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Tinicum National Environmental Center and Sailors' Snug Harbor Statement on Signing S. 2382 Into Law.

July 26, 1980

I have signed S. 2382, a bill "to provide for additional authorization for appropriations for the Tinicum National Environmental Center."

This bill authorizes additional appropriations of $8.4 million for needed land acquisition and development projects at the Tinicum National Environmental Center near Philadelphia. The administration supports this increased authorization in order to permit completion of land acquisition at the Center and to construct appropriate visitor facilities. I would especially like to thank Congressman Bob Edgar of Pennsylvania for his efforts on behalf of this important wildlife area.

The bill also establishes Federal management of an 80-acre site on Staten Island in New York known as Sailors' Snug Harbor. Upon donation of the property to the United States by the City of New York and conclusion of a cooperative agreement between the Secretary of the Interior and the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Inc., regarding operation and maintenance of the site, the Secretary is directed to manage the area as a National Wildlife Refuge. Within 2 years of enactment, the Secretary must determine whether the area should be permanently managed as a National Wildlife Refuge by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service or transferred to a more appropriate agency of the Interior Department. The bill authorizes appropriations of $1,750,000 through 1983 for operation and maintenance of the area.

In signing this bill, I must note my concerns over this Snug Harbor provision. As a policy, we must select only the highest priority areas for inclusion in our national recreation and conservation systems. Given the large existing backlog of authorized but unacquired Federal parks, refuges, and other recreation areas, it is especially important that we maintain high standards for selection of these areas.

Sailors' Snug Harbor is an area of primarily local interest, whose use by wildlife is insignificant. It is already owned by a public body, the City of New York, which can administer Snug Harbor for recreation or wildlife purposes as it sees fit. I believe it is not the best policy for the Federal Government to assume responsibility for local recreation areas which are now managed by other units of government. This simply increases Federal budget costs and does not add to the recreation opportunities available to our citizens.

Although I have these concerns about Snug Harbor, I have signed S. 2382 because of the overriding importance of the Tinicum National Environmental Center. I am hopeful, though, that in future deliberations of potential wildlife refuges, the Congress will seriously weigh all of the relevant factors before establishing Federal areas that do not meet the test of national interest.

NOTE.: As enacted, S. 2382 is Public Law 96315, approved July 25.

Jimmy Carter, Tinicum National Environmental Center and Sailors' Snug Harbor Statement on Signing S. 2382 Into Law. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/251243

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