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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 430-96
July 26, 1996

AGREEMENT REACHED ON ENVIRONMENTAL SECURITY PLAN

Acting on President Clinton's belief that a strong international environmental program is crucial to U.S. security, economic and health interest, the Department of Defense , the Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently launched a cooperative effort on environmental security.

Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary and EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner, on July 3, 1996, signed a memorandum of understanding calling for partnerships between these agencies, other governments and industry to jointly address critical environmental concerns. The MOU calls for a focused integration of government authorities, expertise and resources on environmental priorities, and also establishes a framework for cooperation in several areas.

The initial emphasis will be on programs to enhance environmental cooperation between the United States and foreign partners, including the Baltic States, Russia, Eastern Europe, other states of the former Soviet Union and Asia-Pacific nations. Methods of cooperation will include information exchange, research and development, technology demonstration and transfer, regulatory reform, emergency response training and environmental management. The MOU will also enhance overseas commercial opportunities for U.S. industry in response to environmental concerns.

Environmental security cooperation is part of Secretary's Perry's strategy of preventive defense, and is important to U.S. foreign policy because of the link between environmental risks or threats, both regional and global, and political and economic instabilities that can affect U.S. economic and security interests. Cooperative activities under the MOU will address the environmental consequences of both military and civilian Cold War defense activities, enhance other nations' abilities to identify and manage environmental threats, and strengthen ties with developing and democratizing nations. By such action, the U.S. hopes these efforts will not only have a positive affect on the environment, but also promote international peace and security.

A recent directive by Secretary of State Warren Christopher helped push international environmental security to the forefront of the U.S. foreign policy agenda by emphasizing that addressing natural resource issues is critical to achieving political and economic stability and to pursuing our strategic goals around the world.

All three agency heads have strongly supported this new area of concern and cooperation. In announcing the MOU, Secretary Perry, said, There is enormous benefit to having a strong working relationship among DOD, DOE, and EPA. Collaboration among these agencies demonstrates to other governments how the civilian and military sides of government can work together and how our different objectives can be compatibly met.

He added that by sharing what we have learned with other militaries and civilian environmental authorities, we can invest in the kind of defense activities that help to create conditions for a lasting peace. A healthy environment is a seminal part of the picture , as environmental protection supports quality of life and economic growth all over the world.

Secretary O'Leary added: Attracting private investment from both U.S. and foreign partners will be important not only in cleaning up hazards but in establishing a framework for the use of cleaner, more energy efficient technologies in the future.

Clean energy and environmentally friendly technologies are among the keys to ensuring a safer, more secure future. By pooling resources we can make a greater contribution to environmental quality, economic growth and sustainable development, O'Leary said.

This agreement recognizes that protection of public health and the environment have become an important part of our national security, said EPA Administrator Browner. Environmental protection and economic growth go hand in hand, and both are essential to U.S. long-range interests

A copy of the MOU is available from the contacts listed above.