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April 22, 1998: Preserving America's Natural Treasures

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Today, on our nation's 28th Earth Day, we have come to the Appalachian Trail and to this gorgeous confluence of rivers to celebrate the foresight of early conservationists... We have come here to dedicate ourselves to carrying forth their abiding sense of stewardship into the new millennium. We have come here to promise that our children will inherit an America whose natural bounty is even greater than it is today.

- President Bill Clinton
April 22, 1998

Today, President Clinton issues a strong statement calling for Congress to pass comprehensive, bipartisan tobacco legislation to reduce teen smoking.

Today, in the spirit of this Administration's commitment to service, President Clinton and Vice President Gore celebrate Earth Day by traveling to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, to work with volunteers on revegetation and erosion protection projects on the Appalachian Trail. Their efforts, and those of countless others today across the country, reflect America's deep commitment to saving and restoring our national treasures for all time.

  • Preserving Our National Treasures. As part of the historic balanced budget agreement -- through the Land and Water Conservation Fund -- 100 new sites can be added to the nation's endowment of sacred places. These will include, bringing remaining sections of the Appalachian Trail under public control, saving the ancient redwoods of the Headwaters Forest, and protecting Yellowstone from mining. President Clinton is calling on Congress to release the funds to protect these treasures.
  • Expanding Our Definition Of A "National Treasure." As the nation prepares to commemorate the new millennium by honoring its past and imagining its future, new emphasis should be placed on preserving sites that echo America's history; such as the National Park Service's recent Underground Railroad education initiative to highlight and preserve information and locations connected with the Underground Railroad.
  • Preserving Our National Treasures. Changes in the way the tobacco industry does business, including ending marketing and promotion to kids;
  • Encouraging Stewardship On America's Private Lands. President Clinton is forging a new vision of conservation, building voluntary partnerships with private landowners to preserve natural wonders in every community. Of the 140 million acres protected during the past five years, more than three-quarters are private lands. These innovative collaborations are providing habitat for fish and wildlife, cleaning our water, and protecting our soil -- while ensuring that people can continue to make a living off their land.
  • Saving And Restoring Our Parks And Forests. A new agenda for America's 155 national forests emphasizes recreation, wildlife and water quality, while reforming logging practices to assure steady supplies of timber and jobs. The President's five-year budget proposes a 43% increase for land acquisitions and would provide a nearly $1 billion increase for priority maintenance and construction at national parks and other public lands.
  • Leading The Fight Against Global Warming. U.S. leadership was instrumental in achieving international agreement in Kyoto, Japan, on strong, realistic targets for greenhouse gas reductions and flexible market-based mechanisms for achieving them. To promote cost-effective steps to reduce U.S. emissions, the President is proposing a five-year $6.3 billion package of tax incentives and research and development to spur energy efficiency and clean energy technologies. Measures include tax breaks for highly energy-efficient cars and homes, solar rooftop panels, and energy-saving heating and cooling systems.
  • A Clean, Safe America. One in four Americans, including 10 million children, live within four miles of a Superfund hazardous waste site. The Clinton Administration has greatly accelerated cleanups, completing more than twice as many in the past five years as were completed in the previous twelve. The President has also launched a major clean water initiative to set strong goals, and provide states, communities and landowners with the tools and resources needed to protect our beaches, fish and drinking water.

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