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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 2, 1996


I have today signed into law H.R. 3060, the "Antarctic Science, Tourism, and Conservation Act of 1996."

Almost 40 years ago, the United States proposed a treaty among the nations carrying out scientific research in Antarctica. The resulting Antarctic Treaty establishes this fascinating and remote region of our planet as a zone of peace, reserved exclusively for peaceful uses, and guarantees freedom of scientific research there.

The Antarctic Treaty has proven a uniquely successful agreement and has spawned an innovative system of supplementary agreements to protect the Antarctic environment and conserve its living resources. For these reasons, it gives me particular pleasure to sign into law legislation that will provide authority for the United States to ratify the most recent extension of that system: the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty. The Protocol sets forth mandatory rules for the protection of the environment of Antarctica and the promotion of scientific research there.

The bill that I have signed today implements the provisions of the Environmental Protocol. The Senate has already given its advice and consent to ratification of the Protocol.

Enactment of this legislation reaffirms United States leadership in Antarctic affairs. Our leadership is expressed in our world class research program on the ice, which is helping to answer basic questions about the Earth. The United States has also provided leadership in the innovative diplomacy that has made Antarctica a shining example of constructive international cooperation.

I would like to pay particular tribute to those who made this legislation possible: the U.S. negotiators who crafted the Protocol and the legislators who have provided for its implementation. Congressional passage of this legislation reflected the bipartisan partnership that has been the hallmark of our Antarctic policy. I would like to pay tribute to the House Science Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which took the initiative to move this bill. In particular, I commend Senator John Kerry for his continued interest and support for implementation of the Protocol and Chairman Bob Walker and Representative George Brown for their initiative in moving this important legislation in this Congress. Finally, I would like to recognize the leadership of the Vice President on this issue, dating back to his days in the Senate.



October 2, 1996.

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