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GSA Environmental Awards Celebration

Remarks by
Stephen A. Perry
Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration

GSA Environmental Awards Celebration
Washington, D.C.
April 22, 2003


Good morning, everyone. I'm very pleased to be with all of you today and to have this opportunity to participate in the GSA Environmental Awards Ceremony.

As all of you certainly know, protecting and preserving our environment is a very important responsibility for all of us at GSA. You also know that it is not an easy thing to do. You are here today because you have taken this responsibility seriously.
You have provided the leadership and you have done the hard work necessary to achieve a high level of success—such a high level of success that your work is deserving of the special recognition embodied in the environmental awards to be presented to you today.

It's great to see so many of GSA's senior leaders here today in support of your work.

PBS Commissioner Joe Moravec and FSS Commissioner Donna Bennett; our Deputy Administrator, Thurman Davis, "Buster" Rosser, our acting Deputy Administrator for the Heartland Region, which, by the way is a consistent leader in environmental stewardship. We have Jimmy Bridgeman, Deputy Regional Administrator for the Southeast Sunbelt Region, Marianne Kaiser, Environmental Coordinator for the Great Lakes Region, Paul Lynch, GSA's agency-wide Environmental Executive, and, of course, Debra Yap, Director of the Environmental Strategies and Safety Division, which sponsors this GSA Environmental Awards Ceremony and our Earth Day celebration.

It is especially appropriate to hold this awards ceremony and celebration of your environmental preservation achievements on Earth Day. Earth day has been held each spring since 1970 so that everyone can be reminded of our individual responsibility to take proactive steps to preserve our land, our air, our water our other precious natural resources for future generations.

I certainly want to thank and congratulate all the people we honor here today for their outstanding work on these projects—which Debra Yap will talk more about in a moment.

The work that you are being recognized for today is exactly the kind of thing that is called for in GSA's new GSA Environmental Excellence Statement. This new statement reaffirms GSA's pledge to further the integration of safety and environmental activities throughout all GSA areas. Our policy statement says GSA is committed to:
1. Assume a leadership role in developing programs and procedures that demonstrate outstanding compliance,
2. Strive to prevent pollution and minimize the use of environmentally harmful products,
3. Train and empower our associates to proactively protect the environment and minimize adverse impacts on natural resources,
4. Integrate sustainability in all work processes and projects,
5. Address the safety and environmental concerns of our stakeholders and promote their participation in our environmental management process.

This environmental excellence statement represents quite a strong commitment. Today's award recipients have already enabled us to make great progress toward achieving the goals outlined. However, your continued leadership and your inspiration of other GSA associates and your continued hard work will be necessary to truly realize GSA's full potential.

As we present the awards this morning, I would like to note that the winners have succeeded with the strong backing and encouragement of the management of their respective areas. That certainly includes:
PBS Commissioner Joe Moravec. As you may know, PBS has four properties certified as "green" by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, with close to twenty more "green" buildings in design.

FSS, under the leadership of Commissioner Donna Bennett, has provided the federal government with over 34,000 alternative-fuel vehicles—the biggest fleet in the country. In addition, FSS offers hundreds of environmental products in the "environmental products" catalog.

In FTS, Sandy Bates' team, including April Ramey, Director of the FTS Innovation Center provides technology contracts which offer the flexibility for our federal customers to choose EPA Energy Star information technology solutions to fit their needs. Also, FTS provides customers with vendors that recycle and reuse information technology hardware when its life cycle has ended.

All of us at GSA take this responsibility seriously. In fact, this is very consistent with our agency-wide goals, one of which specifically requires us to "carry out social, environmental, and other responsibilities as a federal agency." Of course it's not enough to have written goals. We must have associates who are keenly aware of the goals and in fact are strongly committed to these goals and willing to work creatively to achieve them. On a day-to-day basis, in almost every decision we make, in almost every action we take, GSA associates must consider the impact on our natural resources and on preventing pollution. We should choose environmentally oriented products and solutions.

In addition to being supported by the GSA management team, your on-going work is supported by President Bush and leaders throughout the Bush Administration:

? Executive order 13101 requires "greening the government through waste prevention, recycling and federal acquisition."
? Executive order 13148 calls on agencies to green the government "through leadership in environmental management."
? And Executive order 13123 says we must green the government "through efficient energy management."

While we are on the subject of the support of the White House, I'm particularly pleased to also announce that we've received word that GSA has just won two White House "Closing the Circle Awards" for its leadership in environmental management. The winners of these prestigious awards are selected by the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive within the President's Council on Environmental Quality. They honor federal employees who have heeded President Bush's call for the federal government to lead by example, to be a good neighbor, and to be a steward of our natural resources. Only 26 projects were selected from more than 200 nominations. The winners represent 11 departments and agencies from across the country.

The GSA projects that won the White House awards come from, first:

The Northeast and Caribbean Region and the Energy Center of Expertise, which submitted a pollution prevention project called: "Environmentally Friendly Wind Power."

The second White House winner—for sustainable design and green buildings—is the Great Lakes Region for the new Youngstown Federal Building in Youngstown, Ohio.

My congratulations to all of the award winners. They will be honored in Washington on June 10. We're extremely proud that GSA will be so well represented. The theme of today's award ceremony is "a call to action." As GSA's top environmental professionals, you have responded to this call to action. All of your associates at GSA are inspired by your accomplishments and proud that, through your efforts, GSA is making great strides toward meeting our environmental goals.

Accordingly, we are pleased to present you with these awards, which represent sincere appreciation for what you have accomplished on behalf of GSA and what you have accomplished for America and its future generations. So again, congratulations and thank you very much for your outstanding work.