WASHINGTON — President Bush signed several environmental bills Friday to protect "some of the most precious expanses of America," including parts of Nevada's Mojave Desert, the Great Lakes and the Florida Keys.
A day after signing historic clean air legislation, Bush held a second White House ceremony to sign the more modest pieces of legislation, some to protect regional natural resources and others to promote research and education.
"Several bills that I'm signing this morning will protect some of the most precious expanses of America," Bush said.
Among the bills signed were:
--The Antarctic Protection Act of 1990, which protects Antarctica from unrestrained commercial activity, placing an indefinite ban on U.S. mining activities there.
--The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Protection Act, which designates 2,600 square nautical miles of coastal waters off the Florida Keys as the ninth U.S. national marine sanctuary.
--The Omnibus Natural Resources and Wildlife Program, which, among other things, establishes two new national wildlife refuges--the 18,000-acre Bayou Cocodrie in Louisiana and the 7,500-acre Walkill River refuge in New Jersey.
--The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Establishment Act of 1990, which designates 83,100 acres in southern Nevada's Mojave Desert as a conservation area.
--The Great Lakes Critical Programs Act of 1990, which will provide planning and cleanup activities to clear the Great Lakes in cooperation with Canada.
--The National Environmental Education Act, which is designed to enhance learning opportunities for students on the environment.
--The Global Change Research Act of 1990, which the Administration hopes will "help the nation reduce the significant scientific uncertainty" associated with addressing the problem.