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gsneegas at juno_com (Garold W. Sneegas): NANFA-- Re: Action! American Heritage Rivers

>We're forwarding this alert from the National Audubon Society.  For 
>more information, contact Mac Blewer at 202-861-2242 or Patty
>Pendergast -National Audubon Society - CT state office 860-526-4686
>email ppendergast at audubon_org
>-- CWN Staff
>August 14, 1997
>Just because it's August and we're in the middle of the Congressional
>recess doesn't mean there isn't timely work to be done!
>The American Heritage Rivers Initiative, a proposed federal initiative
>which will support communities' efforts to revitalize their rivers and
>local economies, has recently fallen victim to the rhetoric and
>misinformation of the property rights movement.  Flooded by letters
>opposing the Initiative, the Federal Government is considering 
>aborting this valuable program.
>The proposed initiative is river conservation in the broadest sense -
>instead of new regulations and mandates, it will provide agency
>assistance, expertise and allocations focusing on supporting local
>projects in community revitalization, rural conservation, historic
>preservation, natural resource protection, river restoration and
>sustainable development.  Through bolstering efforts to revitalize 
>river communities on 10 selected rivers the president wants to promote 
>direct federal partnership with community generated projects as a tool
>"reinvent government".  Federal agencies will focus support for local
>actions to enhance and protect river resources in a way that 
>integrates natural resource protection, economic development and 
>the preservation of historic and cultural values.
>The 10 designated American Heritage Rivers will be elevated in status
>for already existing federal programs and moneys.  The players in this
>interagency effort are Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense,
>Energy, Interior, Justice, and Housing and Urban Development, EPA, the
>Advisory council on Historic Preservation, the U.S.  Army Corps of
>Engineers and the National Endowment for the Humanities. No new funds
>have been earmarked for this initiative.
>The two basic components of the program are:
>*Enhanced services and program delivery to designated rivers and river
>communities; and *Improved delivery of services and information.
>The Administration believes that the success of this initiative will 
>lie in community led, flexible, coordinated, broad, partnership-based
>action oriented principles.
>Each designated river will have a case worker (a River Navigator) to
>work with local communities to provide and simplify access to federal
>agencies and their existing programs.
>There will be a "talent bank" and web page formed to not only increase
>access to federal programs, but to catalogue all activities, projects,
>and expertise on each designated river to foster inter watershed
>Over the last few weeks a wave of opposition has risen to the program
>based largely on fear of a U.N. plot to grab lands and strip away
>individual rights and liberties.  Critics say that this program would
>restrict property rights by injecting federal influence in to 
>watershed management decisions.  Others say it is a federal land grab
>promoting socialism and communism... Regardless of rationale, their
voices >have been heard.  The public hearing period has been extended
once and the
>opposition has used their time effectively, flooding the Council with
>letters against the program.  Representative Don Young (R-AK) has 
>asked for another extension of the public comment period and if that
>the Administration will be forced to abandon the program.
>Representative Helen Chenoweth (R-ID) has also introduced HR 1842, a
>bill which would cut all funding for the American Heritage Rivers
>Look at a favorite river near you.  It to may become an American
>Heritage River.  Think of the cleaner water, easier access, fish
>ladders, lower impact ecotourism, and the other potential projects 
>river communities could gain and initiate with an elevated status for 
>federal assistance.  If we do not support the program for the
>we will lose what will be a very effective tool for riverine habitat
>protection.  Urgent action is needed today!  Thank you for your help!
>**Please send personal letters of support and contact Vice-President 
>Al Gore by August 20 at: Vice President Al Gore, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. 
>NW Washington, DC 20500 (202) 456-1111 (202) 228-2424 (fax) or (202)
456-7044 (fax)and to Katie McGinty, Chair, CEQ, 722 Jackson Place,
>Washington, DC 20503 (202) 395-5750 (202) 456-2710 (fax) or (202)
>456-6546 (fax)
>To receive information on the program, call 1-888-40-RIVER or through
>the Internet at: www.epa.gov/rivers contact Patty Pendergast -National
>Audubon Society - CT state office 860-526-4686 email
>ppendergast at audubon_org and Chad Smith, American Rivers, 1025 Vermont

>Ave. NW Suite 720 Washington, DC 20005 (202) 547-6900 e-mail:
>chadsmth at amrivers_org
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>Kathy Nemsick           I       Merritt Frey
>National Coordinator    I       Outreach Coordinator
>202-289-2395            I       202-289-2421
>---- End of mail text
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