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Statement on Signing the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 1993

October 02, 1992

Today I have signed into law H.R. 5373, the "Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 1993." The Act provides funding for the Department of Energy. The Act also provides funds for the water resources development activities of the Corps of Engineers and the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation, as well as funds for various related independent agencies such as the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

I am pleased that the Congress has provided funding for the Superconducting super collider (SSC). This action will help us to maintain U.S. leadership in the field of high-energy physics. SSC-related research has spawned, and will continue to spawn, advances in many fields of technology, including accelerators, cryogenics, superconductivity, and computing. The program serves as a national resource for inspiring students to pursue careers in math and science. SSC-related work will support 7,000 first tier jobs in the United States. In addition, 23,000 contracts have been awarded to businesses and universities around the country.

I must, however, note a number of objectionable provisions in the Act. Specifically, Section 507 of H.R. 5373, which concerns nuclear testing, is highly objectionable. It may prevent the United States from conducting underground nuclear tests that are necessary to maintain a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent. This provision unwisely restricts the number and purpose of U.S. nuclear tests and will make future U.S. nuclear testing dependent on actions by another country, rather than on our own national security requirements. Despite the dramatic reductions in nuclear arsenals, the United States continues to rely on nuclear deterrence as an essential element of our national security. We must ensure that our forces are as safe and reliable as possible. To do so, we must continue to conduct a minimal number of underground nuclear tests, regardless of the actions of other countries. Therefore, I will work for new legislation to permit the conduct of a modest number of necessary underground nuclear tests.

In July 1992, I adopted a new nuclear testing policy to reflect the changes in the international security environment and in the size and nature of our nuclear deterrent. That policy imposed strict new limits on the purpose, number, and yield of U.S. nuclear tests, consistent with our national security and safety requirements and with our international obligations. It remains the soundest approach to U.S. nuclear testing.

Sections 304 and 505 of the Act also raise constitutional concerns. Section 304 would establish certain racial, ethnic, and gender criteria for businesses and other organizations seeking Federal funding for the development, construction, and operation of the Superconducting super collider. A congressional grant of Federal money or benefits based solely on the recipient's race, ethnicity, or gender is presumptively unconstitutional under the equal protection standards of the Constitution.

Accordingly, I will construe this provision consistently with the demands of the Constitution and, in particular, monies appropriated by this Act cannot be awarded solely on the basis of race, ethnicity, or gender.

Section 505 of the Act provides that none of the funds appropriated by this or any other legislation may be used to conduct studies concerning "the possibility of changing from the currently required `at cost' to a `market rate' or any other noncost-based method for the pricing of hydroelectric power" by Federal power authorities.

Article II, section 3, of the Constitution grants the President authority to recommend to the Congress any legislative measures considered "necessary and expedient." Accordingly, in keeping with the well-settled obligation to construe statutory provisions to avoid constitutional questions, I will interpret section 505 so as not to infringe on the Executive's authority to conduct studies that might assist in the evaluation and preparation of such measures.

George Bush

The White House,

October 2, 1992.

Note: H.R. 5373, approved October 2, was assigned Public Law No. 102 - 377.

George Bush, Statement on Signing the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 1993 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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