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Well, it's not a pleasant experience. And it's a terribly political process, because that thing was initiated by the Congress and by, you know, our adversaries in the Congress.
Well, I think breathing life into the Endangered Species Act, taking those wolves back into Yellowstone, restoring the salmon in the rivers of the Pacific Northwest.
Well, I actually wrote her a letter a couple of days ago congratulating her. The tone I tried to convey in the letter is, look, you are a part of a great American historical process.
We've set aside tens of millions of acres of those northwestern forests for perpetuity. The unemployment rate has gone not up, but down. The economy has gone up.
We have to preserve it and use it sustainably. And the short-term use of resources at the destruction of the long-term heritage of this country is not a policy that we can pursue.
We have an obligation to live in harmony with creation, with our capital... with God's creation. And we need to administer and work that very carefully.
We had kind of a rocky start, but I spent a lot of time working with the President and handing him statistics and showing him what we were doing as we went along and kind of saying to him, you know, this is really important.
This isn't just about today, this about generations to come. And you've got a chance to be the greatest conservation President since Theodore Roosevelt, and I think he's done it.
They haul you up there for, you know, week after week in this kind of star chamber proceeding. Then at the end of it they say, well, we found nothing, but now it's time for special counsel.
There's a basic kind of tension here. It's between those who say, I'd like to clear cut this forest and reduce it to saw timber because that's an economically productive thing for me to do.
The Northwest is in better shape than it was eight years ago.
Protecting all this land, working with the President to establish all these monuments, to, you know... I think the President has a land protection record that's second to no one in this century, maybe Teddy Roosevelt.
Obviously I wouldn't have said that three or four years ago in the midst of it. But I really believe that. It's been a marvelous and important experience.
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