Public Papers of Jimmy Carter, 1980-1981

Author: Jimmy Carter  | Date: October 18, 1980

Coastal Zone Management Improvement Act of 1980
Statement on Signing S. 2622 Into Law.
October 18, 1980

I have signed into law S. 2622, a bill reauthorizing and amending the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. The signing of this legislation fulfills a commitment I made in my 1979 environmental message to reauthorize Federal assistance to State coastal zone management programs and to strengthen the Coastal Zone Management Act by establishing a national coastal protection policy.

The importance of the Nation’s coastal zone cannot be overstated. The estuaries, lagoons, beaches, bays, islands, and wetlands of the American coastline contain a wealth of natural resources and provide unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation and the enjoyment of natural beauty. At the same time, our coasts are the site of great economic activity, including fisheries, ports, and major defense, energy, and transportation facilities. Today, nearly four out of five Americans live within 100 miles of the oceans and the Great Lakes, and it is estimated that by the end of this decade, 75 percent of the American people will reside within 50 miles of these shores.

The challenge of managing this convergence of resources, activities, and people requires a close cooperation among all levels of government and a partnership between government and the private sector. This bill provides a legislative framework for such collaboration. When I took office, only one State had an approved coastal zone management program. Today, 25 of 35 coastal States and territories have approved programs covering nearly 80 percent of our coastlines. The bill I have signed today provides for a 5-year extension of Federal financial support for these State and territorial coastal management programs. It also offers incentives to encourage the remaining coastal States to develop such programs.

Finally, section 12 of S. 2622 is designed to permit the Congress to disapprove by concurrent resolution any rule issued by the Secretary of Commerce under the Coastal Zone Management Act before the rule becomes effective. Such a provision is unconstitutional because it purports to authorize the Congress to overturn an executive action by a measure intended to have the effect of law, but which is not to be presented to the President in accordance with constitutional process regarding Acts of Congress. This section violates the presentation clauses of the Constitution, Article 1, section 7, clauses 2 and 3, and violates the separation of powers doctrine by interfering with the authorized discretion. of the executive branch in administration of an ongoing program. Pursuant to my message to Congress dated June 21, 1978, I am directing the Secretary of Commerce that this requirement is to be treated as a "report-and-wait" provision and that, if such a concurrent resolution is passed, it is to be given serious consideration but not regarded as legally binding.

Passage of this bill took a year of hard work by the administration and the Congress. I want to thank all the Members of Congress who were involved in this effort. I also want to commend the outstanding work of many conservation groups, private citizens, and public bodies in commemorating 1980 as the Year of the Coast.

NOTE: As enacted, S. 2622 is Public Law 96-464, approved October 17.