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Chairman Hastings Seeks Further Information on Interior Department's National Blueways Order


WASHINGTON, D.C., June 28, 2013 - House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) today sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell seeking further information about the implementation of the National Blueways Secretarial Order. Signed by Secretary Salazar in 2012, this Order establishes a National Blueways System and gives authority to the Secretary to designate entire watersheds as “National Blueways.” There are growing concerns that the Order has the potential to impose land and water use restrictions and undermine property rights.

Numerous Members of the House and Senate have expressed concerns that this designation process could happen with no public input, no consultation, and little transparency. Recent testimony heard by the Subcommittee on Water and Power raised further concerns about the secrecy behind potential designations and lack of public involvement.

Given the vast implications that such an order could have on communities, local conservation efforts, and private property rights across the nation, as well as its impact on more than a century of federal deference to state water law, delays in providing answers and information will only fuel uncertainty and jeopardize planning for localized conservation efforts and economic growth,” wrote Chairman Hastings in the letter.

In the letter, Chairman Hastings asks for explanations about the designation process, the makeup of the National Blueways Committee, the potential for federal land acquisition under the Order, and the involvement of Department of the Interior Senior Advisor Rebecca Wodder, who was forced to withdraw her nomination as Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks due to her support of controversial policies while serving as CEO of American Rivers.

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