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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 14, 1999
                           PRESIDENT CLINTON:

                           December 14, 1999

President Clinton will make two announcements today on new and proposed actions to protect critical lands around the country. The Administration will forward to Congress a list of 18 natural and historic sites proposed for protection with $35 million secured through the Administration's Lands Legacy initiative. The President also will announce that he is studying recommendations from Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt for the creation or enlargement of four national monuments on federal lands in Arizona and California.

Preserving America's Lands Legacy. As part of the recent budget agreement, the President secured $652 million in FY 2000 for his Lands Legacy initiative, a 42 percent increase. About a third of the funding will support efforts by states and communities to protect farms, forests, urban parks, and other local green spaces. Much of the rest is committed to federal acquisition of New Mexico's Baca Ranch and other specified lands, from the Everglades to the California desert. The remaining $35 million is available for federal acquisition of other sites. Today, the Administration will propose to the Appropriations committees, for their concurrence, protection of 18 sites, including:

Proposed National Monuments. President Clinton will announce that he has received recommendations from Secretary Babbitt for the creation or expansion of four national monuments on federal lands in Arizona and California. The President, who had requested that the Secretary report to him on unique and fragile places in need of additional protection, plans to study the recommendations and reach a decision on each proposal early next year. The Secretary is recommending: