Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks Upon Signing the Bill To Protect the New River of North Carolina

September 11, 1976

Senator Helms, Governor Holshouser, Members of the House of Representatives/

I'm delighted to welcome all of you here today for a bill signing ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House.

In just a minute, I will sign into law a bill to protect the New River in North Carolina from destruction by including it in the National Wild and Scenic River System.

This new law, as many of you know here, is the culmination of years of effort by a great many people. And I congratulate all of you here and your many friends for your persistence, your courage, and your ultimate success.

Some very serious obstacles had to be overcome for this legislation to be enacted. In a way, I think that's the way it should be. When a decision has to be made between energy production and environmental protection, both sides have legitimate and very worthy points to be made, and such decisions should never be made in haste.

But the most important consideration on this issue or any other issue in a government like ours is, what is the will of the people involved? It should not matter whether the people involved are rich or poor, famous or anonymous, powerful or not. And it is clear that in this key case, the people wanted the New River like it is.

Through the tireless efforts of the North Carolina delegation, past as well as present, through the combined efforts of Governor Holshouser and the many, many people in the State of North Carolina, the people's will has now been done. An ancient and majestic river, and the beautiful land that surrounds it, has been saved for future generations to enjoy just as we have.

With special pride and a great deal of pleasure, I now sign this act into law, and I join you in the hope that the New River will flow free and clear for another 100 million years.

Note: The President spoke at 12:10 p.m. at a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House. In his opening remarks, he referred to Senator Jesse Helms and Gov. James E. Holshouser of North Carolina.

As enacted, the bill (H.R. 13372) is Public Law 94-407 (90 Stat. 1238).

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks Upon Signing the Bill To Protect the New River of North Carolina Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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