U.S. Senator John Boozman, along with Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-1), Tim Griffin, (AR-2), Steve Womack (AR-3), and Tom Cotton (AR-4), reacted to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell's announcement that the Interior Department will rescind its designation of the White River as a National Blueway:
"We all agree that we should work to protect our waterways, but a new federal Blueway program is not necessary to improve the cooperation of federal and state agencies on the management of the White River. This designation occurred without a formal process -- no public comment, lack of transparency from the federal government and without the broad support of Arkansans. We are happy to see that Secretary Jewell reviewed the program and heard the concerns of our citizens," Boozman said.
"I am pleased Secretary Jewell has heard the voice of the people of Arkansas' First District in her decision to rescind the National Blueway designation for the White River. This designation, conducted without input from local leaders nor sufficient detail as to the private property implications of its implementation, was roundly rejected by citizens back home. I am proud to have been able to represent their voice on this matter," said Crawford.
"I applaud Secretary Jewell for listening to Arkansans' concerns about the National Blueways System," said Griffin. "The questions we've raised about the program remain, however, and I look forward to receiving answers so that we can fully understand its impact on communities around the country."
"State and local stakeholders could not have been more clear: they did not want to be a part of the National Blueway System," said Womack. "This partnership would have fallen flat without support from all involved parties, especially Arkansans who have the White River in their backyards, and I'm glad their voices were heard and that the Blueway designation has been rescinded."
"I am encouraged that Secretary Jewell has withdrawn the National Blueways designation. However, today's decision fails to address the underlying concerns we raised in the first place," said Cotton. "I await Secretary Jewell's response to our previous request for additional details on the Blueways funding and operations so we can prevent further designations from occurring in Arkansas in the future."
Senator Boozman and Representatives Crawford (AR-01), Griffin (AR-02), Womack (AR-03), and Cotton (AR-04) sent a letter with Members of the Missouri delegation last week to Secretary Jewell underscoring concerns with the designation and seeking answers regarding opt-out eligibility for states. Following an overwhelming public backlash, Secretary Jewell issued the statement below rescinding the designation earlier today.