" and the Suquamish people lived on the shores of Puget Sound for thousands of years. The tribe is always dependent on a healthy Puget Sound ecosystem for our way of life. This region and the abundant water and land are where we fish, hunt, and gather. The health and well being of our people, our economy and our culture depend on the Puget Sound ecosystem. EPA has been an important partner to the Suquamish tribe and the tribes throughout the region as we work to clean up, restore and protect the water and land for future generations.  The Suquamish tribe and EPA are working together to clean up eight superfund sites that’s within our fishing area. With EPA’s help and funding the tribe has reopened shellfish growing areas long closed because of pollution. And EPA supported our work on restoring the Chico Creek estuary, a place of historic and cultural importance to the Suquamish tribe.”

Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Israel Water Authority: “I would like to extend our warm congratulations to the United States EPA on its 50th Anniversary. Our countries might differ in size, but we share some of the same challenges when it comes to environmental protection, and both believe that we can learn from each other. We, here in Israel are proud to cooperate with our friends at EPA on various issues. Over the years, we have been working jointly on topics ranging from air quality and wastewater treatment, to emergency response, to contaminated soils, to the Energy Star program,” said Alon Zask, Senior Deputy Director General for Natural Resources. “Currently, we are especially excited to facilitate under U.S.-Israeli cooperation on the US National Water Reuse Action Plan and to explore opportunities for technical exchange and business development in this context. In Israel, on birthdays we congratulate by saying "Ad Mea V'Esrim" - "until 120 years". So we would like to wish the EPA good luck with the next 70 years, at least. May you continue your important work on improving lives for your nation! Mazel Tov,” said Danny Greenwald-Shapira, Senior Deputy Director General for Regulation.

Ricardo Salles, Brazil Environment Minister: “I am very pleased to share this message at this 50th anniversary of the EPA. Especially after the visit that we have from Minister Wheeler here at the Amazon where we could sign this Memorandum of Understanding between both administrations - the American’s EPA and the Brazilian Environmental Ministry regarding the issues concerning the urban agenda such as sanitation and waste management. Also, the provision of webinars and other procedures that are going to have together. And we do appreciate very much this collaboration. Parabéns – Congratulations EPA for its 50th anniversary.”

Margaret Macauley, Chief Manager, Ghana Water Company Limited: “We in Ghana Water are responsible for water production, transmission, distribution, and revenue collection in all the urban communities in Ghana. We operate in 57 surface water systems and 38 borehole systems across the country. In all we produce a total of 875,000 cubic meters a day. US EPA has fostered an excellent partnership with GWCL over the past four years since 2016 in the areas of capacity building in laboratory operations and best practices for water quality monitoring and management with the aim of fostering safe water delivery and public health protection. Thanks to you, GWCL now has a laboratory quality manual to guide and standardize our operations all over the country. On the occasion of your 50th anniversary we would like to congratulate you and wish you warm felicitations.”

Virginia LeClere, Environmental Manager for the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in Kansas: “The prairie band has been sitting at the table with the EPA since 1995.  Our journey started with our very first GAP grant.  We took the textbook approach and utilized that initial GAP grant to start building all our programs over the course of 25 years. Our Clean Water Act 106, 319, Wetlands, Air Quality 103, and 105, lead based paint, radon, 128A tribal response, solid and hazardous waste, and wastewater. Since 1995 the Prairie Band experienced a lot of really rapid growth and development and all that development brought a host of new and different social, cultural, and environmental challenges.  So naturally, and fortunately, our work with EPA had to evolve and mature through all those changes too.  It’s been an educational, sometimes challenging, but overall a really rewarding and fruitful partnership.”

McCoy Oatman, Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee: “The Nez Perce Tribe works with EPA in various projects on the Nez Perce Reservation to protect air and water. Our air quality program which monitors ambient air operates a federal air rules for the region’s burn permit program, collaborates with researchers on community air toxics and smoke from agricultural burning and wood stoves, and provides community outreach and education. In addition, our water resource division monitors ground and surface water quality and quantity, implements best management practices, carries out research and investigation to help protect and restore wetlands, identifies and removes leaking underground storage tanks, and assesses, safely cleans up, and sustainably reuses contaminated properties. Qe'ci'yéw' yew'. Thank you and Happy 50th EPA!”

Calixto Mateos-Hanel and Salvador López Córdov, North American Development Bank: “As the Environmental Protection Agency celebrates its 50th Anniversary, the North American Development Bank is proud to highlight the strong partnership it has been able to build with EPA in over more than two decades. Through this partnership NADB administers EPA grants to address high priority water and wastewater infrastructure needs in communities along the U.S.-Mexico border region. As an example, these EPA grants have helped provide first-time access to water and storage services for thousands of residents and supported urgent investments in Mexico aimed at eliminating untreated sewage discharges impacting shared water bodies, as well as the health and well-being of U.S. residents.” 

Jeff Witte, Secretary, New Mexico Department of Agriculture: “Through our partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture is able to further leverage its environment-related programs and awareness efforts,” said Jeff Witte, New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture. “One of the most successful outcomes of our partnership with the EPA is our pesticide disposal opportunity. Efforts are enhanced when we collaborate, and with our partners at the EPA, we are able to deliver more effectively. From everyone at NMDA, we wish the EPA a happy 50th anniversary.”

Bruno Pigott, Commissioner, Indiana Department of Environmental Management: “Our partnership with EPA has led to many successes in our great Hoosier state,” said IDEM Commissioner Bruno Pigott. “With the help of EPA, we’re looking forward to another 50 years of progress, collaboration and improvements to our environment.”

