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Statement by the President: Signing Statement on the "Energy Act of 2000" (11/9/00)

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                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                            November 9, 2000

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     Today I have signed into law H.R. 2884, the "Energy Act of 2000."
This Act extends key authorities that aid management of energy emergencies,
specifies the conditions under which the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve
can be used, and updates the operating rules for the Weatherization
Assistance Program.

     The Act reauthorizes the operation of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,
a critical line of defense against the threat of energy shortages that can
cripple our economy.  Extension of the direct authority for the Strategic
Petroleum Reserve guarantees that the full range of means will be available
to any Administration that may need to take actions necessary to secure our
Nation's energy supplies.

     The Act also restores the limited antitrust protection for U.S. oil
companies assisting the Department of Energy and the International Energy
Agency in planning for and responding to an oil emergency.  With this
protection, these companies can continue their vital participation in
preparing and implementing a coordinated and effective response.

     As I also requested, the Act provides authority to establish and use a
Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve with a capacity of up to 2 million
barrels.  This Reserve will serve New England and the upper Mid-Atlantic
States where consumers rely to a great extent on heating oil to heat their
homes.  Creation of the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve was a priority
of my Administration, and I am pleased the Congress provided bi-partisan
support for its inclusion in this Act.

     The Act also amends the Department of Energy?s Weatherization
Assistance Program, a program that reduces heating and cooling costs for
low-income Americans by improving the energy efficiency of their homes.
These changes will make it easier for States to provide timely energy
weatherization services and include a repeal of a financially burdensome
cost-sharing requirement for the States.

     Unfortunately, this Act also contains an objectionable provision that
transfers licensing authority for small hydroelectric projects in Alaska
from Federal jurisdiction to the State of Alaska.  I remain strongly
opposed to this provision because it could erode the Federal Power Act?s
uniform system for licensing hydroelectric projects in the United States
and impair the Federal Government?s ability to protect Federally managed

     The Act also amends the President?s existing authority, under section
161(h) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, to draw down the
Strategic Petroleum Reserve by making exercise of the authority dependent
upon a finding by the Secretary of Defense that the drawdown would not
impair national security.  This amendment is objectionable because, in
effect, it conditions the exercise of judgmental authority by the President
upon the agreement of one of his subordinates.

     Despite these objectionable features, I believe that the Act
demonstrates this Nation?s and my own commitment to providing for a more
secure energy future, and I am pleased to sign it today.

                              WILLIAM J. CLINTON

    November 9, 2000.

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