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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 5, 1999
               President Clinton and Vice President Gore
                       Protecting Pacific Salmon
                            November 5, 1999

Today President Clinton announces a major expansion of a national wildlife refuge to protect prime salmon habitat along the Columbia River. While taking this step, the President criticized Congress for drastically cutting proposed funding to help protect salmon in the Pacific Northwest and to implement an historic Pacific Salmon Treaty between the U.S. and Canada in the Commerce, Justice, State appropriations bill. In addition, he called on Congress to fund his environmental budget priorities, including the historic Lands Legacy initiative, and drop anti-environmental riders that would put our dwindling salmon stocks further at risk and allow oil companies and other special interests to profit at the expense of public lands.

Taking Action to Protect Salmon: The Administration has worked with Senator Patty Murray to preserve the Hanford Reach along the Columbia River, the last free-flowing stretch of river between the Canadian border and the Pacific Ocean. Earlier this year, the Department of Energy (DOE) released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on future management of DOE's Hanford Site. DOE finalized the EIS last month and just this week issued its record of decision on the Site's future land use. Today, the President announces that lands along the river will be added to the National Wildlife Refuge system. Under this announcement:
- Management responsibility of 57,000 acres of sensitive lands will be

transferred from DOE to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to protect wild salmon and preserve the important ecological, recreational, and cultural values of the area. - USFWS will manage the newly transferred land adjacent to the

Columbia River as a part of the existing Saddle Mountain National Wildlife Refuge.

Investing in Salmon Recovery: The President's FY 2000 budget includes new funding priorities to help protect salmon in the Pacific Northwest: - $100 million to support state, local and tribal efforts to recover

coastal salmon runs
- $60 million to implement the historic Pacific Salmon Treaty to

improve scientific cooperation, restore habitat, and enhance salmon stocks in U.S. and Canadian waters. - $25 million increases for Federal efforts to protect this species.

Opposing Congressional Cuts in Salmon Protection. Unfortunately, Congress has drastically cut funding for these two programs and has proposed damaging anti-environmental riders that would hinder salmon protection. The Commerce, Justice, State conference bill currently provides only $50 million for the salmon recovery efforts, and $10 million for Treaty implementation, and an additional $2 million for endangered species protection, only a fraction of the needed funds for salmon stock protection. In addition, Congress has proposed riders that would exempt Alaskan salmon fisheries from the Endangered Species Act and would hamper our ability to manage important salmon stocks under the Pacific Salmon Treaty signed earlier this year.

Blocking Special Interest Giveaways. These salmon protections are not the only environmental safeguards on the congressional chopping block. Other budget bills would underfund the President's historic Lands Legacy initiative and contain provisions that would allow special interests, like oil and mining companies, to profit at the expense of public land. The President today reiterates his opposition to these stealth attacks by Congress and calls on Congress to send him budget bills that adequately fund his environmental budget priorities with no anti-environmental riders.