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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                         (New York, New York)
For Immediate Release                                   October 30, 1998


Today I am signing into law H.R. 2807, an omnibus measure that includes many provisions I supported to enhance fish and wildlife protection.

The Act reauthorizes the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act through FY 2002 and prohibits the sale, importation, and exportation of products labeled or advertised as derived from rhinoceroses or tigers. This will substantially eliminate the demand for products made from these endangered species. The Act also reauthorizes, through FY 2003, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the Partnerships for Wildlife Act, two of the most popular, cost-effective, and productive environmental conservation programs.

I note that section 304 of the Act amends the criteria for appointing individuals to the North American Wetlands Conservation Council. Specifically, this provision purportedly designates an officeholder of a named private organization as a Council member. This raises two issues. First, the Council is involved in the implementation of Federal wetlands conservation programs and, therefore, its members are considered officers of the United States. Pursuant to the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, the Congress may not appoint Federal officers. Consequently, I will instruct the Secretary of the Interior merely to consider the designated individual along with other appropriate candidates for appointment to the Council.

Second, if the Secretary ultimately selects the individual designated by the Act, that individual will be subject to executive branch standards of conduct and criminal conflict-of-interest statutes. The individual's ability to act fully as a Council member therefore may be somewhat curtailed by his or her affiliation with a private organization. On balance, the Act provides a considerable benefit to the conservation of fish and wildlife, and I am pleased to sign it into law.


                              THE WHITE HOUSE,
                              October 30, 1998.