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STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT: Safe, Clean Drinking Water

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                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
January 17, 2001

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     When we turn on our taps, Americans expect the water that comes out to
be clean and safe.  Access to clean, safe water is fundamental to our
quality of life.  That is why my Administration has made providing clean,
safe tap water to all communities a top priority.  As a result, since 1993,
the number of Americans receiving tap water that meets tough federal health
standards has increased by 23 million.

     Today, I am pleased that this Administration is taking further action
to improve the quality of our drinking water by strengthening the drinking
water standard for arsenic.  This new drinking water standard will provide
additional public health protections for 13 million Americans, including
protections from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other health problems.

     My Administration has worked hard to ensure that Americans enjoy the
safest drinking water in the world.  I proposed and, in 1996, signed
amendments to significantly strengthen the Safe Drinking Water Act.  In
implementing this new law, my Administration has already provided added
protections for consumers from dangerous, disease-causing microbes such as
Cryptosporidium, preventing as many as 460,000 cases of illness a year.  We
have ensured that Americans have the information they need to make
important public health decisions for themselves and their families by
requiring that 55,000 water systems provide new, annual reports to their
customers on the quality of their drinking water.  And, recognizing that
good water quality comes at a cost, we have established the first-ever fund
for drinking water system improvements, providing states with $3.6 billion
to date in low-interest loans for treatment system construction and

     Together with the new action we are taking today, these steps will
ensure that our families continue to enjoy, safe clean drinking water.


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