It gives me enormous pleasure to welcome you here today and to announce a great victory for the Presidio and the millions of people who visit the park each year. The Presidio Trust, the Department of the Interior and U.S. Army have reached a $100 million agreement to accelerate the environmental clean up of the Presidio.
Many people are responsible for today's success, and I want to take this opportunity to commend Raymond Fatz, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Army, Toby Rosenblatt with the Presidio Trust, and John Berry, Assistant Secretary for Budget and Policy for their leadership. I also want to personally thank Congressman Ralph Regula, Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Congressman Jack Murtha, Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on National Security and Congressman George Miller, Ranking Member of the Committee on Resources for their stewardship of the Presidio. My personal thanks also go to Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein for their participation and support.
This is a landmark agreement --the first of its kind for a base closure. It is a culmination of the peaceful tradition of the Presidio --that no shot has ever been fired in anger --and this is the best example of how agreements can reflect our higher goals.
Under the terms of the agreement, negotiated over the course of a year, the Army will transfer $100 million to the Trust over the next four years for clean up of the park. The Trust will assume lead agency responsibility for removing contaminants from the Presidio. To ensure against any cost overruns, the agreement provides for environmental insurance that will cover up to an additional $100 million. The agreement reduces by two decades the overall timetable for clean up of the Presidio. It is a cost efficient approach that ensures the health and safety of visitors, saves money and allows the Trust to implement its financial programs.
Environmental clean up has been one of the Presidio's greatest challenges and one of the highest priorities as Congress set in motion the preservation of the Presidio as a self sustaining national park. The parties here today --the Army, the Trust and Interior --are all to be commended for their fine efforts on behalf of the Presidio and ensuring that its future is secure and its visitors are safe. It also ensures that the Presidio Trust will be on a secure path to realizing its goals.
The agreement is a symbol of how innovative ideas can be realized in a tangible way to benefit the public good. It is the first time ever that federal agencies have successfully developed a public-private partnership to conduct a comprehensive environmental clean up of a closed military base.
The Department of the Army has never ventured down this path and the agreement is a testament to their good will and continued good stewardship of the Presidio. Raymond Fatz, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Army, has been a true leader in exploring innovative solutions to the Presidio clean up. Toby Rosenblatt with the Presidio Trust and John Berry, Assistant Secretary for Budget and Policy continue to demonstrate their regard for the Presidio as one of our nation's stellar national parks.
It is a great victory and nobody had to fire a single shot.
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