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Public Papers - 1990 - November

Statement on Signing the Great Lakes Critical Programs Act of 1990


Today I am pleased to sign H.R. 4323, the ``Great Lakes Critical Programs Act of 1990,'' which amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act with respect to water quality in the Great Lakes. Although the United States and Canada, working together, have made much progress in cleaning up the Great Lakes, much work remains to be done. This Act will provide a substantial boost to our efforts by providing additional tools to make progress on much needed planning and cleanup activities.

Passage of this bill is an indication that the Congress shares my commitment to protecting the environment and my desire to clean up and maintain these bodies of water that are important recreationally and historically to the people of the United States and Canada.

In addition to its provisions concerning the Great Lakes, the Act would establish two ``management conferences'' responsible for managing Lake Champlain and Onondaga Lake in New York. The provision establishing the management conference for Onondaga Lake is repeated in S. 2740, which also passed in the final days of the Congress. Unfortunately, as structured by these provisions, these management conferences present serious constitutional concerns under the Appointments Clause of the Constitution.

H.R. 4323 designates State governors, State legislators, and other State and local officials to serve on each management conference. The Act then vests significant governmental authority in these State and local government officials by giving the management conferences and State governors substantial control over the making of Federal grants and the implementation of the management programs for Lake Champlain and Onondaga Lake. Because such power may be exercised only by officers appointed consistent with the Appointments Clause, and not by State governors or other State or local officials, the management conferences created by the Act are inconsistent with this constitutional requirement. Accordingly, although I am signing H.R. 4323 today, I will request the Secretary of Defense, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Attorney General to submit legislation to correct this constitutional problem.

George Bush

The White House,

November 16, 1990.

Note: H.R. 4323, approved November 16, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 596.

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