Message to the Congress Transmitting the Annual Report of the Council on Environmental Quality

June 27, 1983

To the Congress of the United States:

I am pleased to transmit to the Congress the Thirteenth Annual Report of the Council on Environmental Quality.

I hope that those who read this report will recognize the progress that this country continues to make in its long-standing commitment to a clean and healthy environment for all our people.

Americans have long recognized that this nation has been blessed with abundant natural resources and a clean and healthy environment. Beginning with the early pioneers and continuing today, Americans consider clean air and water, fruitful farmlands, beautiful mountains and rivers, and plentiful energy and mineral resources to be treasured parts of their national heritage. As President and as an American citizen, I am deeply concerned that present and future generations be protected from the adverse health effects of toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes, that their water be fit to drink, their air fit to breathe, and that their natural resources be protected. As we strive for economic progress and the promise of a better life, we recognize that a clean and healthy environment is a vital part of that promise.

To ensure our natural resource heritage, the United States has enacted the most far-reaching and comprehensive environmental and natural resource legislation of any nation in history. Our laws protecting air and water quality are used as models by other countries, because they have worked. Air quality in the United States today, especially in our cities, is much better than it was ten years ago. Streams, rivers, and lakes all across the country are becoming cleaner. The United States has passed legislation to control the manufacture, storage, transportation, and disposal of hazardous substances. We recently created a nationwide fund of over a billion and a half dollars to clean up abandoned chemical dump sites. We have enacted a program to evaluate new and existing chemicals. In 1981, private businesses and government spent over 60 billion dollars in order to comply with U.S. environmental laws.

No other nation has set aside as many acres of parks, wilderness and wildlife refuge areas, or as many miles of scenic rivers and natural trails, for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Our national park system has grown to 77 million acres, and almost 7,000 miles of river are included in our national wild and scenic rivers system.

As President, I am committed to continue this record of achievement. As we learn more and more about the causes and alternative solutions to environmental problems, we are learning how to solve them. We are applying the economic and technical lessons we have learned during the past decade in order to continue our environmental improvement into the future.

During the past two years we have worked to manage our natural resources more efficiently. We have increased state government involvement in programs ranging from water allocation to new source permit processing. We have reduced federal subsidies for economic development which contributed to environmental degradation. We have expanded innovative programs which allow industry the regulatory flexibility and economic incentives to clean up pollution. We have increased research to determine the causes and effects of acid rain, which was not a widespread public concern ten years ago.

We can be very proud of our environmental achievements. As we address the pressing environmental issues now confronting us, we will continue to move toward our common national goals: the preservation of scenic beauty, the protection of wilderness areas and parklands, and a future that is both economically prosperous and environmentally safe.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

June 27, 1983.

Note: The report is entitled ``Environmental Quality, 1982 -- 13th Annual Report of the Council on Environmental Quality'' (Government Printing Office, 330 pages).