Statement on Signing the Bill Establishing the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor


November 10, 1986


I have today signed S. 1374, which establishes the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and creates a 19-member Federal commission to prepare and implement a preservation plan for the corridor. This legislation is designed to assist local governments to conserve the resources of the Blackstone River Valley.


In signing this legislation, I note that section 3, providing for the manner of appointment of members of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Commission, could be interpreted to raise constitutional concerns. The Secretary of the Interior is authorized to appoint each of the Commission's 19 members, but in the case of 6 of the members he is apparently required to appoint certain specified State officials designated in the statute. To the extent that such persons could be deemed empowered by reason of their appointment to exercise significant governmental authority, this method of appointment would contravene the appointments clause of the Cons|itution, article II, section 2, clause 2. I am signing this bill with the understanding that these 6 members of the Commission, who comprise a minority of its membership and who cannot constitute a quorum, are empowered to act only in an advisory capacity. In this manner, the legislation may be interpreted consistently with the requirements of the Constitution.


Note: S. 1374, approved November 10, was assigned Public Law No. 99 - 647.