bush administration's support for smart growth
Remarks prepared for Governor Christine Todd Whitman,
       Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
                                 at the
                  Partners for Smart Growth Conference
                         San Diego, California

                            January 24, 2002

     It is a pleasure to be with you today - I am always happy to have
an excuse to come to San Diego. Especially this one - the chance to
speak about Smart Growth.

     I would like to begin by thanking the people who have given all of
us this opportunity to expand the dialogue on Smart Growth. EPA has
several co-sponsors in this conference - many of whom have been
partnering with the EPA on various projects for years - and I would like
to thank all of them for their dedication to environmental stewardship.

     I would also like to thank our hosts - the City and County of San
Diego - for their hospitality. This is a beautiful city and everyone has
done a fantastic job of welcoming this conference and I appreciate it.
It shows that there are many people here in San Diego who understand the
importance of Smart Growth - not just while this conference is in town,
but all year long.

     Everyone here recognizes that Smart Growth makes sense for our
environment, our communities, and everyone who lives in them. It is my
pleasure this evening to emphasize that the Bush Administration - and
the EPA especially - understands the importance of Smart Growth as well
and we are looking forward to working with each of you to achieve our
common goals for smarter growth throughout the Nation.

     The environmental challenges we face in the 21st Century - in many
ways - are entirely different than those we have dealt with in the past.
While we used to spend so much time focusing on immediate problems, we
now have the opportunity to plan for the future. Addressing new
environmental challenges requires us to manage all of our resources
better - economic, social, and environmental - and manage them for the
long term.

     That is why Smart Growth is so important - it is critical to
economic growth, the development of healthy communities, and the
protection of our environment all at the same time. Smart Growth - the
ability to create a sustainable society where we can reach all of these
goals simultaneously - really comes down to one thing: quality of life.

     We can grow our economy without sacrificing quality of life. We can
preserve the environment for future generations without sacrificing our
quality of life. And, we can live and work in healthy and convenient
neighborhoods without sacrificing our quality of life. We can achieve
all of these things by applying the principles of Smart Growth.

     Given what is at stake - our quality of life and that of our
children - it should come as no surprise that the public is hungry for
smart growth initiatives. Since 1998 voters across America have passed
529 referenda supporting more than $19 billion in open space funding.
Last year alone, voters approved $1.7 billion for parks and open space
conservation on local and state ballots across the country. They are
telling us: the time for action is now.

     I am so pleased that President Bush and the Congress understood
this urgency and decided to take action on a vital Smart Growth strategy -
 brownfields redevelopment. Two weeks ago, the President signed the
Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act.
Luckily, the principles of this bill are simpler than the name - turn
abandoned properties into productive properties.

     This new legislation will enable EPA to help states and local
communities turn environmental eyesores into economic assets. Perhaps
more important, the bill has removed the minefields that re-developers
face when looking to reclaim and improve brownfields. By promoting more
effective and efficient brownfields cleanup, we will relieve the
pressure to develop open space and make our urban communities attractive
places to live and work.

     Our work to restore the hundreds of thousands of brownfields that
dot America's cities and towns is indicative of EPA's overall strategy
for Smart Growth - partnerships. Whether cleaning up brownfields or
developing a local smart growth plan, government does not have all of
the answers. We must rely on partnerships with everyone who has a stake
in smarter growth in order to achieve our common goals.

     In the past, the federal government has worked with a command and
control style of mandate, regulate, and litigate. I believe that we can
build a new approach - one that emphasizes a constructive relationship,
a cooperative spirit, and a commitment to solutions that work. Just as
we will look to state governments, local communities, and developers as
partners in our fight to cleanup brownfields, EPA will look to
partnerships with governments and tribes, corporations and small
businesses, planners and preservationists to achieve smarter growth
across the Nation.

     Beneath this principle of partnership, of course, is the basic
understanding that land use decisions are a local matter. EPA's Smart
Growth program can assist with these important decisions by providing
the tools necessary for success - regulatory flexibility, technical
support, and solid information - but ultimately only those closest to a
problem can find the best solution.

