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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 22, 1999


Today -- the last Earth Day of the 20th century -- is an opportunity to celebrate America's achievements in protecting our environment and public health, and to dedicate ourselves to meeting the environmental challenges of the new century ahead.

Working together, we have made tremendous progress since the first Earth Day in cleaning our air and water, protecting our communities and children from toxic threats, and preserving our precious lands. Americans have demonstrated time and again that we can safeguard our environment even as we grow our economy. I am proud of all that Vice President Gore and I have done to advance these efforts over the past six years.

Today, the Vice President announces a national strategy to reduce air pollution and restore pristine skies in our national parks and wilderness areas so future generations can see and enjoy them in all their natural splendor. This is but one effort to leave this a better land for our descendants. I join the Vice President in calling on Congress to approve our Lands Legacy initiative, dedicating permanent funding so that years from now Americans can continue protecting and restoring the deserts, mountains, coastlands and plains that are so much a part of our nation's heritage.

A new century brings new environmental challenges -- perhaps the greatest is global warming. There is no clearer reminder that we are indeed all members of one global community. Only by acting together -- as a nation, and in partnership with other nations -- can we avert this common threat. This is a challenge the Vice President and I are fully committed to meeting.

It is my sincere hope that when Americans gather 100 years from now to celebrate Earth Day, they will remember us as dedicated stewards of our nation's air, water and land, and will instill the same spirit in all those who follow.