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Public Papers - 1990 - May

Exchange With Reporters During a Meeting With Congressional Candidate Bob Williams in Portland, Oregon

1990-05-20

Northern Spotted Owl

Mr. Williams. Our position is that we support strongly what you've been saying about a balanced approach -- --

The President. Yeah.

Mr. Williams. -- -- to what you have to protect the owl.

The President. Yeah, we've just simply got to find a way not to throw any of these people out of work. We have it in this question. We have it in other areas -- the Clean Air Act. And I've just determined to come down on the side of the people, but -- --

Q. Mr. President, what about the owl?

Q. What about the owl, Mr. President?

The President. What kind of owl are you inquiring about?

Q. The owl that they say is endangered.

The President. That's the spotted one.

Q. The cute little ones.

The President. The spotted owl. I'm interested in the owl, very much so, and I'm also interested in jobs and the American family. So, we've got a real serious problem here, but we'll find a balanced approach. That's the one you're talking about, Sandy [Sandy Gilmour, NBC News].

Q. Yes, sir, same owl.

Q. What are you going to do with President Gorbachev? Are you taking him up to Camp David?

The President. Jessica [Jessica Lee, USA Today], this is a bona fide photo opportunity, where I take questions only on the one subject that these guys want to talk about because we're not throwing this open to yet another press conference. Okay?

Q. Mr. President, are you going to change the threatened, endangered species act?

The President. Well, we're trying to find out what is the right thing to do. I'm not sure I know the answer to that yet. Except I do know the answer is we've got to be concerned about the human equation as well as the environmental equation. And I care about the working men and women of this country and what some of these changes mean to their families. So, we're trying to sort this out, and it is not easy, believe me.

Thank you all.

Note: The exchange took place at approximately 6:10 p.m. at the Portland Hilton Hotel. Mr. Williams was a candidate for the U.S. Congress in Washington State. The northern spotted owl inhabited an area of Oregon that was targeted for logging.

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