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Public Papers - 1990 - November

Statement on Signing the Water Resources Development Act of 1990

1990-11-28

Today I am signing S. 2740, the ``Water Resources Development Act of 1990,'' which authorizes water resources projects and programs in support of the Department of the Army Civil Works mission.

In signing this bill, I endorse the biennial cycle of water sources development legislation for the Army Civil Works program implemented by the Army Corps of Engineers. In addition to authorizing worthwhile water resources projects, the legislation includes a number of provisions that protect and restore this Nation's environment, which I wholeheartedly support. S. 2740 also preserves the fundamental cost-sharing and policy reforms of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986. I believe, on balance, that it reflects acceptable compromises between the executive and the legislative branches on a variety of issues of common interest.

However, I am concerned that S. 2740 contains a number of troubling special-interest provisions. For example, it contains a provision to require the Army to finance a replacement highway bridge where no legal obligation or Federal interest exists for such a replacement, and a provision for the exchange of leasehold interests for excess Federal property when such an exchange is inappropriate. Provisions such as these set undesirable precedents for the Federal Government.

In addition, a number of provisions in the Act require the Government to undertake projects and studies that traditionally have been pursued by nonfederal interests, such as constructing recreation facilities associated with a project, which are not a required or an integral part of the project. I believe, however, that the potential negative impacts of such provisions on Federal water resources policies and on the availability of Federal funds can be minimized through intensive management and through the annual budget process.

Finally, the Act contains a constitutional problem. Section 411 establishes a management conference responsible for managing Onondaga Lake in New York. The same provision also appears in H.R. 4323, legislation I approved earlier this month. The power both Acts give to State Governors and to State and local officials who serve on the management conference may only be exercised by officials who are selected pursuant to the Appointments Clause of the Constitution. Because the Act is inconsistent with this requirement, I am directing the Secretary of Defense, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Attorney General to submit legislation to correct this constitutional problem.

Because I believe in a strong water resources program, and despite my concerns about a number of inappropriate provisions, I have approved this bill.

George Bush

The White House,

November 28, 1990.

Note: S. 2740, approved November 28, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 640. The statement was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on November 29.

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