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From the Headlines: Hundreds, Still Angry over Blueways Designation, Turn out for Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 30, 2013 - Yesterday, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power held a field hearing in West Plains, Missouri on “Stopping Federal Land and Water Grabs: Protecting Property Rights from Washington, DC Edicts.” The hearing examined the harmful effects of the Obama Administration’s National Blueways Order that imposes a unilateral federal watershed designation process with questionable legal authorities, little to no community input, and a lack of transparency.

Hundreds, still angry over Blueways designation, turn out for hearing
Springfield-News Leader
Jonathan Shorman

The program may be on hold, but the anger is not. Hundreds of people turned out Monday afternoon to show their frustration with the Blueways program at a hearing of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Water and Power. Witnesses who testified, mainly elected officials from Missouri and Arkansas, listed a litany of concerns about the program.

Though the Blueways program has been put on hold, witnesses continued to express fears that the federal government was threatening private property…

“While the government has withdrawn the Blueways initiative, we are quite certain they will regroup and devise a new plan by a different name to accomplish their hidden agenda,” said Jerry King, with Voice of the Ozarks, a group dedicated to protecting waterway and public land rights.

Rep. Smith: The Rivers are too Important to be Entrusted to Government
Ozark First
Lindsey Clein

A failed plan to make the Ozarks part of the National Blueways Designation System has many people seeing red and hundreds of concerned citizens packed the West Plains Civic Center Monday to hear from Congressmen Billy Long and Jason Smith

The Department of the Interior rescinded its designation efforts after a lot of local outcry, but citizens here in Missouri and Arkansas fear they aren't in the clear yet.

Congressmen Long and Smith requested a field hearing in West Plains to help the community better understand what's going on with the National Blueways Designation System.

The two believe it's outrageous that the effort was put in place in January without local input.

Congressional hearing in West Plains scrutinizes National Blueway process
Linda Russell

But a congressional subcommittee still wanted to hear from folks in the watershed, concerned with the process. "This is how congress is supposed to work. This is exactly how it's supposed to work," said Rep. Billy Long.

The Department of the Interior says the program was designed to promote and conserve the economic, recreational, and natural values of healthy river systems. But opponents say program documents call for a 180 foot vegetative buffer along rivers, seizure of farm land, and forcing farmers to follow conservation plans.

Field hearing showcases hostility to suspended Blueways program
Annie Snider

McClintock and Smith also took aim at the program's manager, senior adviser to the Interior secretary Rebecca Wodder. Wodder, who previously served as CEO of the environmental group American Rivers, was nominated by President Obama to be Interior assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks, but her nomination was withdrawn over Republican opposition to her prior advocacy on hydraulic fracturing, mountaintop removal and other issues.

Wodder was invited to testify at yesterday's hearing but did not attend.

Ozark Radio News Interviews Reps. Smith, Long, McClintock
Ozark Network
Ed Button

US Representatives Jason Smith of Missouri’s 8th District, Billy Long of Missouri’s 7th District, and Rep. Tom McClintock of California’s 4th District are in West Plains for a Congressional Hearing Monday afternoon at the West Plains Civic Center.

News Director Ed Button met with the three Congressmen and talked about the meeting, and other issues: Click here to listen.


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