I AM signing today S. 2296, the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974.
One of the essential lessons of the recent energy crisis is that if we are to prevent shortages of natural resources in the future, we must plan for the future today. Our resources, however abundant, are not inexhaustible. They must be conserved and replenished.
The Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act provides us the means for planning national programs now which will assure future generations of adequate supplies of forest and related resources.
The great naturalist, John Muir, once said of our Nation's forests: "The forests of America, however slighted by man, must have been a great delight to God; for they were the best He ever planted." This act proves that Americans intend never again to slight our forests.
I would be less than candid if I did not admit that certain provisions of this act disturb me, especially those provisions relating to Presidential discretion in formulating annual budget requests for our national forestry programs. But the benefits of this legislation far outweigh any potential drawbacks, and I am confident that the Congress and the executive branch, working together, can and will manage, develop, and improve our priceless natural legacy of forests and rangelands.