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Keynote Address

Keynote Address
Environment Virginia '94
VMI, April 7, 1994
Becky Norton Dunlop

Thank you for the invitation to participate in this important conference and also for your hospitality. I am enthusiastic and excited about your program. I regret that I must leave immediately after my remarks because a public meeting of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Strike Force is scheduled for this evening in Northern Virginia, and I have committed to be there.

I am enthused about the opportunity to serve the people of Virginia.

In my previous positions in life, I had the wonderful opportunity of serving in the role of Chief Operating Officer. In other words, my job was to get the identified job done, to deliver the goods, if you will. I operated behind the scenes, set and met deadlines.

In this current role, I have the challenge and opportunity to bring people together, to identify real problems and real solutions.

Some of you may have heard me say, and all of you will hear me say repeatedly, that it is my conviction that Virginia’s greatest resource is her people. And, of course, Virginians need clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. We need productive shelter for our property and jobs.

As Governor Allen has so often stated, we will strike a balance in our environmental policies. We can be good stewards of our natural resources and be mindful of people, property and jobs.

Evidence from around the world and throughout history demonstrates that Governor Allen is correct when he points out that:

1) A growing and prosperous economy is the best way to ensure a cleaner, improving environment.

2) Economic growth provides people with the wherewithal to conserve and wisely manage our natural resources.

When people are confident in the economy and the stability of their jobs and opportunities, they can and do devote more personal time and resources to being good stewards of our natural resources.

Companies are no different. Growth potential encourages use of more sophisticated, more expensive, or just more time consuming (demanding) techniques to reduce/recycle/reformulate or reject pollution.

Pollution prevention is more likely to be part of a business strategy ifthe strategists believe their company can and will grow, expand and become more profitable.

When we have a growing, healthy economy, we have an improving environment. However, when our economy is saddled with excessive government regulation, the environment suffers.

Now allow me to digress here briefly.

Did I say or imply there is no role for government? NO! I said that excessive government regulation causes problems for the environment. And, today, we are confronted with many excessive regulations.

Did I say – or imply – that no companies or individuals ever “pollute on purpose?” I did not! There are, indeed, bad guys! And regulations should be for the bad guys, not the good guys. Regulations should not impede the opportunity for companies to engage in activities that can improve and enhance the environment, or do things differently than they have ever been done before. They should, however, stop intentional pollution. Those who do intentionally pollute should pay.

But we all know that bad guys exist in every line of work. Haven’t you, for instance, ever received a piece of mail that told you of some impending environmental world-ending crisis, but if you just sent $37.92 you could solve the crisis, maybe? And, perhaps, if you could send $75.00, then the chances the crisis could be solved would dramatically improve.

Governor Allen’s first official act as Governor was to sign an Executive Order creating a citizen “Blue Ribbon Strike Force.” Among the charges to the Strike Force is to examine all existing Virginia regulations that exceed federal standards.

We recognize there could be a reason for having particular state regulations that exceed certain federal standards. The Strike Force will evaluate these instances to ascertain if such state regulations are necessary and effective.

In this same vein, I am looking for regulations that should be reviewed in conjunction with the Strike Force’s work, but which we can undertake right now.

So, today, I’m asking the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to examine three areas where the Commonwealth’s existing or proposed regulations –or regulatory interpretations- are more stringent than federal requirements:

1) Proposed Title V operating permit regulations

2) Existing Virginia air toxic program

3) Our refusal to allow intra-company NOx (nitrogen oxides) emissions trading for purposes of Virginia’s NOx RACT (reasonably available control technology) regulations.

As you know, Governor Allen supported legislation requiring an economic impact analysis before new regulations are implemented in Virginia. This way we can determine how proposed regulations will affect people, property and jobs,and thus not stand in the way of improving the quality and condition of the resources that make up the environment.

Our regulatory structure should empower people to be good stewards of our natural resources. The Allen Administration will intensify efforts to reduce delays and red tape in state permitting processes. We will strive to assure that permits and regulatory processes are prudent, practical and predictable.

Governor Allen has made it clear he plans to fight for Virginia’s rights when Washington infringes upon our legitimate prerogatives to deal with problems that can best be dealt with by Virginians. I intend to work with Governor Allen and the General Assembly to achieve maximum flexibility from unfunded federal mandates in managing our natural resources. My agenda for dealing with the Federal Government is the “The F agenda:”

  • Freedom
  • Unfunded Federal Mandates
  • Federalism
  • Flexibility
  • Fairness

We have a magnificent state. The Bay is just one of the many natural wonders in Virginia. From the Blue Ridge Mountains, down the Shenandoah Valley, from the rolling farms of the Piedmont to Tidewater, from Northern Virginia all the way to Lee County in far Southwest Virginia, all regions of this great Commonwealth of Virginia are blessed with extraordinary natural and historic resources. If we work together, using wise resource management practices, which are specific to each of these variable sites and situations, we can conserve and enhance these resources for present and future generations.

It is important that Virginia’s people act wisely in the stewardship of our resources. An effective pollution prevention program will allow you to reduce waste, enhance worker safety and improve the quality and condition of natural resources in our Commonwealth -all of which will result in a healthy, productive and cleaner environment. I encourage you to incorporate pollution prevention methods in your business strategies. We intend to have a growing economy in Virginia, and you can be certain it will be worth whatever investment you can make.

Of course, Governor Allen and I, and the dedicated professionals in our State agencies, cannot accomplish these goals alone. We seek your counsel and expertise as to how we can best conserve and enhance our natural resources. We may not always agree on every issue, but I have an open-door policy, and I am committed to working with you and others of good will. Please always feel free to call upon me and let me know what’s on your mind.

God bless you, and God bless Virginia.