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Public Papers - 1990

Statement on Signing the Antarctic Protection Act of 1990

1990-11-16

I have today signed H.R. 3977, the ``Antarctic Protection Act of 1990.'' The Antarctic continent is a vast, unspoiled land whose associated and dependent ecosystems provide habitat for many unique species of wildlife and a natural laboratory from which to monitor critical aspects of stratospheric ozone depletion and global climate change. There is a need to better protect Antarctica's fragile environment by concluding a new environmental protection agreement to supplement the existing protections provided by the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 and related international agreements.

Any new agreement must reinforce the essential elements of U.S. Antarctic policy:

maintenance of Antarctica as a zone of peace;

comprehensive protection of the unique Antarctic environment;

preservation of the unparalleled opportunities Antarctica offers for environmentally sound scientific research essential to understanding the dynamics of the planet's natural systems; and

maintenance of the Antarctic Treaty and Antarctic Treaty systems as the framework for pursuing these goals.

Overall, H.R. 3977 is in accord with that policy. I am signing the legislation because it was amended in a manner that can be considered consistent with my Administration's position on Antarctic issues. This position includes advocacy of a strong environmental protection agreement to supplement the Antarctic Treaty.

In signing the bill, I wish to make clear that the provision regarding the submission of international agreements to the Senate and the provision stating that the Secretary of State should enter into certain international negotiations are purely hortatory and do not limit the President's constitutional authority for the conduct of foreign affairs. I also note that I will construe the parts of the bill applicable to the activities of Federal agencies in light of the constitutional principle that commits the resolution of disputes between components of the executive branch to me rather than to the courts.

George Bush

The White House,

November 16, 1990.

Note: H.R. 3977, approved November 16, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 594. An original was not available for verification of the content of this statement.

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