message in this for G.E.?
President Bush says:
"(C)oncerns over the hazards of PCB's.....are based on
solid scientific information. These pollutants are linked to developmental
defects of cancer and other grave problems in humans and animals.
The risks are great and the need for action is clear: We must work to eliminate
or at least to severely restrict the release of these toxins without delay."
Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, left,
and EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, right,
walk to the Rose Garden of the White House, April
to announce the U.S. intention to sign an international
treaty aimed at reducing the release into the environment
of a number of deadly pesticides and industrial chemicals.
(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds) - Apr 19, 12:04 PM ET
Secretary of State Colin Powell:
".....these chemicals.....have links to reproductive
failure and cancer.....; they persist in the environment and they accumulate
in the food chain."
E.P.A. Administrator Christine Whitman:
"POP's have been linked to numerous adverse effects in
humans and animals; those include cancer, central nervous system damage,
reproductive disorders and immune system disruptions. They are, in fact,
by G. M. Heller
April 19, 2001
Read below the entire text of speeches given today
by President Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and EPA Administrator
Christine Whitman. Then decide for yourself whether PCB's should
be allowed to remain in the Hudson River environment:
(The following is reprinted without permission from The
Text: Bush on POP's Treaty
Thursday, April 19, 2001
is the transcript of President Bush's remarks regarding the Stockholm Convention
of Persistent Organic Pollutants.
BUSH: Thank you all for coming.
Secretary Powell and Administrator Whitman and I are pleased to make
an announcement on the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
This international agreement would restrict the use of 12 dangerous chemicals,
POP's, as they are known, or the Dirty Dozen.
Negotiations were begun by the previous administration, and this treaty
achieves the goal shared by this administration. I'm pleased to announce
my support for the treaty and the intention of our government to sign and
submit it for approval by the United States Senate. This convention is
significant in several respects:
First, concerns over the hazards of PCB's, DDT and the other toxic chemicals
covered by the agreement are based on solid scientific information. These
pollutants are linked to developmental defects of cancer and other grave
problems in humans and animals. The risks are great and the need for action
is clear: We must work to eliminate or at least to severely restrict the
release of these toxins without delay.
Second, this agreement addresses a global environmental problem. These
chemicals respect no boundaries and can harm Americans even when released
Third, this treaty takes into account the understandable concerns of
less developed nations. When these chemicals are used, they pose a health
and environmental threat no matter where in the world they're allowed to
spread, but some nations with fewer resources have a harder time addressing
these threats, and this treaty promises to lend them a hand. And finally,
this treaty shows the possibilities for cooperation among all parties to
our environmental debates. Developed nations cooperated with less developed
nations. Businesses cooperated with environmental groups. And now, a Republican
administration will continue and complete the work of a Democratic administration.
This is the way environmental policy should work.
And I want to thank the United States delegation and all who helped
negotiate this important treaty. And after our remarks here, we'd like
to welcome you to the Oval Office so I can thank you personally.
POWELL: Thank you, Mr. President, Administrator Whitman.
Ladies and gentlemen, President Bush's decision to sign the global treaty
on persistent organic pollutants demonstrates America's leadership to help
make the environment safe for all the world's people. The signing of this
treaty on May 23 in Stockholm and our intention to rapidly bring it into
force reflect our government's clear understanding that many environmental
problems are global in nature. And it reaffirms our commitment to fostering
international cooperation to ensure worldwide environmental safety.
Administrator Whitman, in a moment or so, will go into the actions the
United States government has taken to ban or severely restrict the production
and use of these highly toxic chemicals here at home.
I just want to note that one reason we have taken such strong steps
here at home against these chemicals, chemicals which have links to reproductive
failure and cancer, is their stable chemical structure. This means that
they persist; they persist in the environment and they accumulate in the
POWELL: This is the same quality of stability that makes them
such a potent international threat. Through a highly complex process, these
pollutants circulate globally throughout the atmosphere and in the oceans
of the world, to regions far from their source of origin. They have been
found, for example, in Alaska and the Great Lakes, at great distance from
the industrial and agricultural regions where they were released.
That is why the convention on persistent organic pollutants is so critical.
It commits countries to take significant steps to eliminate or restrict
the production of these chemicals, whether they are in the form of pesticides,
industrial chemicals or as unintentional byproducts of industrial or combustion
Let me cover just a few of the major points of the agreement.
