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                       Office of the Press Secretary
                          (Coral Gables, Florida)

For Immediate Release October 3, 2000


I am pleased by the bipartisan agreement approved by the House today providing guaranteed funding to protect critical lands across America. By doubling our conservation investment next year, and guaranteeing even greater funding in the years ahead, this agreement is a major step toward ensuring communities the resources they need to protect their most precious lands - from neighborhood parks to threatened farmland to pristine coastlands.

While we had hoped for even more, the very real gains achieved in the Interior appropriations bill would not have been possible without the many conservation, wildlife, and recreation groups, and citizens around the country, who worked so hard to secure dedicated conservation funding. I commend the many members of Congress who came together in a true bipartisan spirit to make this a national priority.

I also am pleased that the bill provides critical funding for cleaner water, energy security, Native Americans and the arts, and that objectionable riders that threatened serious harm to our environment have been fixed or dropped.

A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt put America on the path of land stewardship. With this agreement, we enter a new century better prepared to honor and fulfill this vital conservation vision.