This article is an excerpt from a statement issued by Senator Boxer (D-Calif.)
on March 22, 2001.
By Sen. Barbara Boxer
In an interview with the New York Times that appeared on April 4, 2000, President Bush said, Prosperity will mean little if we leave future generations a world of polluted air, toxic lakes and rivers, and vanished forests.
Well, after 60 days of the Bush administration, prosperity is in trouble, air quality is in trouble, lakes, rivers and forests are in trouble, and our drinking water is in trouble too.
Lets look at President Bushs environmental record after only 60 days in office:
Ive been in elected office for 25 years and I have never met one person
who defends high levels of arsenic in our drinking water.
The arsenic standard that the Bush administration has put into effect as of now is a standard set in 1942. It ignores years of scientific research. And it does not come close to meeting the worldwide accepted standard of 10 parts per billion. Every one of our trading partners in the European Union has this 10 parts per billion standard that he is repealing.
Lets be clear. We believe that George W. Bush has declared war on the environment. But we are here today to tell him that we will fight him in that warregulation by regulation, legislation by legislation, standard by standard, confrontation by confrontation.
Congress recognized the undeniable health threats posed by arsenic several years ago, passing the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996. This legislation, which passed unanimously by the Senate, called upon the EPA to update its standard for arsenic in drinking water by January 2001.
The EPA followed through with this task by setting a new drinking water standard in January at 10 parts per billion. This standard is based on a decade of sound, peer-reviewed science and will improve drinking water for 13 million people once fully implemented. We need this standard.
But instead, the Bush administration has ignored the science.
As a longtime supporter of efforts to reduce arsenic levels in drinking water, I urge Administrator Christie Todd Whitman and the Bush administration to reconsider their proposal to withdraw this standard.
President Bush, we will not stand by while you turn back the clock on our public health standards. But rest assured: if you wont do what is in the best interest of the American people, we will.