Conservation CEOs Applaud President Clinton For Protecting Utah Wilderness

(09/18/1996) - At a meeting of the nation's leading environmental organizations today in Washington, D.C., conservation CEOs praised President Clinton's announcement this afternoon that he will create a nearly two-million-acre Canyons of the Escalante National Monument in Utah by executive order. Reactions follow.

American Oceans Campaign - Robert Sulnick, Executive Director: "If future generations are to appreciate the splendor of nature, more national monuments will have to be established. President Clinton is to be congratulated on his foresight."

American Rivers - Rebecca Wodder, President: "The spectacular desert rivers of the Canyons of the Escalante National Monument are rare national treasures. The Paria River, flowing through deep canyons, provides rare habitat for desert fishes and wildlife. Along with the canyons of the Escalante, the new national monument will protect wildlands and the rivers that are the ecological heart of America's redrock wilderness. . . . We applaud President Clinton's use of the Antiquities Act, a conservation tool used to protect resources of great cultural, scientific and scenic value by Presidents since Theodore Roosevelt."

Defenders of Wildlife - Rodger Schlickeisen, President: "With the stroke of a pen, President Clinton has taken the most decisive Presidential action on public lands since protection of Alaskan wildlands two decades ago. His executive order is as bold and as dramatic as the magnificent redrock wilderness and wildlife habitat that he has protected today."

Environmental Defense Fund - Fred Krupp, Executive Director: "There are few places more deserving of protection than the Canyons of the Escalante. This is an important action which will preserve a valuable ecosystem for future generations."

Friends of the Earth - Velma Smith, Vice President: "Millions of Americans from all states have come to know and revere the brilliant-colored canyons and mountains of southern Utah. Friends of the Earth applauds President Clinton for protecting some of these last wild places, and sees the national monument designation as an important first step in preserving for future generations what remains of the state's exquisite red-rock wilderness."

Izaak Walton League of America - Paul Hansen, Executive Director: "This action protects a crown jewel of our nation's natural heritage, while allowing existing uses such as hunting to continue."

National Audubon Society - John Flicker, President: "Declaring these lands in southern Utah a national monument is a vital step in protecting birds and wildlife. The many habitats unique to the Escalante River canyon area represent one of the most biologically diverse areas in America. Audubon applauds the President's courageous action."

National Parks & Conservation Association - Paul Pritchard, President: "President Clinton's action today is a demonstration of true environmental leadership. While this Congress is doing nothing for our parks, the President should be congratulated for seizing the initiative to protect the spectacular Escalante Canyon wilderness. Congress has dithered far too long on legislation to protect our public lands. It's about time someone showed some real leadership."

National Wildlife Federation - Mark Van Putten, President & CEO: "For more than a century Americans have watched their government give away the West to huge mining conglomerates who pay us pennies for the millions they make. By establishing this national monument in Utah, President Clinton is conserving millions of acres of our national heritage for wildlife habitat, for recreational users and for generations to come."

Natural Resources Defense Council - John Adams, Executive Director: "President Clinton deserves tremendous credit for his leadership and vision in preserving this portion of Utah's magnificent and unique redrock wilderness. His action today will protect this very special area from destruction by strip mining and other development so that it can experienced and enjoyed by all Americans for generations to come. He has given an invaluable gift to our children and our children's children."

Physicians for Social Responsibility - Dr. Robert K. Musil, Executive Director/CEO: "President Clinton's creation of a Utah wilderness monument will give him a healthy boost among environmentalists. And these days that's nearly everybody. We'll get healthier ecosystems, healthier people, and a healthy respect for the impact of citizens on the policy process. . . . The Utah wilderness monument should help put aside some cynicism and apathy about government as well as a glorious piece of our natural heritage. The message to politicians of all stripes in this election year is to get on the environmental express or be left howling in the wilderness."

Sierra Club - Carl Pope, Executive Director: "We are delighted that President Clinton has exercised truly visionary leadership and preserved this newest national monument for our families and our future. Historically such designations are intended to protect scenic, historic, archeological, geologic, and other scientific and educational values. All of these and more are present in the area encompassed by the new Canyons of the Escalante National Monument."

The Wilderness Society - Rindy O'Brien, Vice President for Public Policy: "Teddy Roosevelt, the first president to create a national monument, would be beaming with delight if he were here today. President Clinton, he might say, is speaking softly but carrying a very big wilderness stick."

World Wildlife Fund - Randall D. Snodgrass, Director, Congressional Relations: "President Clinton has secured his place in history as a leader who cares about conserving this country's great natural heritage."



Joan Moody, 202-682-9400 x220 (Media)
Julie Waterman, 202-861-2242 x3021