Senator Barbara Boxer's Remarks:
EPA Headquarters Naming Ceremony in Honor of President Clinton
(Remarks as Prepared for Delivery)
Welcome to this beautiful building, which in about an hour will forever be known as the William Jefferson Clinton Building.
We all know how a bill becomes a law, and this bill passed unanimously in both the House and Senate. Because of that strong bipartisan support, we are here today honoring our former President. I thank President Obama for signing our bill into law.
This is a very strong building, and Bill Clinton was a very strong President, and he continues to be a strong leader.
President Clinton has been honored many times for his accomplishments as President, as well as his leadership since leaving office. In fact, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation awarded him the Lincoln Leadership Prize for his lifetime of service, citing his leadership in the longest economic expansion in American history, including the creation of 22 million jobs and the lowest unemployment rate in 30 years.
He was recognized for his role in converting the largest budget deficit in history to the largest surplus, decreasing the national debt, all while having the lowest government spending in nearly three decades.
President Clinton has also been recognized for his work in fighting AIDS -- the Clinton Foundation has provided more than 5 million people access to lifesaving HIV-AIDS treatment.
Today I want to focus on his environmental leadership, and his position has always been clear -- a strong economy and a strong environment go hand in hand.
I often say, "if you can't breathe, you can't work." Clean air, safe drinking water, cleaning up toxic sites, clean rivers and streams -- all are essential for a strong economy. And we all know how tough the challenge of climate change is, but it too must be addressed.
President Clinton created the first-ever office of Children's Health Protection at EPA. He signed legislation to strengthen drinking water standards in 1996, and I was proud to author an amendment to this legislation that ensured drinking water standards protect vulnerable populations, including children. He cleaned up over 600 superfund sites, more than three times as many as in the previous 12 years; and he preserved or protected more than 4 million acres of parks, monuments and wilderness for us and future generations.
And since 2005 when he established the Clinton Foundation, he has continued to be a global leader in creating innovative solutions to critical public health and environmental challenges like climate change in ways that are a win-win.
How fitting to name this building that houses the EPA after President Clinton.