Today I am pleased to be signing into law H.R. 1727, the "Everglades National Park Protection and Expansion Act of 1989." This important legislation will allow the Federal Government, in cooperation with the State of Florida, to acquire over 100,000 acres of valuable resource lands and restore those lands to their once-natural wetlands state.
Twelve months ago, in January 1989, I promised my support to this critically important effort. Even in times of serious fiscal constraints, we can still meet our highest environmental priorities, and this is one of mine. I am very gratified to be signing this legislation just 1 short year later.
The expansion of the Everglades National Park has required the dedication of many individuals and organizations who are committed to preserving the unusual and varied plants and animals in the Everglades, including 13 endangered species. The woodstork, heron, ibis, egret, and roseate spoonbill have all declined dramatically over the years. The Florida panther, the alligator, and many species of fish are declining. The Northeast Shark River Slough, the river of grass through southern Florida, has been both too shallow and too deep; through this legislation that river of grass may now be restored to its natural flow of water.
The United States Congress first enacted legislation to enable the purchase of land to create Everglades National Park on December 6, 1944. On December 6, 1947, my distinguished predecessor, President Harry S. Truman, presided at the dedication ceremony for the park in Everglades City, Florida. He was joined at the ceremony by Senators, including the late Claude Pepper; the Governor; the Secretary of the Interior; the Director of the National Park Services; and other prominent individuals who had devoted their time and energy to the preservation of this wonder.
Once again, we are grateful to those individuals and organizations that have worked so diligently to assure protection for this special place. The Congress, especially the Senators and Representatives from Florida, have worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Interior, the National Park Service, the State of Florida, Dade County, and local officials to create this legislation. In addition, the Land Acquisition Task Force of the Governor of Florida worked 2 years to complete the planning behind this bill. My deepest gratitude to all of you for what you have done to preserve the beauty of the Everglades for the people of this country and the world.
The White House,
December 13, 1989.