First, the treaty will ban production and use of pesticides that, as
the president has noted, are no longer registered for use in the United
States. In recognition of the dire humanitarian need for DDT, for example,
to fight malaria in Africa, an exception will be made for this purpose,
with respect to DDT, in line with international guidelines until a more
cost-effective control method is found.
Second, in line with U.S. practice, the treaty will ban production and
new use of PCBs. It will mandate national action plans against certain
byproducts of combustion, including dioxin. And, as in the United States,
require use of best available techniques on new sources of POP's, byproducts
in key categories.
POWELL: This convention also imposes controls on the handling
of POP's waste, as well, adds on controls on any trade in these chemicals,
and it sets up a science-based process to consider whether other chemicals
should be added to the convention. The convention also establishes a flexible
framework to provide technical and financial assistance to help countries
implement their commitments. The control requirements will cover both developed
and developing countries.
Finally, the treaty establishes mechanisms to help developing countries
fulfill their obligations. The United States is already a leader in contributing
generously to developing country efforts to control POP's. We provided
over $19 million in assistance from 1997 to 2000 for POP's-related projects,
and we will continue to provide financial and technical support.
Global environmental protection is an important part of this administration's
foreign policy agenda. In this regard, I also want to thank the diplomats
and environmental professionals at the State Department, EPA and other
agencies, who work closely with affected industry, environmental and native
groups, to conclude an agreement that we can all support.
POWELL: And I would like to single out for praise former Deputy
Assistant Secretary of State Brooks Yeager, who led the U.S. delegation.
And finally, Mr. President, on behalf of these dedicated professionals
that I have mentioned, and to all those who seek a safe environment for
our children, I thank you for your personal interest and for your decision
WHITMAN: Mr. President and Mr. Secretary, first let me say how
pleased I will be to be in Stockholm next month as a representative of
the United States to sign this treaty. This is an issue that I have been
questioned about by numerous of our international allies as to where the
United States was on this issue and whether or not we were going to go
forward with it, and I will very pleased to be that representative, because
this treaty offers a new level of environmental and health protection for
the people here in the United States as well as around the world.
By severely restricting and, in some cases, entirely eliminating the
production, use and/or release of 12 chemicals covered, this treaty will
help ensure that American people are protected from the threats that these
chemicals present. As the president mentioned, POP's have been linked to
numerous adverse effects in humans and animals; those include cancer, central
nervous system damage, reproductive disorders and immune system disruptions.
They are, in fact, lethal.
WHITMAN: Here at home, as you know, the United States has already
taken extensive steps and actions over many years to address the pollutants
that are covered by this treaty. Registrations of nine of the pesticides
covered in this treaty have already been canceled. We have banned the manufacture
of PCB's, and we have imposed stringent controls on the release of other
We all can remember the lesson we learned from DDT, how bad it was for
our environment, and yet how widely it was used to prevent disease and
to help crops. A second widely used pesticide, heptachlor, was also a chemical
used with the best intentions and the worst possible outcomes.
Clearly, domestic action alone on these chemicals is not sufficient.
In spite of the steps that we have taken, the American public still finds
itself at risks. These chemicals not only persist in the environment for
years and years and even decades, they also travel far beyond their initial
point of release. And they gain in their toxicity as they accumulate, and
that is something about which we must be very concerned.
Our experience has shown that effective, safe substitutes for these
chemicals do exist. That's knowledge that I look forward--and I know we
all look forward to sharing with countries around the world, ways to continue
their economic growth and their agricultural growth and protect their health,
but using less deadly means.
By addressing on a global scale the threats that the Dirty Dozen pose,
we are helping to meet our goal of leaving America's air cleaner, our water
purer and our land better protected than we found it.
WHITMAN: I want to applaud the president for his vision in putting
the United States squarely on the side of protecting human health and the
environment. I have every confidence that with his leadership the United
States will play a major international role in meeting the sacred obligation
we all have in preserving and protecting the Earth for all its inhabitants
from the threat of pollution.
Thank you all very much.
And now the president will have an opportunity to greet those who negotiated
so long and hard on this treaty in the Oval Office.
© 2001 The Washington Post Company
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