Richard Nixon photo

Statement About Decision To Sign 37 Bills

October 28, 1972

IN THE final weeks of its second session, the 92d Congress enacted several dozen separate pieces of legislation. I have given a good part of my time during the last 10 days to a careful review of these bills.

Yesterday I announced my decision to withhold my approval from nine of these bills. Released with this statement today will be a list of certain bills which I have decided to sign.

A number of these measures warrant special comment.


I am pleased to sign into law S. 3419, the Consumer Product Safety Act. This legislation is the outgrowth of a proposal which I submitted to Congress in February of 1971. It is the most significant consumer protection legislation passed by the 92d Congress.

S. 3419 creates a new independent Consumer Product Safety Commission to develop consumer product safety standards and to enforce these standards, in court if necessary. In addition, the Commission will have authority to ban outright the sale of hazardous products which cannot be adequately regulated.

As beneficial as this legislation is for the consumer, the act contains certain language which will tend to weaken budget control--and a coordinated, unified budget is the consumer's ally in keeping inflation and taxes down. These provisions are unfortunate and should not be regarded as precedent for future legislation.

The most important thing about this bill, however, is its recognition that a defective lawn mower or electric heater can be just as dangerous to the consumer and his family as contaminated food or improperly packaged drugs. It is high time that the Government provided for comprehensive regulation of the many potentially dangerous products commonly used in and around American households. While the Consumer Product Safety Act differs in several ways from the legislation I proposed, it answers a long-felt need, and I am happy to give it my approval.


Several of the most significant of the bills which I am signing carry forward our campaign to restore and protect the quality of the environment.

H.R. 9727, the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972, will provide the controls over ocean dumping which have long been a matter of high priority concern for this Administration. This law is closely modeled on the recommendations I submitted to the Congress in February of 1971, recommendations which grew out of a report forwarded to me by the then newly established Council on Environmental Quality the previous October. The bill is thus one of the first fruits of our new emphasis on careful advance analysis of environmental challenges.

The practice of dumping waste into the oceans has been steadily increasing in recent years, endangering marine life, reducing the population of fish, jeopardizing marine ecosystems, and impairing esthetic values. H.R. 9727 will meet this growing problem by banning the dumping of certain hazardous materials entirely and by subjecting other substances to careful regulation through a new permit system. It also provides for further monitoring and research programs.

It is significant that this new act will be implemented by the two newest environmental agencies--both created by this Administration-the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. I am directing the Administrators of these two agencies to work in close consultation to ensure that duplication can be avoided and information can be fully shared between them as they confront this vital challenge. This bill will also give strong support to the delegation we will be sending to London at the end of this month to seek a much needed international convention on this important matter.


Even as I commend the Congress for responding to the concern over ocean dumping, I am also grateful for the opportunity to sign a second piece of legislation concerning the oceanic environment, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, H.R. 10420. This legislation will give us the important powers we need to ensure that the world's whales, porpoises, seals, polar bears, walruses, sea otters, and manatees do not become depleted or endangered species. H.R. 10420 requires a specific permit before such animals may be taken or imported and provides strong encouragements for other countries to develop similar protections.

In this area, as in the case of ocean dumping, we are ensuring that our own regulation programs are up-to-date, and we are also taking a strong position of international leadership. We share the oceans with all who live on this planet. Our actions are part of what we hope and trust will be a global commitment to protect the glory and majesty and life of the "shining" seas.


S. 3507, the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, is also an outgrowth of earlier efforts by this Administration to provide for rational management of a unique national resource.

More than 75 percent of our population now lives in States bordering the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes. The number of people who use our coastal zones is rapidly increasing--and so are the purposes for which these areas are utilized. Commercial fisheries, ports, beaches and other recreation areas, the extraction of minerals, the siting of power plants, the building of homes and factories, the development of transportation systems-these are among the competing functions which our coastal zones are being called upon to serve. Yet these same areas, it must be remembered, are the irreplaceable breeding ground for most aquatic life.

S. 3507 recognizes the need for carefully planned, comprehensive management programs to ensure the most rational and beneficial use of the coastal zones. This bill also recognizes that the States can usually be the most effective regulators of such a planning process. I will instruct the Secretary of Commerce to carry out this statute in a way which focuses Federal efforts on the adequacy of State processes rather than to become involved in the merits of particular land use decisions.

But the coastal zones are not the only areas which need this sort of long-range attention. This is why I proposed to the Congress in February of 1 971 the national land use policy act--a bill which would help the States establish management programs for a wide range of areas which are of critical environmental concern. It is my strong hope that the next Congress will expand on the coastal zone bill which was passed this fall by approving my national land use policy act. I signed S. 3507, then, as an important first step toward a more comprehensive program.

S. 3507 locates administrative responsibility for this program in the Department of Commerce rather than in the Department of the Interior as I would have preferred--and as I called for in my proposed land use policy act. This action is not sufficient reason in my judgment for vetoing the bill, but it does underscore once again the importance of creating a new Department of Natural Resources, as I have recommended, so that we can reverse the trend toward the fragmentation and fractionalization of Federal programs and begin to coordinate our environmental efforts more effectively.


Still another important piece of environmental legislation which has grown out of an Administration proposal is H.R. 11021, the Noise Control Act of 1972. While a number of municipal governments have moved to control the rising levels of noise in our country--particularly in major urban centers--many of the most significant sources of noise move in interstate commerce and can be effectively regulated only at the Federal level. The new act will enable the Environmental Protection Agency to set limits on the amount of noise permitted both from trucks, buses, and railroad trains operating in interstate commerce and from a variety of newly manufactured products such as jackhammers and compressors, automobiles, motorcycles, snowmobiles, motors and engines. It will also permit the EPA to require the labeling of noise emission levels on products such as household appliances. It calls for a 9-month study of aircraft and airport noise leading to a procedure for regulating aircraft noise in a way which is consistent with maintaining aircraft safety.



