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Statement on Signing the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2001

October 11, 2000

Today I have signed into law H.R. 4578, the "Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2001." I want to commend the Congress for agreeing on an acceptable version of this bill that provides critical funding for many priority needs—our national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands; State and local grants for land conservation and preservation; Native American programs; cleaner water; energy security; and the Arts. I am pleased that, unlike earlier versions of the bill, the final bill excludes a large number of highly objectionable provisions that would change our environmental protection and natural resource conservation laws without adequate public and congressional scrutiny.

In particular, I am very pleased that this Congress has agreed to establish a new budget category to provide dedicated and protected funding for the conservation and preservation programs in my Lands Legacy Initiative and other related activities. This agreement will nearly double our investment next year in these programs and move us toward providing communities with the resources they need to protect their most precious lands. By establishing this new budget category and fencing off more than $10 billion over the next 5 years, we are fulfilling our commitment to make the single largest annual investment in protecting our green and open spaces since Theodore Roosevelt set our Nation on the path of conservation nearly a century ago.

The bill provides a significant increase in funding for key components of my Native American Initiative program, including most of the requested investments in Indian school construction and law enforcement. It also provides the largest funding increase for the Indian Health Service in its history. The bill also helps to protect the environment by increasing funds for the Clean Water Action Plan and promotes the Arts by providing the first funding increase for the National Endowment for the Arts in 9 years. In addition, the increase provided for the National Endowment for the Humanities will enable the NEH to continue to implement its Rediscovering America through the Humanities initiative.

The bill provides strong support for a number of other national priorities. It expands funding for weatherization of low-income homes, which will help low-income households prepare for the coming winter season. It includes funding for research into energy efficiency to reduce our dependence on oil and address climate change, through initiatives like the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, which will aid in the development of a new generation of ultraefficient cars. In addition, the bill provides funding for a Regional Home Heating Reserve for the Northeast.I note that there is also a provision in Title VIII of the bill that violates INS v. Chadha because it purports to condition the availability of certain appropriated funds on the provision by congressional committees of a list of specific acquisitions to be undertaken with such funds. As a result, I will treat that provision as being advisory only, and not as legally binding.

In addition, all of the funds in Title V of the bill have been designated by the Congress as emergency requirements. I hereby designate those amounts in Title V, totaling $87,515,000, as emergency requirements pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended. The Congress has provided other important emergency funds in the bill to assist States that have been ravaged by wildfires in the West. My Administration is reviewing the current situation, and these firefighting funds will be released as needs dictate.

In conclusion, by dedicating future funds for conservation and related programs, investing in Indian schools, assisting energy conservation, and supporting the Arts, this bill represents a major step forward. The American people both expect and deserve nothing less.


NOTE: H.R. 4578, approved October 11, was assigned Public Law No. 106-291. An original was not available for verification of the content of this statement.

William J. Clinton, Statement on Signing the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2001 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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