Bill Clinton photo

Statement on Signing the Utah Schools and Land Exchange Act of 1998

October 31, 1998

Today I am very pleased to sign into law H.R. 3830, the "Utah Schools and Land Exchange Act of 1998."

This legislation is an occasion for celebration for the people of Utah and, indeed, all Americans who care about environmental protection and public land management.

This exchange of land, mineral rights, commercial properties, and natural treasures between the United States and the State of Utah is the largest such land exchange in the history of the lower 48 States. The exchange will help capitalize a long-neglected State school trust by putting it on solid footing and allowing it to pay rewards to the children of Utah for generations to come. The United States will obtain valuable land, thus allowing it to consolidate resources within the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the Goshute and Navajo Indian Reservations, and national parks and forests in Utah.

This Act brings to an end 6 decades of controversy surrounding State lands within Utah's national parks, forests, monuments, and reservations, and ushers in a new era of cooperation and progressive land management. We have shown that good faith, hard work, bipartisanship, and a commitment to protect both the environment and the taxpayer can result in a tremendous victory for all. I especially wish to thank Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt and Kathleen McGinty, outgoing Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, for their contribution to this major achievement.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, a magnificent natural wonder and scientific treasure trove, was born 2 years ago. On that day, I made a promise to work to ensure that Utah's schoolchildren, the beneficiaries of the State trust holdings within the Monument, would in fact benefit from, and not be harmed by, the establishment of this national showcase.

I am proud to say we have kept our promise. We have delivered more, and in a shorter time, than perhaps anyone believed possible. In these 2 years, we have worked closely with citizens and elected officials alike to make America's newest National Monument a success of which we all can be proud.

This bipartisan legislation shows that we can work together for the common good, for our environment, for education, and for our shared legacy as stewards of the Nation's natural public land treasures.


The White House, October 31, 1998.

NOTE: H.R. 3830, approved October 31, was assigned Public Law No. 105-335.

William J. Clinton, Statement on Signing the Utah Schools and Land Exchange Act of 1998 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives