It is with great pleasure that I sign into law H.R. 2927, the ``Omnibus Insular Areas Act of 1992.'' This Act creates a new unit of the National Park System known as the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve.
By signing this bill into law today, we make a significant contribution to the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' voyages to the New World. We also protect an environment that is important to all citizens of the United States.
Located on the island of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, this new park is important for several reasons:
-- It is the only known site where, 500 years ago, members of a Columbus party set foot on what is now territory of the United States.
-- It presents an outstanding opportunity to preserve and interpret Caribbean history and culture, including the impact of European exploration and settlement.
-- It contains a wealth of natural features ranging from wooded hillsides and mangrove forests to tropical reefs and a biologically rich submarine canyon.
-- It is a refuge for migratory birds and a vital nursery for many of the marine animals that inhabit the beautiful waters of St. Croix.
-- It will be planned and managed in full partnership with the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
It is indeed exciting to take this major step toward preserving the natural and cultural heritage of the Virgin Islands, a heritage that has meaning for all Americans. I want to thank all of those who played a part in fashioning this innovative partnership between the Federal Government and the Virgin Islands Government.
My action here today is but one example of my Administration's commitment to protect the environment and America's heritage. This is the sixth time I have signed legislation creating a new unit of the National Park System. In the past 3 years, we have acquired 57,000 acres of environmentally sensitive and historically significant lands for the National Park System.
Finally, I note that H.R. 2927 authorizes new technical assistance for insular areas after major storms. To ensure that hazard mitigation measures truly reduce future loss of life and property, all projects must be cost-effective, cooperative ventures between the Federal Government and the insular areas. The Act will not change this policy, diminish any existing matching share requirements, or change procedures for Presidential disaster declarations.
The White House,
February 24, 1992.
Note: H.R. 2927, approved February 24, was assigned Public Law No. 102 - 247.