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October 3, 2000


(Sponsors: Gorton (R), Washington; Regula (R), Ohio)

The purpose of this statement is to provide the Administration's views on the conference version of H.R. 4578, the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, FY 2001.

The Administration is pleased that the House and Senate conferees provided critical funding in the Interior appropriations bill for cleaner water, energy security, Native Americans, and the Arts, and agreed to drop objectionable riders that threatened serious harm to our environment. The bill also provides support for a number of other major Administration priorities. The bill expands funding for weatherization of low-income homes and research into energy efficiency saving consumers money and reducing our dependence on oil, and finances a Regional Home Heating Reserve for the Northeast. It also provides a significant increase in funding for much needed assistance to Native Americans on issues such as school construction, law enforcement, and health care. In addition, the bill increases protection for the environment through funding for the Clean Water Action Plan, and provides the first funding increase for the National Endowment for the Arts since FY 1996.

While the bill does not completely fulfill all of the Administration's objectives, we applaud the effort that Congress has made to address the bill's shortcomings and urge the House to pass this legislation.

By doubling our investment next year in land and water conservation, and guaranteeing even more funding in the years ahead, this agreement is a major step toward ensuring communities the resources they need to protect their most precious lands -- from neighborhood parks to threatened farmland to pristine coastal areas.