Congratulations to the winners of the 2001 Environmental Excellence Awards and all who were nominated for these awards. They are a mark of the high value we place on safeguarding the environment.
President Bush is committed to continuing the progress this country has made in protecting our land, our air and our water in the United States. The President's budget for 2002, for example, protects our environment by providing the largest increase for conservation funds in history and fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund - a $900 million commitment.
Continued improvement in environmental quality can best be achieved by local stewardship of our resources and encouraging innovative methods of pollution control. That is why awards like this are so important. They recognize that environmental excellence results from good, environmental stewardship. They also reflect our important goal to work in partnership with state and local officials, providing flexibility for them to craft solutions in their own communities. As good stewards acting responsibly, we can protect and enhance the environment without sacrificing mobility or causing economic hardship.
Honoring the winners of the Environmental Excellence Awards is one of the ways that we are celebrating Earth Day 2001. The winning partners, projects, and processes have gone beyond "business as usual" to excel in areas that will improve our communities, enhance air quality, advance scenic byways, and streamline the processes we use to ensure that our environment is protected. The 13 winners selected by an independent panel of judges, who also named five from among the 145 entries for honorable mention, represent an impressive win for our environment. I am also gratified at the broad participation in this competition - nominations came from 31 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. You'll see the results in the following pages, and I trust that you will be as impressed as I was.
Norman Y. Mineta
U.S. Secretary of Transportation