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THE WHITE HOUSE

                     Office of the Press Secretary
                       (Bakersfield, California)
________________________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release                                     April 15, 2000
                        REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                 AT ROPELINE FOLLOWING EARTH DAY EVENT

                          Trail of 100 Giants
                        Sequoia National Forest

Q Mr. President, -- inflation is becoming a problem again that's going to screw up the stock market as it did yesterday?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you know, I try never to talk about the movements of the market, but let me just say, I think the fact that oil prices have come down will make a substantial difference; and whenever we have a strong economic boom, it puts some strain on the housing markets, but we have open markets, so new products will come in and tend to drive inflation down there.

The projected inflation rate for the year is still quite modest. And the projected growth rate for the year is still quite strong. So I think if we stay with our economic policy and the American people productivity continues to increase, as it's going to, then I still think we'll have a very good year. If you look at all the elements of inflation -- the fact that oil prices are coming down and that open markets will inevitably lead to a dampening of the prices of the component parts and the housing industry -- and that's why the experts say that over the year we'll have very modest inflation. And I think, you know, everybody that invests their money will tend to look at what it's likely to be like over a year.

So all I can do is try to keep the economy strong, and that's what I'll do. And I think the investment climate and markets will take care of themselves -- they'll go up, they'll go down, but I think the long-term trends are quite positive.

Q -- who say the visit here is politically motivated and say you're trying to build an environmental legacy for yourself and the Vice President?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I think that when you can't win an argument, sometimes you just attack the person on the other side. (Laughter.) The only issue here is whether we're doing the right thing. I have been doing this kind of thing for seven and a half years now. I've been working on these issues. What I'm trying to do is to build a legacy for these children. And I think we did the right thing.

And Secretary Glickman worked very hard to preserve all the functions in this area that are going on, except the logging. And I believe there will be a net gain economically here, because we are protecting these trees for life, forever. That's what I believe and I just think it's the right thing to do. I've always believed this. I did this sort of thing when I was governor. It's not something that I woke up last year and decided it would be a nice thing to do. I believe that.

And I think -- we don't have to criticize each other's motives, they can disagree with my decision, but I think I did the right thing and I think the future will prove us out right.


Q Mr. President, what did you tell Janet Reno about the Gonzalez case?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we just had a conversation about where it is. We reviewed where the legal case was and what her plans were. I just told her that I strongly supported her efforts and that we clearly had to uphold the rule of law.

Q Do you want to see this brought to a swift end?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we have to let the court cases be decided. But I think the main thing is -- I hope that all the people there who say they came to the United States because we have freedom and the rule of law will observe the rule of law. When this thing finally plays out, in the end, the law has to be obeyed. And that's basically what we talked about.

We talked a little about the details and -- she was the prosecutor there for 12 years, so she knows it very well and she's down there working hard on it and I think she'll handle it in as sensitive, but firm a way as possible. That's basically what we talked about -- just what's likely to happen over the next couple of days.

But the main thing -- my message is simple; she has to deal with the day-to-day details. But the thing that we've got to do is to make sure that our laws are upheld and enforced. And in the end, I'm quite confident they will be.

END