Two environmental projects in which I have taken a particular personal interest are the Gateway National Recreation Area [S. 1852] in and around New York City and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area [H.R. 16444] in and around San Francisco Bay. I have recently visited the sites of these recreation areas, and it is with particular pleasure that I sign the legislation which officially authorizes their establishment.

The need for open space and recreational opportunities is especially pressing in our great metropolitan centers. These two bills represent major advances in meeting this need. It is estimated that the Gateway National Recreation Area in New York and New Jersey, a 26, 172-acre project, will serve some 9.5 million people in the first year of operation and some 19 million people by the 10th year. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area will contain over 34,200 acres and will serve an estimated 2 million people in the first year and 16 million by the 10th year.

Nineteen hundred seventy-two marks the beginning of the second century of national parks in America. It is fitting that we launch that second century by creating two great new recreation areas which will directly benefit so many Americans. I plan to continue my emphasis on bringing "parks to the people" through the donation of Federal lands to State and local authorities for the development of parks and recreation areas near population centers.


Another significant environmental bill which I am signing into law is S. 2454, which will extend authority for the Youth Conservation Corps. This program was set up on a temporary basis in 1970 to provide summer employment for young men and women ]n our national parks, forests, and other Federal lands and waters. S. 2454 will also establish a new pilot program of Federal grants to help the States set up similar projects.

I am also pleased to sign H.R. 10384, which will remove certain restrictions on the acquisition of lands for recreational development and on the protection of natural resources in fish and wildlife areas. Other notable forward steps will result from H.R. 11091, increasing the Federal aid to wildlife restoration fund by extending existing firearms taxes to cover archery equipment used in hunting; H.R. 12186, substantially increasing the penalties for violations of the Bald Eagle Protection Act; and H.R. 15280, doubling the spending authorization for the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere from $200,000 to $400,000.

Among the other bills which will help protect our environmental resources for the enjoyment of all Americans are: S. 27, establishing Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Arizona and Utah; S. 141, establishing Fossil Butte National Monument in Wyoming; S. 493, classifying the Eagle Cap Area in Oregon as a wilderness area; S. 1198, authorizing review of the Indian Peaks Area in Colorado as to its suitability for preservation as wilderness; S. 1928, designating a segment of the Saint Croix River in Minnesota and Wisconsin as a component of the national wild and scenic rivers system; S. 1973, establishing the Thaddeus Kosciuszko Home National Historic Site in Pennsylvania; S. 2411, establishing the Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia; S. 3959, authorizing feasibility investigations for nine potential water resource development projects; S. 4022, authorizing the President to provide for United States participation in the International Exposition on the Environment in Spokane, Washington, in 1974; H.R. 8756, establishing the Hohokam Pima National Monument in Arizona; H.R. 13067, providing for the administration of the Mar-A-Lago National Historic Site in Florida; H.R. 13396, increasing land acquisition funds for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area; and H.R. 15597, increasing land acquisition funds for Piscataway Park in Maryland.


The menace of international terrorism has become particularly vivid in recent months--and our Government has been playing a leading role in the international effort to combat it. It is with particular satisfaction, therefore, that I sign H.R. 15883, a bill which makes it a Federal offense for anyone to harass, assault, kidnap, or murder a foreign official, a member of his family, or an official guest of the United States while that person is in our country. This law will strengthen significantly the protection we can provide for such persons. And it will also strengthen our position as we work within the United Nations and the International Civil Aviation Organization for further actions to fight the scourge of terrorism.


I have also signed a number of other bills which authorize or appropriate budgeted funds for programs which have already been established, including:

H.J. Res. 1331, continuing appropriations for fiscal year 1973 until February 28, 1973, or the date of enactment of pending appropriations bills; H.R. 5066, authorizing appropriations to carry out the Flammable Fabrics Act; H.R. 13694, authorizing appropriations for the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission; H.R. 14989, making appropriations for the Departments of State, Justice and Commerce, for the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the United States Information Agency, and certain other related agencies; H.R. 15375, authorizing appropriations to carry out the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, and amending that act to enhance its effectiveness; H.R. 15641 and H.R. 16754, the military construction authorization and appropriation acts for fiscal year 1973; H.R. 16593, the Department of Defense Appropriation Act for fiscal year 1973; H.R. 16675, extending assistance to State and local programs concerning alcohol abuse and alcoholism; and H.R. 16987, authorizing certain supplemental appropriations for the maritime construction subsidy program. I am also signing H.R. 16810 which raises the public debt limit for fiscal year 1973 from $400 billion to $465 billion.

Note: On the same day, the White House released the transcript of a news briefing by Paul O'Neill, Assistant Director, Office of Management and Budget, and Lewis A. Engman, Assistant Director, Domestic Council, on the President's approval of the 37 bills listed in the statement and the following 7 additional bills:
H.J. Res. 984, amending joint resolution providing for United States participation in the International Bureau for the Protection of Industrial Property
H.R. 7117, amending the Fishermen's Protective Act of 1967
H.R. 9554, redesignating the Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial National Monument as the Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial
H.R. 14128, providing for the relief of Jorge Ortuzar-Varas and Maria Pabla de Ortuzar
S.J. Res. 247, extending the duration of copyright protection in certain cases
S. 2674, removing a cloud on the rifle to certain lands located in the State of New Mexico
S. 3358, prohibiting the use of certain small vessels in United States fisheries

Richard Nixon, Statement About Decision To Sign 37 Bills Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under


Simple Search of Our Archives