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THE WHITE HOUSE

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

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

Today I am pleased to sign into law S. 1482, the "National Marine Sanctuaries Amendments Act of 2000," which reauthorizes the National Marine Sanctuaries Act for 5 years.

The National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA) authorizes the establishment of a unique system of marine protected areas dedicated to the conservation of special areas of the marine environment for the appreciation and enjoyment of present and future generations. The National Marine Sanctuary Program currently comprises 13 sanctuaries around the country, including sites in American Samoa and Hawaii. In the quarter century since its inception, the NMSA has provided a powerful mandate for marine resource protection, resulting in the permanent conservation of many invaluable habitats. Drawing upon this experience, S. 1482 refines the NMSA in substantive ways to reflect the growth and evolution of the Program.

The National Marine Sanctuary Program is a key part of my Administration's ocean policy. In particular, this long-standing program will be an integral part of the national system of marine protected areas, which I recently directed Federal agencies to establish. In addition, sanctuaries are essential to achieving the goals of the Coral Reef Task Force of protecting important coral areas and will be a focus of the Ocean Exploration initiative, which I recently announced, to better understand the unexplored ocean areas.

This legislation establishes the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program, which will support graduate students in oceanography, marine biology, and maritime archaeology. Much of the success of the National Marine Sanctuary Program is attributable to Dr. Foster's advocacy of the program and her tenure as the head of the program in its early years, and I am pleased that these scholarships will honor such a fine leader in ocean and coastal management. Throughout her career, Dr. Foster demonstrated a commitment to mentoring and supporting women and minorities in the marine sciences. She will be greatly missed.

I congratulate the congressional supporters of this Act. I am pleased by the increased interest in our oceans and coastal resources and the recognition of the value of the continued protection and management of these areas. S. 1482 will be instrumental in helping to ensure our ocean legacy for future generations.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON

                              THE WHITE HOUSE,
                              November 13, 2000.

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