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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 22, 1999


The President will veto the Interior budget bill passed yesterday by the House and Senate unless Congress addresses key concerns. The bill contains inadequate funding for critical priorities -- including the Administration's Lands Legacy, climate change, and clean water initiatives, as well as Native American assistance -- and it contains numerous objectionable riders.

Last week, the President reminded Congress that he has previously vetoed bills because they contained anti-environmental riders and that, if necessary, he would do so again. Nevertheless, Congress has chosen to send the President a bill loaded with special-interest riders. These riders would, among other things, allow overlogging of our national forests, grant major oil companies a windfall on oil drilled on public lands, permit environmentally damaging mining activities, and deprive communities of assistance for voluntary river restoration efforts. We cannot allow special interests to profit at the expense of our environment.

The President again calls on Congress to pass a clean bill that protects the lands we hold in trust for the American people and for future generations. The Administration is committed to working with Congress to this end.