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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 1, 1996


Today I have signed into law H.R. 3816, the "Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 1997."

The Act provides $20 billion in discretionary budget authority for programs of the Department of Energy (DOE), portions of the Interior and Defense Departments, the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), and several smaller agencies.

The Act provides $11.4 billion for atomic energy defense programs, $0.3 billion above my request. I am disappointed that the Congress has funded unrequested increases for nuclear weapons management and related programs, while curtailing investments in important civilian activities. Nevertheless, I am pleased that the Act will provide for a significantly enhanced Science-Based Stockpile Stewardship and Management program that will continue DOE's strong commitment to ensuring the safety and reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile. This Act will also enable the Defense Environmental Restoration and Waste Management program to aggressively address the environmental legacy of previous weapons activities.

I am pleased that the Congress dropped a provision that would have made funding for the nuclear waste management program contingent upon congressional passage of a subsequent authorization bill. This language could have led to the immediate suspension of ongoing work at the Yucca Mountain site.

I am also pleased that the Congress provided $45 million to the International Nuclear Safety program, which assists nations of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in improving the safety of Soviet-designed nuclear reactors.

I am disappointed that the Act cuts $93 million from my request for solar and renewable energy research programs. Investments in the development of advanced renewable energy technologies, which have a large potential export market, will create new jobs and reduce pollution, thereby addressing climate change and protecting human health and the environment. I am also concerned by the cuts in funding for DOE departmental administration and program direction in civilian research and defense programs that may jeopardize the Department's ability to perform its missions and maintain its financial management responsibilities.

I am disappointed that the Act includes over $210 million in unrequested funds for Corps' construction, studies, and operation and maintenance programs. The Congress should have used these funds to restore reductions it made to other priority DOE and Corps programs, such as the Corps' wetlands regulatory program.



September 30, 1996.

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