The Environmental Protection Agency headquarters was given a new name Wednesday -- the William Jefferson Clinton Federal Building, and Clinton said the honor could have also gone to his vice president, Al Gore, while touting the environmental achievements of his administration.
"I think it more than fits -- not for me, but for what we did. For what our administration did," Clinton said. "When I left office, there were 43 million more Americans breathing air that met federal standards, which means less asthma among young people and fewer senior citizens dying because of air pollution."
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Clinton named some of the achievements of his administration's environmental agenda including cleaning up 600 Superfund toxic waste sites, creating 19 national monuments, and enforcing tough air quality regulations under the Clean Air Act, Politico reports
Clinton explained that a healthy environment does not have to come at the expense of a weak economy.
"You can protect our precious natural resources, and you promote the public health, and you can fight climate change," and still create jobs and build a strong economy, he said. "In fact, from now on, that's going to be the only way to have a sustainable economy."
Remarks were also given by Clinton's former EPA chief, Carol Browner, who served for the entire eight years of his presidency. Browner said that Clinton demonstrated that presidential power combined with current environmental laws "are good and can be used to do good -- to protect our communities and the health of our children."
"This is a legacy that should not be overlooked," Browner added. "Leveraging executive authority in the '90s paved the way for the actions we need to take today."
While Clinton accepted the honor, he said that it easily could have also gone to environmental advocates such as Browner, former Council of Environmental Quality head Kathleen McGinty, former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, "and it certainly could be named for Al Gore."
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