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Public Papers - 1990

Statement on Signing the Bill Providing for the Study of Historical and Cultural Resources in Vancouver, Washington

1990-11-05

I have today signed H.R. 5144, ``An Act to provide for the study of certain historical and cultural resources located in the city of Vancouver, Washington, and for other purposes.''

This legislation establishes a Vancouver Historical Study Commission to assess and make recommendations regarding the feasibility of establishing a Vancouver National Historical Reserve. This Reserve would include several properties in Vancouver that were important to the settlement of the Pacific Northwest.

Sections 4 and 5 of the Act, concerning excess property of the Department of Defense at Vancouver Barracks, make no reference to relevant provisions of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended. Under the provisions of the Property Act and existing Federal Property Management Regulations, the Administrator of General Services has authority to convey Federal real property, without monetary consideration, for historic purposes. Because the Congress does not appear to have intended that the Property Act would not apply, any property conveyance recommendations the Administration may make under this Act will also be in accordance with the provisions of the Property Act.

Section 6 of the Act states that any ``Federal entity'' conducting or supporting activities directly affecting the Vancouver historical area shall consult with the Secretary of the Interior and the Vancouver Historical Study Commission with respect to such activities. Moreover, such Federal entity is also required to ``cooperate with the Secretary and the Commission in carrying out their duties under this Act and, to the maximum extent practicable, coordinate such activities with the carrying out of such duties.'' In order to avoid constitutional concerns, I will construe this section as not vesting the Commission, which is composed in part of officials representing State agencies, with any authority to control the activities of Federal agencies.

George Bush

The White House,

November 5, 1990.

Note: H.R. 5144, approved November 5, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 523. The statement was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on November 6.

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