October 11, 2000
"This is a truly historic achievement, achieved in a genuine, bipartisan spirit, to create a permanent basis for preserving our natural heritage and advancing our common artistic and cultural values
President Bill Clinton
October 11, 2000
Today, at the White House, President Clinton signed the Interior Department budget bill for Fiscal Year 2001 that provides unprecedented dedicated funding for the conservation of America's land and coastal resources – a total of $12 billion over six years. The bill also provides increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities to increase understanding and access to arts and humanities for all Americans. In addition, the bill increases funding to prevent and fight wildfires, to develop and deploy new energy conservation technologies, and to assist Native American communities. The Administration also fought back several anti-environmental riders that would have traded hard-won environmental safeguards for short-term special interest gains.
PROVIDING CONSERVATION FUNDING FOR AMERICA'S TREASURES. Through a bipartisan effort, the President and Vice President secured $1.2 billion of dedicated conservation funding in the Interior bill, with an additional $400 million to be provided in the Commerce-Justice-State appropriations bill, for a total of $1.6 billion in 2001– more than double the current funding. This effort represents a major step toward the goal of permanent conservation funding. Programs which will benefit include:
- Federal and State Land and Water Conservation Funds;
- State and local programs to protect parks, greenways, wildlife habitat, forests, and wetlands;
- Urban and historic preservation programs;
- Maintenance and repair of federal facilities at national parks, wildlife refuges, and national forests; and
- Coastal programs to benefit endangered Pacific salmon, coral reefs, marine sanctuaries, and estuarine reserves.
DOUBLING FUNDING FOR WILDLAND FIRE SUPPRESSION AND REDUCTION. The legislation signed today provides $2.9 billion, more than double current funding, to:
- Address the economic and environmental impact of this summer's wildland fires;
- Rehabilitate fire-damaged areas;
- Reduce the threat of future wildfires on our forests, grasslands, and private lands; and
- Work with communities to prevent fires in high-risk urban/wildland interface areas.
INCREASING INVESTMENT IN NEW ENERGY CONSERVATION TECHNOLOGIES. The bill invests $817 million, a 10% increase over last year, for cleaner, more efficient technologies that will benefit the environment, our nation's energy security, and consumers' pocketbooks, including:
- Research and development of more efficient cars, trucks, and buildings, and clean non-petroleum fuels; and
- Grants to help low-income households insulate their homes for the coming winter.
PROMOTING THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES IN AMERICA. The Interior bill increases the National Endowment for the Arts' budget by $7 million, for a total of $105 million, the first increase in over 7 years. The bill also increases the National Endowment for the Humanities' budget by $5 million, for a total of $120 million, broadening access to important cultural and humanities programs across the nation.
BOOSTING FUNDING FOR NATIVE AMERICAN PROGRAMS. The bill provides $4.9 billion – a 12% increase – for key components of the Administration's Native American Initiative Program to help fund Indian school construction, law enforcement, and health care.