[govinfo] GovInfo News - 10-10-06

  • From: "Patrice McDermott" <pmcdermott@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "govinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <govinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "FOI-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" <FOI-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2006 09:55:38 -0400

DOJ says Bush signing statements record similar to predecessors
Joe Shaulis at 1:06 PM ET

[JURIST] A lawyer for the US Department of Justice [official website] on 
Tuesday defended President Bush's frequent use of signing statements [Wikipedia 
backgrounder; 1993 DOJ backgrounder] to interpret legislation passed by 
Congress, in testimony before the US Senate Judiciary Committee [official 
website]. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Michelle E. Boardman testified 
during the committee's hearing on signing statements [committee materials] that 
presidents dating to James Monroe have used the statements to express 
constitutional concerns about legislation. President Bush's use of the 
technique is "indistinguishable" from that of previous presidents, according to 
Boardman's prepared remarks [text], and the number of statements Bush has 
issued "is in keeping with the number issued by every President during the past 
quarter century." She continued:

It is important to establish at the outset what presidential signing statements 
are not: an attempt to "cherry-pick" among the parts of a duly enacted law that 
the President will choose to follow, or an attempt unilaterally to redefine 
what the law is after its enactment. Presidential signing statements are, 
rather, a statement by the President explaining his interpretation of and 
responsibilities under the law, and they are therefore an essential part of the 
constitutional dialogue between the branches that has been a part of the 
etiquette of government since the early days of the Republic.
Although President Bush has not yet vetoed a bill, he has attached signing 
statements to over 750 laws [Boston Globe report and examples], including one 
construing a ban on the cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees [JURIST 
report]. That statement was criticized by fellow Republicans in Congress 
[JURIST report].

Critics of the procedure, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Arlen 
Specter (R-PA) [official website] and ranking Democrat Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 
[official website; statement] have said that Bush's signing statements 
impermissibly intrude upon Congress's power to write and enact laws under 
Article I of the Constitution [text], which vests "[a]ll legislative powers 
herein granted" in Congress. Earlier this month, the American Bar Association 
announced a bipartisan investigation [JURIST report; ABA press release] of 
Bush's use of signing statements. The White House on Tuesday defended the 
president's use of signing statements [press briefing transcript], with Press 
Secretary Tony Snow saying that the president "is enjoined by the Constitution 
dutifully to carry out the laws and to execute the laws of the United States. 
So those -- what the signing statements are designed to do is to make sure that 
both of those duties are kept in balance, and that the President is, in fact, 
faithfully executing the laws."

Patrice McDermott, Director
202-332-OPEN (6736)


Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

18 CFR Part 388

[Docket No. RM06-24-000; Order No. 683]

Critical Energy Infrastructure Information

Issued September 21, 2006.
AGENCY: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) is issuing this 
final rule amending its regulations for gaining access to Critical Energy 
Infrastructure Information (CEII). The definition of CEII is being clarified to 
exclude information that the Commission never intended to be deemed as 
containing critical infrastructure information. In addition, procedural changes 
are being made based on over three years experience processing CEII requests. 
These changes
simplify the procedures for obtaining access to CEII without increasing 
vulnerability of the energy infrastructure.

DATES: Effective Date: The rule will become effective November 2, 2006.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Teresina A. Stasko, Office of the General 
Counsel, GC-13, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE., 
Washington, DC 20426; 202-502-8317.


    Before Commissioners: Joseph T. Kelliher, Chairman; Suedeen G. Kelly, Marc 
Spitzer, Philip D. Moeller, and Jon Wellinghoff.

    1. It has been over three years since the Commission issued its final order 
on Critical Energy Infrastructure Information (CEII). See Critical Energy 
Infrastructure Information, Order No. 630, 68 FR 9857 (Mar. 3, 2003), FERC 
Stats. & Regs. ] 31,140 (2003); order on reh'g, Order No. 630-A, 68 FR 46456 
(Aug. 6, 2003), FERC Stats. & Regs. ] 31,147 (2003). Since the issuance of 
Order No. 630, the Commission has continually monitored and evaluated the 
effectiveness of the CEII
process. The most recent review indicates that changes are needed to assure the 
rules work in the manner intended.

    2. As explained below, the Commission makes strictly procedural changes in 
this instant and final rule. In a notice of proposed rulemaking in Docket No. 
RM06-23-000, which is being issued concurrently with this final rule, the 
Commission proposes other changes, which require notice and comment. See 5 
U.S.C. 553 (2000).

    3. In this final rule the Commission clarifies and limits the definition of 
CEII to minimize the amount of information which qualifies as CEII, and makes 
the following changes to its regulations:
(1) The definition of CEII is clarified; and
(2) requesters are required to submit executed non-disclosure agreements (NDA) 
with their requests.

In addition, the Commission is providing notice that, for CEII requests, the 
notice and opportunity to comment on a request will be combined with the notice 
of release. The Commission further takes this opportunity to reiterate its 
requirement that submitters segregate CEII from other information and file as 
CEII only information which truly warrants being kept from public access. 
Accordingly, this rule is being issued as an instant and final rule because it 
only concerns procedural matters. See 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(A) (2000).

    4. In a notice of proposed rulemaking in Docket No. RM06-23-000 issued 
concurrently with this final rule, the Commission seeks comments on, among 
other things: (1) Revisions to its regulations regarding CEII requests; (2) the 
limited portions of various forms and reports the Commission now defines as 
containing CEII; and (3) its proposal to
abolish the non-Internet public (NIP) designation.

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