FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 11, 2000 Contact: Joan Moody 202-208-6416
This afternoon the House of Representatives passed a bill that not only promises to become the major conservation legislation of this Congress, but also may prove over time to be the most important bipartisan achievement of any kind approved by the 106th Congress.
Twenty or forty years from now, the importance of other legislation may have faded, but if a strong Conservation and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 701) is produced by this Congress, it will have left a legacy of parks, green space, wildlife habitat, recreational and historic treasures for future generations.
My congratulations go to those who led this effort in the House, particularly Rep. Don Young, chairman of the Resources Committee and Rep. George Miller, the committee's ranking Democrat. President Clinton, Vice President Gore, and I share the hope that this Congress will seize the moment to provide permanent funding for land protection and we are pleased that CARA complements the Administration's Lands Legacy Initiative begun last year.
Lands Legacy aims to provide lasting benefits for all Americans in their communities as well as in the parks and wildlands we enjoy in common. Our goal is to strengthen national, state, and community efforts to protect wildlife, green spaces, and other natural and historic treasures and to expand efforts at all levels to protect ocean and coastal resources.
Although we are glad to see the House of Representatives moving toward similar goals, the Interior Department will be watching the progress of the legislation closely to make sure that the final product addresses several serious concerns.
First, we believe final legislation must not impose unnecessary restrictions on federal authority to acquire and protect critical lands.
Second, it should ensure that new funding be devoted to environmental purposes.
Third, in order to avoid "train wrecks" under the Endangered Species Act, it should target wildlife funds primarily to non-game species to help prevent them from becoming endangered in the first place.
Finally, it is critical that any new funding stream be fully paid for within the context of a balanced budget, as is the case with the President's Lands Legacy initiative.
Today's action in the House represents a big step toward those goals and we are prepared to work with Congress to make them happen.
This News Release can also be found at
Release #: R00-017