Bush issued a signing statement last Friday to the Magnuson-Stevens
Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006. That
Act also includes an amendment to the Marine Mamal Protection Act of
1972 Title V– Polar Bears which regards the United States-Russia Polar Bear
Conservation and Management Act of 2006.
Here is background on the Polar Bear Commision from the American Society of International Law…
The Agreement establishes the U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission to inter alia: 1) perform
necessary and appropriate functions for implementing
the Agreement; 2) coordinate measures for the conservation
and study of Bears; 3) promote cooperation between the
Parties, between the native people, and between the
Parties and the native people; and 4) determine annual
taking limits not to exceed the sustainable harvest
level. Art. VIII. The Commission will have a U.S. Section
and a Russian Section.
Using the same justification as in a signing statement last year to
ignore standards for the FEMA director set by Congress, Bush has now
signaled he can ignore qualifications for the US Commisioners such as one “shall be a representative of the Native people of Alaska” and both commissioners “shall be knowledgeable of, or have expertise in, polar bears.“
I’m not sure if this is as much about polar bears as a further grab at
executive power but it makes me wonder just who he will appoint (insert
Arabian Horse Association meets Polar Bear joke here). Below is the pertinent
section of the signing statement followed by the section of act cited.
From the signing statement…
SEC. 902. AMENDMENT OF MARINE MAMMAL PROTECTION ACT OF 1972.
505(a) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as enacted by section 902 of the Act,
purports to condition the authority granted to the President to make
appointments upon prior consideration of recommendations from
particular sources and purports to limit the qualifications of the pool
of persons from whom the President may select appointees in a manner
that rules out a large portion of those persons best qualified by
experience and knowledge to fill the positions. […]The executive branch shall construe these provisions in a manner consistent with the Appointments Clause.
That section of the act...
(a) Appointment of United States; Commissioners-
`(1) APPOINTMENT- The United
States commissioners on the Commission shall be appointed by the President,
in accordance with paragraph 2 of article 8 of the Agreement, after taking
into consideration the recommendations of–
`(A) the Secretary;
`(B) the Secretary of State; and
`(C) the Alaska Nanuuq
`(2) QUALIFICATIONS- With
respect to the United States commissioners appointed under this subsection,
in accordance with paragraph 2 of article 8 of the Agreement–
`(A) 1 United States
commissioner shall be an official of the Federal Government;`(B) 1 United States
commissioner shall be a representative of the Native people of Alaska,
and, in particular, the Native people for whom polar bears are an integral
part of their culture; and`(C) both commissioners shall
be knowledgeable of, or have expertise in, polar bears.