Remarks at Environmental Event in West Chop, Martha's Vineyard (8/5/00)
                                THE WHITE HOUSE

                         Office of the Press Secretary
                       (Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts)
      ______________________________________________________________
                  For Immediate Release    August 7, 2000


                            REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                    AT ENVIRONMENTAL EVENT AND BILL SIGNING

                            U.S. Coast Guard Station
                                                      West Chop Lighthouse

                     Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts


11:41 A.M. EDT


     THE PRESIDENT:  Save the bill.  (Laughter.)  Another triumph for the
Secret Service.  Give him a hand.  That was great.  (Applause.)  Thanks.

     Let me welcome all of you here and thank you for joining me today.  I
want to begin by just thanking the people of Martha's Vineyard for once
again making all of my family, Hillary and Chelsea and I, feel so much at
home.  We love coming back to this place year after year.  And in the years
that I have served as President, it's meant more to us than I can possibly
say, to be able to come here for refuge, to enjoy this beautiful, beautiful
place and to have the contacts we've had with our old friends and meet a
lot of new people, as well.  So I want to thank you for that.

     This year, because of the year it is and the activities of my wife and
the things that I have to do, our vacation is a lot shorter than it
normally is.  But I think it's a wonderful thing that we can do this today
here on our last day.  I want to thank the Coast Guard personnel for making
this beautiful site available to us, in the shadow of this great old
lighthouse.

     I'd also like to mention a couple of people who can't be with us today
that I want to pay homage to.  The first and foremost is Senator Fritz
Hollings of South Carolina.  He sponsored the legislation that I am signing
today, and he has been a champion of our oceans for his entire career.  And
Hillary and I want to thank him.  Hillary and I and the Vice President and
Tipper Gore were all part of our Oceans Conference in Monterey two years
ago, and it was a very moving event which led to the passage of this bill
today.

     I also want to acknowledge the contributions of a sometime resident of
Martha's Vineyard, my friend, Ted Danson, who has also been a great
champion of the oceans and who was a part of our Oceans Conference -- and,
Mary, thank you for coming today.  This is a good day for him as well.

     The secrets of the sea have forever captured the human imagination.
We are drawn to the stories of exploration, navigation, and here in
Martha's Vineyard, we're drawn to the tale of that not-so-little fish with
the considerable appetite who was filmed here 25 years ago.  (Laughter.)
After a quarter-century, though, I think it's safe for us all to go back in
the water -- and Steven Spielberg said so.

     I think it's important today to remember that oceans are more than a
place for recreation.  They have a central effect on the weather and our
climate system.  Coral reefs and coastal waters are a storehouse of
biodiversity.  They offer new hope for medicine and science.  Oceans are
also essential to our economy.  Through tourism, fishing and other
industries, ocean resources support one out of every six jobs in the entire
United States.

     For more than seven and a half years, Vice President Gore and I have
worked to safeguard our oceans and our beaches.  We've quadrupled funds for
national marine sanctuaries, restricted offshore drilling, rebuilt
threatened fisheries, protected coral reefs and strengthened water quality
standards along our coast to protect against pollution.

     This year, I sent the Congress a Lands Legacy budget that proposes
record funding for ocean and coastal protection, and I hope Congress will
pass it before they go home.  But we must do more, and we must keep looking
ahead.

     Two years ago, on the Monterey Peninsula in Northern California, we
brought together scientists, conservationists and business leaders for the
first-ever Oceans Conference.  I called on Congress to create an oceans
commission to continue the important work we began there.  Thanks to
Senator Hollings, we're following through on that commitment in this bill
that I will soon sign, the Oceans Act of 2000 -- legislation to help chart
a 21st century strategy for the protection and sustainable use of our
oceans and coasts.

     The legislation establishes a national commission to improve our
stewardship of the sea.  Above all, this bill is about setting a vision to
ensure that our beaches are clean, our oceans are protected, our coastal
economies remain strong.

     We know that when we protect our oceans, we're protecting our future.
It is now time to do that.  It's been more than 30 years since the last
oceans commission, the Stratton Commission, laid the foundation for federal
oceans policy, which led to the creation of the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration.  But the pressures on our oceans and coasts
continue to mount.  Americans continue to be drawn to the oceans.  More
than half our citizens live in a coastal area.  Nearly half of all new
development occurs along the coast.  But we know better than ever that
oceans have limits.  They can be over-fished, over-polluted.  Poisonous
runoff from the Mississippi River alone has created a dead zone in the Gulf
of Mexico that is almost as large now as the entire state of Massachusetts.

     These are some of the challenges to be addressed by the new
commission.  But they will also look for new opportunities in our oceans,
exploring ways we can all benefit from new technologies and discoveries.
For example, in recent years, we've learned that blood from the horseshoe
crab provides a vital antibacterial agent.  And a potential anti-cancer
drug may come from a deep-sea sponge.  This is just the beginning.

     There's no better place to sign this legislation than here, because of
the longstanding length to the sea the people of Massachusetts have.  The
maritime tradition stretches back over 300 years.  Marine research was
pioneered in nearby Woods Hole starting in the 1870s.  Now, we build on
that proud tradition as we launch a 21st century course for our oceans
policy.

     President Kennedy once said, "We are tied to the ocean.  And when we
go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it, we're going back
from whence we came."  By going back from whence we came, we prepare a
better future for our children.  This is a good day for that, and I'm glad
it's happening here.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

                                                                     END
                 11:51 A.M. EDT


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