     The cornerstone of this approach is the Smart Growth Network. There
are more than 30 partners in the EPA's Smart Growth Network, including a
wide variety of interests from the Local Government Commission to the
National Association of Realtors, and from the Institute for
Transportation Engineers to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Through this network, EPA provides targeted resources for smart growth -
including sponsoring this conference.

     An excellent example of what good partnerships can produce is a new
report titled "Getting to Smart Growth: 100 Policies for
Implementation." This Smart Growth Network report is available at the
SGN conference booth or on the website at  www.smartgrowth.org.  This is
a publication that can serve as a road map for states or localities that
recognize the need for smart growth, but are not yet sure how to achieve
it. Providing ten policy options for each of ten Smart Growth
principles, it is especially valuable because it will help communities
turn smart growth ideas into action - actions that will get us closer to
our goals for a sustainable society.

     This is just one way EPA is committed to helping local communities
achieve smarter growth. EPA's Smart Growth program also works with
communities to help them evaluate the environmental impact of future
growth, assists metropolitan planning organizations to examine smart
growth transportation options, and provides local governments with best
practices and innovations for smart growth policy making.

     In addition to these ongoing projects, I am very pleased to be able
to announce two new initiatives as part of EPA's Smart Growth program.

     The first includes key strategies for open space preservation to
help us build Smart Growth principles into the already successful
brownfields program. In the coming year, EPA will provide additional
grants and technical assistance to pilot communities that are
redeveloping brownfields in a manner that is consistent with their own
goals for smart growth. With hundreds of thousands of brownfields
needing attention across the country, it is clear that we will need to
prioritize. This is one way of doing that, and it will help communities
achieve the goals they have set for Smart Growth in their area.

     The second initiative will help us ensure that smart growth success
stories are shared with everyone. The best way to encourage more
sensible development is to show people that smart growth is already
working to improve the quality of life in the town or state next door.
It relies on one of the most powerful tools we have for smart growth -
"keeping up with the Jones'."

      That is why the EPA will establish a National Award for Smart
Growth Achievement. This annual award will recognize communities and
individual leaders who have demonstrated innovation and success in
applying smart growth principles - and I look forward to announcing the
first five recipients next year.

     As you all know, Smart Growth is at a critical point. People all
over the country care about how and where their communities grow. This
effort is gathering momentum and we have to be prepared to use that
momentum to push further toward our goals. Despite significant progress,
it is clear that we still have a long way to go. There is still too much
growth that many would not call smart. Our future efforts must build
upon the success of previous accomplishments and strive to answer
challenges that still remain.

     These challenges - like Smart Growth itself - require us to balance
competing interests and, I believe, move past commonly held assumptions.
Open space, for instance, must be seen as  an urban, suburban, and rural
issue ? for preserving park land within the confines of our cities is as
important as saving farmland from unnecessary development.

     Brownfields, too, must be seen in this light - because a family
farm is as likely to house a brownfield as an abandoned gas station on a
crowded street corner. We all must be looking for new and innovative
ways to address these challenges - and several others - in the coming

     I am proud of what we are doing - and what we will do - to promote
Smart Growth across the country.  Working together we can ensure that
the local land-use planners have the information and tools to: save open
space, save money on roads and sewers, keep homes affordable, and make
our cities and town centers thrive.

     We are giving people the opportunity to make choices that will
improve their quality of life. Choices on transportation so they can
spend less time in the car and more time with their families. Choices
about where to live, or work, or shop. Choices about how they will use
the resources of today and how they will affect the environment of
tomorrow. Through smart growth, we are giving people the opportunity to
live healthier and more prosperous lives - and to protect that same
chance for their children and grandchildren as well.

     I would like to thank all of you for your dedication to making
those choices available. I look forward to working with you in the
future to make sure that our country's growth is Smart Growth, and that
our quality of life does not degrade that of future generations. Judging
simply by the success of this conference, I am confident that we will
make that happen.

     Thank you.