Statement Of David Struhs
Environmental Protection Agency
Aging Initiative Public Listening Session
April 3, 2003
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Thank you, Jimmy, and thank you, Governor, for joining us here in Florida. I'd like to begin by offering my thanks to our President, and hope you take this message back to him. While our front pages of the newspaper have headlines and other media are filled with news of war in the Middle East, I think it is remarkable that this administration has focused on its domestic agenda as well. Particularly, as demonstrated here today, a progressive domestic agenda. It is remarkable that the President has seen fit to send us Governor Whitman and to put her in charge of leading such an important part of the domestic agenda, mainly assuring adequate levels of public health protection for the most vulnerable in our population. We are obviously very grateful, Governor, that you have chosen to launch this fact-finding effort here in Florida. I would offer that it is very appropriate. You have already heard some statistics about the nature of our aging demographics, not just nationwide, but particularly here in Florida. I think perhaps the most compelling way to present to you the situation here in Florida is to remind you that Florida is the only state in the country that has a growing population of World War II veterans. Florida, recognizing the vulnerability of our older demographics, is doing its part, particularly in relation to clean air. The last few years we have made a concerted effort to make a substantial commitment to reduce air pollution coupled with the largest reductions in air pollution in Florida's history. We are very pleased that Florida is one of two states - east of the Mississippi River - that is now completely in attainment with all the federal Clean Air standards for smog and ozone. That is a demonstration of our commitment to do our part. I would close, Governor, by offering you any of the services, any of the staff, the talent, the resources we have here are at your disposal, both for today's meeting, and as you carry this initiative forward in the months ahead. Thank you.