EARTH DAY MARKS 40TH ANNIVERSARY
For 40 years, Americans have joined together annually to celebrate the Earth and dedicate themselves to protecting and renewing the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land that sustains our families.
This year, along with millions of Americans across the country, I'm making a commitment to improve our sustainability and move us closer to a clean energy economy. I am encouraged by the momentum in Congress for clean energy legislation that will create millions of jobs, help end our dependence on foreign oil, and reverse the damage pollution has done to our air and water.
We have witnessed dramatic changes since the first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970. Today, our rivers don't catch fire like Cleveland 's Cuyahoga River did in 1969. Deadly toxic air pollutants don't kill people and leave thousands sickened like the tragic incident in Donora , Pennsylvania . Places like the Love Canal in New York are no longer dumping grounds for toxic waste.
Today, the protection of our air, water and land has become an essential part of American life. We have cleaner air and purer water to share with future generations. We are moving towards a new level of accountability as we work to preserve the beauty and health of our natural resources. We are working steadily to preserve our national treasures and wilderness areas.
But much more needs to be done. Great bodies of water such as the Chesapeake Bay remain stubbornly difficult to restore. The water infrastructure that we built 40 years ago has deteriorated and needs replacement, and our energy policy needs a major overhaul.
We can rise to these challenges. We can become a global leader in forging progressive, innovative solutions to the environmental challenges we face. And, just as our history has shown us, we will emerge a stronger, more vibrant and healthier nation for the effort.
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