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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 7, 1996


I was pleased tonight to accept a report from my Council on Sustainable Development, an advisory group which I established to outline a new direction in environmental policy. In my State of the Union address I said that the era of big government is over, but I also said that we can't go back to a time when citizens were left to fend for themselves. As we move toward a new, smaller government, citizens must work together to tackle the challenges of a new century. We must reach across the lines that divide us to find common ground.

When I first appointed the Council almost three years ago, some of them knew each other only as adversaries. But with this report, they have shown us the power of partnership. They have demonstrated that when business, environmentalists, and government work together in good faith we can pursue simultaneously the goals of economic prosperity, social equity, and environmental quality.

This report will make a major contribution to the challenge I set forth: to enable all our people to make the most of their own lives -- with stronger families, more educational opportunities, economic security, safer streets, a cleaner environment in a safer world. I want to thank all who contributed to making this difficult undertaking such a success.

The work, however, is not finished. This report will not sit on a shelf gathering dust. Instead, I am announcing the following actions:

First, I ask the Council to continue its work in order to begin implementing some of its recommendations. I hope Jonathan Lash and David Buzzelli will continue to serve as co-chairs through December. Second, I have asked the Vice President to lead these efforts within the Administration. Finally, I will ask White House offices and federal agencies to support the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties in establishing a new Joint Center on Sustainable Communities. This new partnership will work to implement the recommendations in this report in communities across the nation.