Obama promotes conservation of US public lands

WASHINGTON (AP) ? President Barack Obama is drawing attention to the nation’s parks and open spaces, saying conservation of American attractions and resources creates jobs, assists the recovery and even contributes to less foreign oil dependence.

Obama says there is no need to choose between clean water or clean air and a strong economy. He calls that’s “a false choice.”

The president spoke at the Interior Department the same day the administration held a conservation conference.

Obama said parks and public lands help make the United States a major tourist destination. He said public lands are also central to developing alternative energy means, including wind and solar power.

The president spoke to an audience of hunters, farmers, ranchers, fishermen, conservationists and local government officials.