PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE
PRESIDENT GORE: LASTING PROTECTION FOR OUR NATURAL TREASURES
April 22, 1999
Today, in remarks at Shenandoah
National Park commemorating Earth Day, Vice President Gore called on Congress
to approve the Presidents Lands Legacy initiative and provide permanent funding
to protect Americas land and coastal resources. Lands Legacy, proposed as part
of the Presidents FY 2000 budget, includes $1 billion to protect natural
treasures and help communities preserve local green spaces -- the largest
one-year investment ever proposed for the protection of Americas land and
coastal resources. To sustain these efforts through the coming century, the
President and Vice President also are calling for guaranteed funding of at
least $1 billion a year.
Preserving Americas Lands Legacy. Over the past six years,
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have worked to restore the Florida
Everglades, protect Yellowstone from mining, preserve Utahs spectacular
red-rock canyons, and save the ancient redwoods of Californias Headwaters
Forest. Lands Legacy expands these efforts with $442 million for federal land
acquisitions. Priorities include:
Mojave Desert - Acquiring 450,000 acres within and around Mojave
and Joshua Tree National Parks.
New England Forests - Acquiring additional
land within national forests and wildlife refuges in Maine, Vermont, New
Hampshire and New York.
Everglades - Acquiring lands critical to ongoing
federal-state restoration efforts.
Lewis and Clark Trail - Protecting the
explorers historic route along the Missouri River.
Civil War Battlefields -
Acquiring lands within Gettysburg, Antietam and other battlegrounds.
A Conservation Vision for the 21st Century. Beyond saving
Americas "crown jewels," we must work to preserve natural wonders in our very
backyards. Protecting local green spaces helps improve air and water quality,
sustain wildlife, provide families with places to play and relax, and make our
communities more livable. Lands Legacy provides $588 million to state and local
Land Acquisition Grants - $150 million in matching grants for
land or easements for urban parks, greenways, outdoor recreation, wetlands, and
Planning Grants and Loans - $50 million in matching grants
for open space planning, and $10 million to support $50 million in low-interest
loans to rural areas for "smart growth" planning and development.
Protection - $50 million for easements on threatened farmland and open
Urban Parks and Forests - $40 million to maintain and expand urban
and community forests, and $4 million to renovate parks in distressed urban
Forest and Wildlife Protection - $50 million for easements to
protect critical forest habitat, and $80 million for habitat conservation plans
to protect endangered species.
Guaranteed Funding for the Future. To sustain these efforts in
the years ahead, the President and Vice President are calling for legislation
to provide a permanent funding stream of at least $1 billion a year, within a
balanced budget, beginning in FY 2001. This legislation should:
Dedicate about half of the funding to state, local, and tribal
efforts to protect or restore open space, greenways, urban parks, wildlife
habitat, coastal wetlands, farms and forests. Allow communities to use a range
of tools, including easements and other flexible mechanisms, to protect
resources in the manner best suited to local needs. Protect wildlife by funding
efforts to preserve and restore a diversity of habitats. Recognize the unique
environmental needs of coastal states without creating new incentives for
offshore oil leasing.