prepared for Governor Christine Todd Whitman,
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
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
excuse to come to San Diego. Especially this one - the chance to
about Smart Growth.
I would like to begin by thanking the people who have given all of
this opportunity to expand the dialogue on Smart Growth. EPA has
co-sponsors in this conference - many of whom have been
with the EPA on various projects for years - and I would like
thank all of them for their dedication to environmental stewardship.
I would also like to thank our hosts - the City and County of San
- for their hospitality. This is a beautiful city and everyone has
a fantastic job of welcoming this conference and I appreciate it.
shows that there are many people here in San Diego who understand the
of Smart Growth - not just while this conference is in town,
all year long.
Everyone here recognizes that Smart Growth makes sense for our
our communities, and everyone who lives in them. It is my
this evening to emphasize that the Bush Administration - and
EPA especially - understands the importance of Smart Growth as well
we are looking forward to working with each of you to achieve our
goals for smarter growth throughout the Nation.
The environmental challenges we face in the 21st Century - in many
- are entirely different than those we have dealt with in the past.
we used to spend so much time focusing on immediate problems, we
have the opportunity to plan for the future. Addressing new
challenges requires us to manage all of our resources
- economic, social, and environmental - and manage them for the
That is why Smart Growth is so important - it is critical to
growth, the development of healthy communities, and the
of our environment all at the same time. Smart Growth - the
to create a sustainable society where we can reach all of these
simultaneously - really comes down to one thing: quality of life.
We can grow our economy without sacrificing quality of life. We can
the environment for future generations without sacrificing our
of life. And, we can live and work in healthy and convenient
without sacrificing our quality of life. We can achieve
of these things by applying the principles of Smart Growth.
Given what is at stake - our quality of life and that of our
- it should come as no surprise that the public is hungry for
growth initiatives. Since 1998 voters across America have passed
referenda supporting more than $19 billion in open space funding.
year alone, voters approved $1.7 billion for parks and open space
on local and state ballots across the country. They are
us: the time for action is now.
I am so pleased that President Bush and the Congress understood
urgency and decided to take action on a vital Smart Growth strategy -
redevelopment. Two weeks ago, the President signed the
Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act.
the principles of this bill are simpler than the name - turn
properties into productive properties.
This new legislation will enable EPA to help states and local
turn environmental eyesores into economic assets. Perhaps
important, the bill has removed the minefields that re-developers
when looking to reclaim and improve brownfields. By promoting more
and efficient brownfields cleanup, we will relieve the
to develop open space and make our urban communities attractive
to live and work.
Our work to restore the hundreds of thousands of brownfields that
America's cities and towns is indicative of EPA's overall strategy
Smart Growth - partnerships. Whether cleaning up brownfields or
a local smart growth plan, government does not have all of
answers. We must rely on partnerships with everyone who has a stake
smarter growth in order to achieve our common goals.
In the past, the federal government has worked with a command and
style of mandate, regulate, and litigate. I believe that we can
a new approach - one that emphasizes a constructive relationship,
cooperative spirit, and a commitment to solutions that work. Just as
will look to state governments, local communities, and developers as
in our fight to cleanup brownfields, EPA will look to
with governments and tribes, corporations and small
planners and preservationists to achieve smarter growth
Beneath this principle of partnership, of course, is the basic
that land use decisions are a local matter. EPA's Smart
program can assist with these important decisions by providing
tools necessary for success - regulatory flexibility, technical
and solid information - but ultimately only those closest to a
can find the best solution.
The cornerstone of this approach is the Smart Growth Network. There
more than 30 partners in the EPA's Smart Growth Network, including a
variety of interests from the Local Government Commission to the
Association of Realtors, and from the Institute for
Engineers to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
this network, EPA provides targeted resources for smart growth -
sponsoring this conference.
An excellent example of what good partnerships can produce is a new
titled "Getting to Smart Growth: 100 Policies for
This Smart Growth Network report is available at the
conference booth or on the website at www.smartgrowth.org.
publication that can serve as a road map for states or localities that
the need for smart growth, but are not yet sure how to achieve
Providing ten policy options for each of ten Smart Growth
it is especially valuable because it will help communities
smart growth ideas into action - actions that will get us closer to
goals for a sustainable society.
This is just one way EPA is committed to helping local communities
smarter growth. EPA's Smart Growth program also works with
to help them evaluate the environmental impact of future
assists metropolitan planning organizations to examine smart
transportation options, and provides local governments with best
and innovations for smart growth policy making.
In addition to these ongoing projects, I am very pleased to be able
announce two new initiatives as part of EPA's Smart Growth program.
The first includes key strategies for open space preservation to
us build Smart Growth principles into the already successful
program. In the coming year, EPA will provide additional
and technical assistance to pilot communities that are
brownfields in a manner that is consistent with their own
for smart growth. With hundreds of thousands of brownfields
attention across the country, it is clear that we will need to
This is one way of doing that, and it will help communities
the goals they have set for Smart Growth in their area.
The second initiative will help us ensure that smart growth success
are shared with everyone. The best way to encourage more
development is to show people that smart growth is already
to improve the quality of life in the town or state next door.
relies on one of the most powerful tools we have for smart growth -
up with the Jones'."
That is why the EPA will establish a National Award for Smart
Achievement. This annual award will recognize communities and
leaders who have demonstrated innovation and success in
smart growth principles - and I look forward to announcing the
five recipients next year.
As you all know, Smart Growth is at a critical point. People all
the country care about how and where their communities grow. This
is gathering momentum and we have to be prepared to use that
to push further toward our goals. Despite significant progress,
is clear that we still have a long way to go. There is still too much
that many would not call smart. Our future efforts must build
the success of previous accomplishments and strive to answer
that still remain.
These challenges - like Smart Growth itself - require us to balance
interests and, I believe, move past commonly held assumptions.
space, for instance, must be seen as an urban, suburban, and rural
? for preserving park land within the confines of our cities is as
as saving farmland from unnecessary development.
Brownfields, too, must be seen in this light - because a family
is as likely to house a brownfield as an abandoned gas station on a
street corner. We all must be looking for new and innovative
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
Growth across the country. Working together we can ensure that
local land-use planners have the information and tools to: save open
save money on roads and sewers, keep homes affordable, and make
cities and town centers thrive.
We are giving people the opportunity to make choices that will
their quality of life. Choices on transportation so they can
less time in the car and more time with their families. Choices
where to live, or work, or shop. Choices about how they will use
resources of today and how they will affect the environment of
Through smart growth, we are giving people the opportunity to
healthier and more prosperous lives - and to protect that same
for their children and grandchildren as well.
I would like to thank all of you for your dedication to making
choices available. I look forward to working with you in the
to make sure that our country's growth is Smart Growth, and that
quality of life does not degrade that of future generations. Judging
by the success of this conference, I am confident that we will