News Releases

“Today marks the 35th anniversary of Earth Day, a commitment one generation made to another to preserve the natural beauty of our environment. Earth Day was born out of an urgent sense that we needed to stop the degradation of our surroundings and improve our environment. Today, we feel that same sense of urgency as the Bush Administration continues to assault our landmark protection laws.

I am very proud of the work we have done in Washington state to keep environmental conservation a top priority. We have balanced economic growth and environmental protection. Passionate individuals and organizations are dedicated to protecting our unique natural resources, highlighting the difference that each and every one of us can make.

Since Earth Day’s inception, our country has made tremendous progress in improving air and water quality. Despite population growth and industrialization, air pollutant levels have been cut by over 50%. More than one billion pounds of toxic chemicals are removed from wastewater every year, and wetland losses have slowed to nearly a quarter of what they were in 1970.

But there is a lot of progress left to be made. Every year thousands of Americans are hospitalized from respiratory problems associated with polluted air. Industrial smog is now a common blight on our urban landscapes. And the EPA estimates that nearly one half of U.S. streams and lakes still do not meet federal water quality standards.

The Bush Administration is working to systematically dismantle critical regulations that safeguard public health and safety. Proposals like “Clear Skies” and the mercury emissions rule would roll back decades of progress in environmental protection. Rather than relax federal standards, we need aggressive plans to improve our air and water quality.

Record-high fuel prices remind us of the pressing need to implement a comprehensive national energy policy. We need a long-term plan that reduces our dependence on foreign oil and encourages alternative energy development and conservation. The Administration continues to push a flawed proposal that does not achieve any of these goals.

Today and every day, we must reaffirm our commitment to preserve our natural environment for generations to come.