Vice President Al Gore at the
Project XL Roll-Out
November 3, 1995

VICE PRESIDENT GORE: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. President.

I'd like to acknowledge Carol Browner, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; Kay McGinty, the Chairman of the Council of Environmental Quality; Sherry Goodman, the Under Secretary of Defense for Environmental Security. I'd like to especially welcome and acknowledge two distinguished guests from the Senate and the House, Senator Chuck Robb of Virginia; Representative Bruce Vento of Minnesota. And I'd like to acknowledge some of the community leaders, CEOs, and NGO leaders who are here, Andrew Lietz (phonetic), the CEO of Hadco, and Scott Bernstein, the president of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, are here on stage with us and will be speaking in just a moment.

And in the audience, Gordon Moore, Chairman of the Board of the Intel Corporation; Raymond Gilmartin, President and CEO of Merck; John Michaels, Chairman of the Governing Board, South Coast Air Quality Management District; and representatives from other project XL applicants from 3M, Anheuser Busch, the State of Minnesota and AT&T. I'd like to acknowledge Michael McCloskey, Chairman of the Sierra Club, and Gene Karpinsky (phonetic), Executive Director of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, and other distinguished guests.

Today marks the beginning of a new era for the economy and the environment of America. That may sound like a sweeping statement, but I truly believe that many years from now people will look back on this as the beginning. For decades, the American political system pitted the economy against the environment in a false conflict. America's business leaders were pitted against America's environmentalists. It seemed too often that for one side to get its way, the other side had to lose ground. And you had to decide which side you were on, business or the environment.

Most people didn't like that choice because most people, in their hearts, really are on both sides, and don't see them as being in conflict. But, in some administrations the old culture of conflict gave business the upper hand. In other administrations, the environmentalists were back on top. It was like a seesaw: business up, environment down. Environment up; business down. That's how our country looked at it for too long. That was our model for too long, a seesaw. Of course, the problem is that when both the economy and the environment are top priorities, riding a seesaw may take you up and down but never forward. We needed a new model, a new paradigm. One in which the economy and the environment could both rise together. One in which people are united in cooperation and not divided by confrontation.

In his inaugural address, President Clinton spoke of the need for "bold experimentation." Well, we're here today to launch a series of bold experiments to help us find that new model. Today, the president will announce the first set of projects to enter the Project XL program, and he will welcome DOD's new "Invest" program. But this is just the beginning, not the end, of this process. Because in the months ahead, in communities across America, businesses, environmentalists, government and individual citizens will come together in an open and inclusive process to develop final Project XL agreements. By working together in a spirit of trust, they will make their way toward that sometimes elusive destination that the president calls "common ground." They will discover new ways to reduce the cost of environmental regulation. They will discover new ways to make our air and water even cleaner and to exceed the goals. And they will discover new ways for business, government and communities to move forward together.

Of course, some projects will work better than others. But in all cases, we will learn something that will lead to an improved system of environmental management. For these projects to succeed, all of us must be ready to change, with new roles and new responsibilities. For business, this process will require providing citizens a seat at the table, empowering them with the dollars and data so they can truly participate in a meaningful way. For some environmentalists, it will require setting aside confrontational tactics and working cooperatively with business. For federal employees, it will require working as partners with communities, not just as regulators who mandate procedures from Washington. Project XL, which stands for "Excellence in Leadership," is reinventing government at its best. The partnerships spawned by Project XL and EPA's Common Sense Initiative will allow us to get off that seesaw and work together to reinvent our entire environmental management system for the 21st century.

Now, I'd like for you to hear about the promise of Project XL directly from two of the people who are pioneers in this new way of getting the job done. First, Andy Lietz (phonetic) is the Chief Executive Officer of Hadco in New Hampshire. Andy's company has submitted a Project XL proposal. Second, Scott Bernstein is President of the Center for Neighborhood Technology in Chicago. Scott heads up the Community Board for 3M's project in Chicago. Andy and Scott, thank you for coming today and thank you for your willingness to pursue excellence and demonstrate leadership. Come and tell us about it.
(End of proceedings as recorded.)

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