[AllPolitics - State Of The Union]

FDCH

CLINTON: In the last four years, we cleaned up 250 toxic waste sites, as many as in the previous 12. Now we should clean up 500 more of them so that our children grow up next to parks, not poison. I urge you to pass my proposal to make big polluters live by a simple rule -- if you pollute our environment, you should pay to clean it up.

(APPLAUSE)

In the last four years, we strengthened our nation's safe food and clean drinking water laws. We protected some of America's rarest, most beautiful land in Utah's Red Rocks region, created three new national parks in the California desert and began to restore the Florida Everglades. Now we must be as vigilant with our rivers as we are with our land.

Tonight, I announce that this year I will designate 10 American Heritage Rivers to help communities alongside them revitalize their waterfronts and clean up pollution in the rivers, proving once again that we can grow the economy as we protect the environment.

(APPLAUSE)

We must also protect our global environment, working to ban the worst toxic chemicals and to reduce the greenhouse gasses that challenge our health even as they change our climate.

Now, we all know that in all of our communities, some of our children simply do not have what they need to grow and learn in their homes or schools or neighborhoods. And that means the rest of us must do more -- for they are our children, too. That is why President Bush, General Colin Powell, former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros will join the vice president and me to lead the President's Summit of Service in Philadelphia in April.

Our national service program, AmeriCorps, has already helped 70,000 young people to work their way through college as they serve America. Now we intend to mobilize millions of Americans to serve in thousands of ways. Citizen service is an American responsibility which all Americans should embrace. And I ask your support for that endeavor.

(APPLAUSE)

I'd like to make just one last point about our national community. Our economy is measured in numbers and statistics and it is very important. But the enduring worth of our nation lies in our shared values and our soaring spirit. So instead of cutting back on our modest efforts to support the arts and humanities, I believe we should stand by them and challenge our artists, musicians, and writers...

(APPLAUSE)

... challenge our museums, libraries and theaters...

(APPLAUSE)

Good. We should challenge all Americans in the arts and humanities to join with their fellow citizens to make the year 2000 a national celebration of the American spirit in every community, a celebration of our common culture in the century that has passed and in the new one to come in the new millennium so that we can remain the world's beacon not only of liberty but of creativity long after the fireworks have faded.

CLINTON: To prepare America for the 21st Century, we must master the forces of change in the world and keep American leadership strong and sure for an uncharted time.

Fifty years ago, a farsighted America led in creating the institutions that secured victory in the Cold War and built a growing world economy. As a result, today more people than ever embrace our ideals and share our interests.

Already, we have dismantled many of the blocs and barriers that divided our parents' world. For the first time, more people live under democracy than dictatorship, including every nation in our own hemisphere but one -- and its day, too, will come.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, we stand at another moment of change and choice and another time to be farsighted -- to bring America 50 more years of security and prosperity.

In this endeavor, our first task is to help to build, for the very first time, an undivided, democratic Europe. When Europe is stable, prosperous and at peace, America is more secure.

To that end, we must expand NATO by 1999 so that countries that were once our adversaries can become our allies. At the special NATO summit this summer, that is what we will begin to do.

We must strengthen NATO'S Partnership for Peace with non-member allies. And we must build a stable partnership between NATO and a democratic Russia.

(APPLAUSE)

An expanded NATO is good for America. And a Europe in which all democracies define their future not in terms of what they can do to each other, but in terms of what they can do together for the good of all -- that kind of Europe is good for America.

Second, America must look to the East no less than the West. Our security demands it. Americans have fought three wars in Asia in this century. Our prosperity requires it. More than two million American jobs depend upon trade with Asia.

There, too, we are helping to shape an Asia-Pacific community of cooperation, not conflict. But let our progress there not mask the peril that remains.

Together with South Korea, we must advance peace talks with North Korea and bridge the Cold War's last divide. And I call on Congress to fund our share of the agreement under which North Korea must continue to freeze and then dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

Copyright © 1997 Federal Document Clearing House

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