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Remarks Following a Meeting With the Citizens' Advisory Committee on Environmental Quality in San Francisco, California

September 05, 1972

Ladies and gentlemen:

I will make a brief statement with regard to the meeting in which we have just participated. Then Secretary Morton and Mr. Rumsfeld will brief the members of the press and answer questions on this project which we have been discussing today.

With regard to the Gateway West project, it is the companion project for the two that we have been working on over the past 2 years--Gateway East and Gateway West. Between the two of them, 25 million people will have the opportunity to visit park areas. This is part of the program of bringing parks to people, of not having parks just for the sake of parks, but having parks for the sake of people, a major objective of the Legacy of Parks program.

It is interesting to note, too, how this idea was conceived. In the 19th century, the man who conceived the idea of Central Park in the heart of New York City, Frederick Law Olmsted, saw San Francisco, and he envisaged the day when San Francisco would have a great park, of course much larger in size and much more spectacular than Central Park, a manmade park in the heart of the city. And now we have the chance to see this come to fruition.

The committee on environmental concerns, chaired by Mr. Rockefeller the one who is not the Governor, Laurance Rockefeller--and a distinguished group of people from all over the country, have recommended that we go forward with the Gateway West project. We have moved along as fast as we possibly can. We have had very strong support from Congressman Mailliard, who has been prodding the Congress to act. Fortunately, his House, the House of Representatives, has begun to act. We are stalled in the Senate at the present time, but hope that Senator Jackson, the chairman of the committee who is very interested in this project, will proceed to push it in the Senate.

We would like to get action before the end of this session. We would like to get action also before the end of this session on a number of other environmental legislation proposals that are before the Congress which are totally bipartisan and which, like this one, would get virtually unanimous votes in the Congress if the leadership of the House and the Senate would simply bring them to the floor and let the Congressmen and Senators express their will.

Since these are totally nonpartisan, since they are ones in which people are generally interested, there is simply no excuse for any further Congressional delay either on Gateway East, Gateway West, or the scores of other programs that have to do with the environment that have been before the Congress for, in some cases, 3 years, in some cases, 2 years.

Another point that I would like to make that I think indicates the interest in this particular matter is that on this committee, the committee on the environment, the citizens' committee, we have a number of distinguished people. We have Mr. Lindbergh, who was the man, as we all remember, who symbolizes man's conquest of the air. We have Mr. Borman, who is the man, we all remember, who symbolizes man's conquest of space, the first man, along with his crew, to circle the Moon. And here these two men, one who is known for the conquest of space and another who is known for the conquest of the air, their primary concern at this time in their lives is the quality of life on earth.

It is the fact that people like this, with this type of background, are so dedicated to dealing with this problem gives us high hopes that we can get the Congress to go along with what we believe is the feeling of the majority of the people in this country to improve our natural environment and to make it possible for people in all walks of life, people living in the great cities who can't get, for example, to the great national parks of the West because of lack of financial ability, but to make it possible for them to enjoy the beauties of nature which are here right next to us, here in this area, and in so many other parts of this country.

I will say finally that I have appreciated the opportunity to stop briefly in San Francisco to see again the beauties of this area, and in looking to the future, as to what can be left as a legacy, I would say there is nothing of which we would be more proud in this Administration than to see Gateway West come into reality so that future generations could enjoy the natural beauties of this magnificent area. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 1:25 p.m. on board the harbor ferry Golden Gate where the meeting with the Committee had been held. He spoke without referring to notes. Following his remarks, the President toured the proposed national recreation area, Gateway West, aboard the Golden Gate.

The White House also released a fact sheet on the President's visit to the San Francisco Bay Area and on the Committee.

Richard Nixon, Remarks Following a Meeting With the Citizens' Advisory Committee on Environmental Quality in San Francisco, California Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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