Jeff Landry, Louisiana Attorney General: “This month the Environmental Protection Agency is celebrating 50 years! It has been absolutely outstanding to work with President Trump’s EPA in not only protecting human health and the environment but also in reducing unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy so that our farmers, fisherman, and other hard-working Louisianans can achieve new heights of excellence. I am thankful for Administrator Wheeler’s strong dedication and common-sense solutions to balancing the needs of the environment with the real life challenges facing our State’s residents and workers! EPA – thanks for all your help to get us cleaner land, air, and water; and congratulations on 50 years!”

Kenneth Wagner, Secretary, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality: "As a result of this partnership, Oklahoma is home to some of the nation's most beautiful and cleanest rivers and lakes”

Scott Thompson, Executive Director, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality: "We've cleaned up thousands of properties in both Superfunds and in our Hazardous Waste program across the state and its made our state better and our citizens safer."

W. Brian Fulton, County Administrator, Jackson County Board of Supervisors: “Strong relationships and collaboration between federal, state, and local governments are critical to good policymaking that serves the people of this country.  Many times, the local perspective is invaluable to ensuring that federal rules can be administered and achieve their desired result.  As a member of the LGAC and Vice-Chair of SCAS,  I  value the opportunity to provide meaningful input on behalf of Jackson County, Mississippi into federal rules and actions.  The proposed rule to replace the 2015 rule Defining Waters of the United States (WOTUS) was an example of that collaboration that resulted in a more responsible and effective policy.  We look forward to continuing this approach in the future on important policies that protect our environment.”

Kevin Faulconer, Mayor of San Diego, CA: U.S. EPA is marking 50 years of helping cities keep our water, air and land clean. San Diego is proud to have such a vital partner to invest in our recycled water program and find solutions to fix the Tijuana River Valley sewage crisis.

Karen Alexander, Mayor, Salisbury, NC "The city of Salisbury has enjoyed a wonderful partnership with the EPA that has resulted in significant federal projects."

Kitty Barnes, Commissioner, Catawba County, NC and Chair of the EPA Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC): “As a community, we are grateful for EPA’s diligence and guidance as they work to ensure sound environmental quality for citizens here and across the country.”

Jeff Kightlinger, General Manager of Metropolitan Water District of Southern California: "Since 1970, Metropolitan has worked with the EPA on all sorts of drinking water regulation all to make sure that we provide the safest cleanest water to the consumers around the United States of America."

Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and Executive Director, National League of Cities: “As we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in April, we are also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The environmental movement led to cleaner air, water and land in our communities. The partnership between local leaders and the EPA has made this progress possible. Local leaders know there is more work to do to ensure all residents have access to clean and safe drinking water and improved air quality to protect health, and to revitalize our cities, towns and villages. We look forward to a continued partnership with the EPA as we advance environmental protection while growing our economies, which go hand in hand.”

Matthew Chase, Executive Director, National Association of Counties: “As both regulators and regulated entities, county governments play a key role in environmental stewardship, infrastructure and other essential functions that serve our residents. Meaningful consultation and partnerships among federal, state, tribal and local officials result in more common-sense, practical regulations while reducing unfunded mandates on local governments. The EPA’s Federalism Consultation Program helps us achieve our shared environmental and community development goals.”

David Adkins, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, The Council of State Governments: "Throughout our nation’s history, the states have served as the laboratories of democracy, able to develop and execute policy innovations to address the priority challenges facing our states and nation. Establishing a process that ensures states maintain their roles as true partners in our federal system, and not just another stakeholder, is critical not only for the future of our states, but for the future of our nation as a whole. Whether you agree or disagree with the proposed policy, the EPA continues to engage state and local governments early in the rulemaking process, ensuring their voices and concerns are being considered as part of the federalism consultation process."

J. Alan Roberson, P.E., Executive Director, Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA): “The members of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA), the co-regulators with EPA for drinking water, have worked closely with the Agency to ensure that Americans have safe drinking water.  EPA's federalism consultation process under E.O. 13132 has allowed the states to partner in rule development by helping to ensure that federal regulations provide states with the tools they need to optimize public health protection.”

Dania E. Rodriguez, Executive Director, Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials: “The Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) values our partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  EPA’s federalism process allows our members, the 50 States, 5 Territories and the District of Columbia (States),  the opportunity to improve our regulations that address remediation, revitalization and reuse of the numerous sites and properties we work together on in the Brownfields, Federal Facilities, Hazardous Waste, Materials Management, Superfund and Tanks programs.  As co-regulators, with our federal partners, we strive to protect and improve public health and the environment and look forward to continuing and strengthening our partnership the next 50 years and beyond.”

Michael Griffin, Executive Director, County of Executives of America: “The federal rulemaking arena can be perilous territory for state and local governments.  EPA’s “gold standard” Federalism consultation program stands alone among federal agencies and demonstrates a clear commitment to the principles of E.O. 13132 by ensuring that local governments are both heard and heeded as environmental and public health-protecting regulations are crafted.”

Michael Keegan, Policy Analyst, National Rural Water Association: “The National Rural Water Association, the nation’s largest water utility association and the largest community-based environmental organization, holds as sacrosanct the principles of federalism and local community governance within the 50 state laboratories of democracy.  As such, NRWA and its members commend EPA for its conscientious implementation of E.O. 13132, Federalism, and look forward to strengthening this partnership in the coming years.”

For more on EPA’s 50th Anniversary and how the agency is protecting America’s public health and the environment, visit: https://www.epa.gov/50.

Follow EPA’s 50th Anniversary celebration on social media using #EPAat50.