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Public Papers - 1992

Statement on Signing the Arkansas-Idaho Land Exchange Act of 1992

1992-11-02

Today I am pleased to sign into law S. 2572, the ``Arkansas-Idaho Land Exchange Act of 1992.'' My approval of this bill enacts the Administration's proposal to benefit our Nation's wetlands through an equal value exchange of lands in the States of Arkansas and Idaho between the United States and the Potlatch Corporation.

This exchange will add nearly 41,000 acres to the Cache River and White River National Wildlife Refuges. The Refuges, together with nearby State conservation areas, protect nearly 185,000 acres of wetlands, one of only ten areas in the Nation recognized internationally as a ``Wetland of International Importance.'' The United States has only a handful of such large wetland conservation areas and few if any opportunities for establishing new ones.

The lands to be protected as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System contain some of the most productive fish and wildlife habitat in North America. The area provides wintering habitat for a variety of migratory waterfowl and is home for a number of threatened or endangered species, including the bald eagle and the least tern.

In exchange for this environmentally sensitive land, the Potlatch Corporation will receive scattered tracts of Federal land in Idaho. The company will then be able to use the land to create jobs and expand the local tax base, making money available for important local tasks, such as education and economic development. This transfer of land to private ownership is crucial in a State like Idaho where much of the land is federally owned.

Protection of such wetland areas has been a high priority of my Administration, and enactment of this proposal clearly demonstrates our commitment to the environment. This Act enhances not only our environment, but also our economy, underscoring my strong belief that we can and must do both.

George Bush

The White House,

November 2, 1992.

Note: S. 2572, approved November 2, was assigned Public Law No. 102 - 584.

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