Memorandum of Disapproval of a Relief Bill for Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Oveson
I am withholding my approval from H.R. 4386, a bill "For the relief of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Oveson."
H.R. 4386 would direct the Secretary of the Treasury to pay $50,000 to Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Oveson of Saint Louis and Koochiching Counties, Minnesota. The payment would be for full settlement of the Ovesons' claims arising from the assumption of management by the United States of certain real property owned by the United States but occupied by the Ovesons. The payment would not affect any claims that the Ovesons might have arising from the loss of any structures affixed to the land. The Ovesons apparently purchased the land in question from another individual in good faith though title to the land actually rests with the U.S. Government as part of the Voyageurs National Park.
I am withholding my approval from H.R. 4386 because it would provide compensation to individuals who have occupied Federal lands without authority. Approval of this legislation would set a precedent of rewarding unauthorized users of Federal lands. It would not only undermine ongoing efforts by all Federal land management agencies to eliminate such uses but could also invite additional unauthorized use.
While I sympathize with the plight of the Ovesons, I cannot support the payment of taxpayers funds to them to remedy a problem they have with other private individuals in a situation in which the United States Government was in no way at fault. I understand that there may be legal remedies available to the Ovesons against the person who improperly sold them land to which he did not have clear title.
The White House,
December 24, 1980.
Note: The text of the memorandum of disapproval was released at Plains, Ga.
Jimmy Carter, Memorandum of Disapproval of a Relief Bill for Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Oveson Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250785