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Public Papers - 1989 - October

Statement on Signing the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act

1989-10-23

Today I signed into law H.R. 2788, the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

I am pleased that the Act includes funding for many programs important to the environment. In particular, the Act finances Federal land acquisition for conservation and recreation purposes, as I recommended in my February 9th budget. Many nationally significant natural and cultural resources will be protected by these appropriations. Furthermore, the Act strikes an important balance between protecting the environment and recognizing national and local economic concerns, as in the case of the spotted owl compromise. I commend the Congress for these actions.

I have reservations with two provisions of the Act: those dealing with extension of coverage of the Federal Tort Claims Act to private contractors, or their employees, serving Indian tribes; and those dealing with restrictions on oil and gas leasing and exploration on the Outer Continental Shelf. These reservations have been described in more detail in Statements of Administration Policy and other communications from officials of my Administration.

Notwithstanding these reservations, I have signed the bill because its benefits -- particularly the treatment of many environmental, conservation, and energy-related issues important to the Nation -- outweigh my reservations.

George Bush

The White House,

October 23, 1989.

Note: H.R. 2788, approved October 23, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 121.

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