Message to the Senate Returning Without Approval the Water Resources Research Bill

February 21, 1984

To the Senate of the United States:

I am returning herewith without my approval S. 684, an act ``To authorize an ongoing program of water resources research, and for other purposes.''

Title I would authorize appropriations totalling $36 million annually for the fiscal years 1985 - 1989 for a variety of water resources research activities throughout the nation, including a new, separate authorization of grants for the development of water technology, which is not an appropriate Federal activity.

Title II would convey desalting test facilities that are no longer in Federal use to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, and Roswell, New Mexico. The Administration has supported these conveyances. I would be pleased to sign a bill that provides only for them.

For some twenty years, the Federal government has provided ``seed money'' for the type of water research that would be authorized by Title I. This Federal support has produced a number of successful State water research institutes. I believe that these State institutes are now at a point where further Federal involvement in their research activities is not necessary. They can stand and continue to succeed on their own.

Moreover, the water research that S. 684 would promote can be characterized as mostly local or in some cases regional in nature. The focus of such research will of course vary from State to State because water problems and needs often differ by region. The States and private industry should be fully responsible for financing research necessary to deal with their own particular problems and needs.

If we are to truly succeed in reducing Federal spending we must sort out those responsibilities which are appropriately Federal from those which can be more effectively and fairly implemented at the State and local level.

Accordingly, I feel constrained to disapprove S. 684.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

February 21, 1984.

Note: The Senate and the House of Representatives voted to override the President's veto on March 21 and 22, respectively. As enacted, S. 684 is Public Law 98 - 242.