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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                         (Aboard Air Force One)
For Immediate Release                                  November 13, 2000


Today I am pleased to sign into law S. 1752, the "Coastal Barrier Resources Reauthorization Act of 2000." This Act reauthorizes and amends the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA), which protects lives, property, and key coastal barrier habitat by prohibiting Federal subsidies for development and disaster relief on many of our Nation's coastal barriers.

First enacted in 1982, CBRA established the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS), which includes undeveloped coastal barrier habitats along the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Last year, these coastal barriers were renamed the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System in honor of the late Senator, who authored the original CBRA and this reauthorizing legislation and championed numerous other environmental laws throughout his distinguished career of public service. Today, CBRA protects over 3 million acres of coastal barrier habitat.

Coastal barriers provide a multitude of services that are foundations of a strong economy and healthy environment. For example, coastal barriers often help provide the conditions necessary to support productive and lucrative fisheries. They also provide essential habitat for threatened and endangered species and protect the mainland from coastal storms, bearing the full force of storm surge and hurricane-level winds and shielding the mainland from the severest storm conditions. By limiting Federal subsidies such as flood insurance from units in the System, CBRA discourages development, keeping lives out of harm's way, protecting fish and wildlife habitat, and reducing wasteful expenditures of taxpayer dollars.

This Act contains a number of amendments that will improve the CBRS and implementation of the CBRA. One provision allows the voluntary addition of lands to the System, which could increase the amount of coastal barrier habitat protected by CBRA. The Act also codifies a set of mapping guidelines, which will help the public understand the criteria used to delineate parts of the System. Most significantly, this Act recognizes the value that digital mapping techniques can add to coastal protection and authorizes a digital mapping pilot program that will help integrate the CBRA with Federal, State, and local government planning tools. Ultimately, I believe this technology will better serve the public and protect natural resources.

Naming the System after Senator Chafee was a fitting tribute to a man who worked so hard, and so successfully, to find common ground in the struggle to protect and preserve the environment for future generations. Senator Chafee was very proud of CBRA, often stating his support during hearings of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which he chaired. Given the laudable goals and achievements of CBRA, I am pleased that the Congress has reauthorized and strengthened the law. This Act reaffirms our Nation's commitment to protecting valuable coastal barrier habitat in this new century.


                                   THE WHITE HOUSE,
                                   November 13, 2000.

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