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Public Papers - 1992

Statement on Signing the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act

1992-10-24

Today I am signing into law H.R. 4844, the ``Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act.'' This Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to prepare a detailed report on alternatives for restoring the important Elwha River ecosystem and fisheries in the State of Washington. The ecosystem includes resources inside one of our Nation's premier assets, the Olympic National Park.

I wish to express, however, two concerns that I have with the Act. First, the Secretary of the Interior is given only 15 months to prepare the required report. This report must include a study on the acquisition of the existing Elwha River dams, plans for full restoration of the Elwha River ecosystem, and alternatives to removal of the dams. Considering the amount and the complexity of the information required to be included in the report, this timeframe is very unrealistic.

Second, the Secretary of the Interior is required in the report to identify nonfederal parties, besides Indian tribes, that would directly benefit from restoration of the Elwha River ecosystem, if the Secretary believes that these parties should assume some portion of the costs of restoration. However, the Act does not provide express authority to require restoration cost sharing among the benefitted parties. I am instructing the Secretary of the Interior to prepare alternatives for Elwha River restoration, including potential dam removal, that assume nonfederal cost sharing.

I am also instructing the Department of the Interior to consult with the Department of Energy in the preparation of the report on alternatives to dam removal.

George Bush

The White House,

October 24, 1992.

Note: H.R. 4844, approved October 24, was assigned Public Law No. 102 - 495. This statement was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on October 25.

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