The arrival of spring in New England is always a cause for celebration. The return of sunshine and warmer days; plants easing out of their winter dormancy; the colorful, bursting arrival of daffodils, pansies and tulips; and the greening of our lawns. These things help many of us to rejoice at the natural cycle of the seasons.
Spring is also the season when we celebrate Earth Day and reaffirm our dedication to ensuring a clean and healthy environment for our communities and citizens.
In New England we are fortunate, not only because we inhabit a uniquely beautiful corner of the United States, filled with historic communities and splendid landscapes. We are also fortunate because in New England, by and large our extended community has achieved a shared consensus that a healthy and protected environment is attainable, and worth the short-term efforts needed to ensure long-term prosperity and healthy living.
A clean and protected environment does not happen by chance, nor does it happen simply because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decides that is a good idea. Rather, a healthful environment is the result of hard work and effort from many individuals, organizations, and levels of government, all coordinating together to achieve our mutual goal.
During my travels around New England to see firsthand how EPA’s work is helping and impacting local communities, I have been honored to spend time with mayors, selectmen, local experts, as well as dedicated professionals working in state agencies. One theme is reinforced repeatedly: seldom does EPA act alone. Protecting our environment is a job that requires all of us.
Partnerships have been a cornerstone of EPA’s work in New England. All the major success stories, whether a brownfields redevelopment in a local community, a Superfund site cleaned up and returned to productive use in a municipality, or the decades-long success of cleaning up Boston Harbor and the Charles River, are all due to the dedicated efforts of many organizations that partnered together to work for a better, cleaner, and healthier environmental outcome.
We are proud of past accomplishments, but our work to protect New England citizens from environmental contamination is not finished. Here in our states, there are still far too many families and small children exposed to lead. Excessive nutrients contained in stormwater runoff threatens our lakes, ponds, streams and even coastal areas. Our work to improve Lake Champlain, Cape Cod and the southeast coastal areas has only just begun.
I am ever more confident that here in New England, across levels of government, communities and non-profits, we are committed to working hard and putting in the hours and effort needed to achieve a clean and healthy environment for all our communities and neighbors. For this Earth Month, that is something we can all celebrate!