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EPA Administrator Concludes Southwest Swing with Nixon Library Address

Speech Lays Out Vision for EPA’s Future Priorities

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Yorba Linda, Calif. (September 3, 2020) — Today, U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler concluded his swing through the American Southwest with an address at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Southern California where he commemorated President Nixon’s creation of the agency 50 years ago and laid out a vision for the agency’s next 50 years.

“In the 50 years since President Nixon founded EPA, the agency and its state partners have done such an exceptional job protecting human health and the environment that I can conclusively say— America’s environment today is cleaner than it’s ever been in our lifetimes,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “As we look to the next 50 years, the agency will strive to achieve the goals of fairness and good environmental outcomes that this country must accomplish if it wants every community to become better, healthier places to live, regardless of zip code.”

Prior to his address, Administrator Wheeler toured the Orange County Water District in Fountain Valley where he announced an update to the district’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan.

This action lowers the WIFIA loan’s interest rate, saving ratepayers an additional $79.4 million and bringing the total savings for this community to $95.4 million over the life of the loan. In August 2018, EPA announced the closing of a $135 million WIFIA loan to the Orange County Water District to help finance its $282 million Groundwater Replenishment System final expansion. This project will purify treated wastewater from the Orange County Sanitation District to produce an additional 30 million gallons per day of drinking water, which will be stored in the Orange County Groundwater Basin.

Administrator Wheeler was joined by Water District President Vicente Sarmiento, President and members from the board of directors including Cathy Green, Steve Sheldon and Denis Bilodeau. Stanton Mayor and Orange County Sanitation District Vice Chairman David Shawver also joined the tour.

In Administrator Wheeler’s address at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, he explained that over the next four years, EPA will pursue five priories, centered around community-driven environmentalism as a way to help to solve the environmental justice challenges America is facing. Those priorities include:

  1. Creating Community-Driven Environmentalism that Promotes Community Revitalization
  2. Meeting the 21st Century Demands for Water
  3. Reimagining Superfund as a Project-Oriented Program
  4. Reforming the Permitting Process to Empower States
  5. Creating a Holistic Pesticide Program for the Future

In recognizing the agency’s 50th anniversary, he also laid out how the Trump Administration has already reshaped the agency and explained five of the administration’s biggest shifts for the agency’s future:

  1. Creating cost-benefit rules for every statute that governs EPA
  2. Applying science transparency rules that are applied consistently
  3. Publishing new guidance policy procedures that bring all of our guidance documents to light
  4. Reorganizing regional offices to make it much easier for community members to interact with the agency
  5. Implementing the lean management system throughout the agency to improve the way we operate

“Fifty years ago, when EPA was founded, the challenges before America on the environment, on economic fairness and on foreign policy were very large and difficult to overcome,” said Wheeler during the speech. “But many of these challenges have been overcome and even conquered. I believe that by focusing EPA toward communities in the coming years, our agency can change the future for people in this country who have been left behind simply for living in polluted places.”

Read the full address here: