I am signing H.R. 7553, the public works appropriations bill.
This bill is a precedent-setting first step in trimming spending on unnecessary, expensive, and environmentally damaging construction projects. In response to administration review of construction projects and recommendations to the Congress, nine unsound projects have been deleted and four modified. This is unprecedented progress. In addition to this action, the Congress has refrained from funding unbudgeted new construction starts.
I welcome this positive step. Action on this appropriations bill marks the beginning of a major effort on the part of this administration to cut back on waste in this area.
This effort will be continued.
I note that this bill contains funding for 10 projects for which I recommended deletion of funds. I remain very concerned about these projects.
Much remains to be done to accomplish lasting reform in water resources policy. My administration is developing water policy reform proposals and will continue to scrutinize carefully all ongoing and proposed water projects. In addition, with the exception of two projects which require further analysis by the Interior Department, the projects deleted by the Congress in this bill should be deauthorized immediately so that the first step is made permanent.
I am, therefore, signing this bill with the intention of accomplishing:
--deauthorization of deleted projects;
--continued close scrutiny of all projects; and
--institution of lasting reforms in water policy.
I would also note that H.R. 7553 appropriates over $500 million for research and development on breeder reactors and other advanced nuclear power technologies. The legislation does not, however, appropriate funds for the unnecessary Clinch River Breeder Reactor Project.
My FY 1978 budget proposal which H.R. 7553 will implement provides for a vigorous research and development program for breeder reactors. In FY 1978, we will complete the Fast Flux Test Facility at Hanford, Wash., which will tell us much more about how to design an advanced, environmentally sound, and economical breeder than Clinch River Breeder can. We will fund major research on alternative breeder technologies, improved safety systems, and other advanced atomic power sources.
Congress has yet to complete action on the legislation authorizing our nuclear breeder research and development program. I will urge Congress to reject proposals leading to an investment of over $2.2 billion of tax dollars in the Clinch River Breeder Reactor Project--a reactor which we do not now need, which is economically unsound, and which will be of little assistance in determining the commercial viability of breeder technology in the United States.
Without wasting the taxpayers' dollars on the Clinch River facility, we will be able to implement a breeder research program which will ultimately make this country better prepared to build, if and when we need to, a commercial breeder reactor which is technically, economically, and environmentally sound.
Finally, H.R. 7553 provides up to $14 million for such activities at the Barnwell Nuclear Fuel Plant as the Energy Research and Development Administration Administrator determines are consistent with the international nuclear fuel cycle evaluation. No funds appropriated in this act shall be used for the reprocessing of spent fuel.