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Statement About the Construction of Airport Facilities in South Florida

January 15, 1970

THE AGREEMENT governing future airport construction in the south Florida area is an outstanding victory for conservation. Airport facilities already constructed on the site near the Everglades National Park will be used as temporary training facilities only. The training operation itself will proceed under exacting environmental safeguards, and will be shut down as soon as an acceptable alternate site is available.

I congratulate Secretary Volpe, Secretary Hickel, Governor Kirk [of Florida], the Dade County Port Authority, and the private organizations and individual citizens whose hard work and concern for our environment made this agreement possible.

The agreement affirms the need to conserve our natural heritage; it does not deny the need for new airport facilities in Florida. The Federal Government will cooperate in finding ways to create such facilities without new threats to the environment.

We have learned that the development of major facilities, such as a regional jetport, may have widespread environmental and social consequences that cannot wisely be left entirely to local initiative and local decision. I am directing Secretary Volpe to consider the merits of legislation which will insure adequate representation of the national interest in the development of regional airports. This is part of the broad new approach we must take to make certain that our environment is treated with greater wisdom and care.

Note: The agreement reached between the Department of Transportation, the Department of the Interior, the State of Florida, the Dade County Port Authority, and Collier County was signed in Miami on January 16, 1970. On January 15 the White House Press Office released the text of a news briefing on the agreement by Secretary of the Interior Hickel and Secretary of Transportation Volpe. A fact sheet on the jetport is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 6, P. 44).

Richard Nixon, Statement About the Construction of Airport Facilities in South Florida Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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