PRESIDENT CLINTON:

PROTECTING AMERICA'S NATURAL AND HISTORIC TREASURES

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:

Expansion of Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida -- America's first refuge, established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 - to protect habitat of the endangered wood stork, endangered manatee, and juvenile sea turtles ($4.6 million).

Steps toward acquisition of the Atlanta birth home and burial place of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and neighboring properties within the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site ($3.5 million).

Expansion of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on Hawaii's Big Island, including habitat for nine endangered bird and plant species ($1.6 million).

Additions to two Civil War battlefields - Stones River in Tennessee, and Fredericksburg-Spotsylvania in Virginia ($3.8 million).

Land surrounding Lake Logan and adjoining the Shining Rock Wilderness in Pisgah National Forest, at the foot of North Carolina's Cold Mountain ($1.25 million).

Additional acreage within the Mountains-to-Sound Greenway linking the Cascade Range to Puget Sound in Washington state ($3.7 million).

Click here for the full list of 18 sites recommended by the President.

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:

Designation of a new 1 million-acre Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument on federal land on the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

Designation of a new 71,100-acre Agua Fria National Monument on federal lands north of Phoenix that contain hundreds of prehistoric sites with petroglyphs (stone inscriptions) and ancient ruins.

Designation of a new California Coastal National Monument encompassing thousands of federally owned islands, rocks, and reefs off the California Coast.

An 8,000-acre expansion of Pinnacles National Monument 65 miles south of San Jose to preserve the monument's unique geologic resources.

Click here for further information on these recommended parcels.

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