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World Conference on International Fuel Quality

World Conference on International Fuel Quality

Carol M. Browner, EPA Administrator
Brussels, Belgium
May 13, 1996

Remarks as prepared for videotaping

I'm Carol Browner, Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. I'm sorry I cannot be with you in person, but I am delighted to have this opportunity to address the World Conference on Fuel Quality and Vehicle Technology.

I want to thank Fred Potter for convening this important gathering, which seeks to help us move forward in developing clean vehicles and clean fuels.  Throughout the world, clean fuels and clean vehicles are good for our health, good for our environment, and good for our economy.

A generation ago, here in the U.S., Americans joined together to say, "We must stop the pollution.  We must save our natural heritage."

And together, we made tremendous progress.  We no longer have rivers catching on fire. Our skies are cleaner.

Three years ago, when President Clinton and I came to Washington, we were determined to continue that progress -- to build on the successes of the past and to meet the challenges of the next century.

Cleaning up our air is essential if we are to ensure a safe, secure future for our children and our children's children.  And clean fuel quality and clean vehicle technology are a vital part of improving air quality.

In the U.S., since the passage of our Clean Air Act 26 years ago, our nation has accomplished a great deal in improving air quality.

In just the past five years, 50 million Americans in 55 cities are breathing cleaner air -- air that meets public health standards.

Factories and power plants emit far less pollution than in the past.  We have taken historic steps to reduce toxic air pollution from chemical plants, landfills, incinerators.

We have seen dramatic progress in vehicle technology.  Thanks to the catalytic converter and other important advances, tailpipe emissions in today's new cars are down by 90, compared to cars sold in 1970.

We have seen significant improvements in fuel quality.  By phasing out leaded gasoline in the United States, we have achieved a 98 10rop in lead in the air -- and a 75 reduction in lead in the blood of America's children.

Oxygenated gasoline has helped us to significantly reduce carbon monoxide pollution in many of our cities.

And over the past year and a half, our reformulated gasoline program has brought significant benefits for air quality.  Nine of our most polluted cities are required to use reformulated gasoline, and several other areas have chosen to use it.  Today, approximately 30 of gasoline used in the U.S. is cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline.

Reformulated gasoline has brought significant benefits in reducing both toxic air pollution and ozone pollution, or smog.  We estimate that so far, the benefits have been equivalent to removing seven million vehicles from the road.  And the cost has been low -- only three to five cents per gallon.

There is no question that our Clean Air Act has helped us to make truly significant progress in cleaning up our air -- and at an economic cost substantially lower than predicted.

President Clinton has always believed that environmental protection and economic progress go hand in hand.  We do not have to choose between our health and our jobs.  In fact, the two are inextricably linked.  A healthy economy begets a healthier environment; a healthy environment -- a stronger economy.

The Clinton Administration has continued to move forward in meeting the environmental challenge, despite the fact that over the past two years we have experienced the most severe Congressional assault on public health and environmental protection in decades.

In the battle over the budget, in the battle over the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws, the President stood firm for public health and environmental protection.  As a result, vital protections are in place and will remain in place.

But the price of a clean, safe environment is that we must always be vigilant.  The job is not done.  The responsibility will always be ours to protect our health, our natural resources, our children's future.

The Clinton Administration is committed to continuing to implement strong public health and environmental standards to reduce air pollution. We will continue to work with industry to encourage the development of advanced vehicle technologies.  We will continue to work to phase out lead in gasoline throughout the world.

Last December, the United States and the European Union signed a New Transatlantic Agenda.  In February, it was my pleasure to meet with Commissioner Bjerregaard of the European Union, to discuss the Environmental Action Plan that is part of that new Agenda.

Through this important accord, we have pledged to cooperate in solving urgent global problems -- climate change, ozone depletion, water quality, ocean pollution, hazardous waste, and air pollution.

As the European Union moves forward in developing its air pollution standards, we in the U.S. look forward to sharing our experiences in whatever ways are most useful.

All of us in the Clinton Administration look forward to continuing to work together with business, government, and environmental leaders throughout the world, to protect our air, our health, our communities, our economy -- using common-sense, cost-effective measures -- so that all of us, our children, and our grandchildren can enjoy a healthy and prosperous life.

Thank you.

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