[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book II)]
[October 31, 1998]
[Page 1936]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

[[Page 1936]]

Statement on Signing the Utah Schools and Land Exchange Act of 1998
October 31, 1998

    Today I am very pleased to sign into law H.R. 3830, the ``Utah 
Schools and Land Exchange Act of 1998.''
    This legislation is an occasion for celebration for the people of 
Utah and, indeed, all Americans who care about environmental protection 
and public land management.
    This exchange of land, mineral rights, commercial properties, and 
natural treasures between the United States and the State of Utah is the 
largest such land exchange in the history of the lower 48 States. The 
exchange will help capitalize a long-neglected State school trust by 
putting it on solid footing and allowing it to pay rewards to the 
children of Utah for generations to come. The United States will obtain 
valuable land, thus allowing it to consolidate resources within the 
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the Goshute and Navajo 
Indian Reservations, and national parks and forests in Utah.
    This Act brings to an end 6 decades of controversy surrounding State 
lands within Utah's national parks, forests, monuments, and 
reservations, and ushers in a new era of cooperation and progressive 
land management. We have shown that good faith, hard work, 
bipartisanship, and a commitment to protect both the environment and the 
taxpayer can result in a tremendous victory for all. I especially wish 
to thank Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt and Kathleen McGinty, 
outgoing Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, for their 
contribution to this major achievement.
    The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, a magnificent 
natural wonder and scientific treasure trove, was born 2 years ago. On 
that day, I made a promise to work to ensure that Utah's schoolchildren, 
the beneficiaries of the State trust holdings within the Monument, would 
in fact benefit from, and not be harmed by, the establishment of this 
national showcase.
    I am proud to say we have kept our promise. We have delivered more, 
and in a shorter time, than perhaps anyone believed possible. In these 2 
years, we have worked closely with citizens and elected officials alike 
to make America's newest National Monument a success of which we all can 
be proud.
    This bipartisan legislation shows that we can work together for the 
common good, for our environment, for education, and for our shared 
legacy as stewards of the Nation's natural public land treasures.

                                                      William J. Clinton

The White House,

October 31, 1998.

Note: H.R. 3830, approved October 31, was assigned Public Law No. 105-