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Second Regular Session

Sixty-first General Assembly

LLS NO. R98­0191.01 DHG


BY REPRESENTATIVES Musgrave, Entz, and Young;

also SENATOR Ament.



WHEREAS, The Clinton Administration announced the intent to initiate the American Heritage Rivers Initiative by executive order in the Federal Register on May 19, 1997, and reissued the order on June 20, 1997, without Congressional approval; and

WHEREAS, The American Heritage Rivers Initiative (AHRI) would designate ten American waterways as "Heritage Rivers", each to be overseen by a "River Navigator" appointed by the President at a salary of $100,000 per year, who would coordinate the efforts of thirteen federal agencies that would, in turn, advise local communities on river restoration projects; and

WHEREAS, Although the AHRI has been promoted by the Administration as a "grassroots", "bottom-up" initiative, the designation of rivers and river segments for the program and the selection of the River Navigator exclude any local input; and

WHEREAS, The authority asserted by the Executive Branch to initiate the AHRI through executive order is without constitutional basis and circumvents the legislative process; and

WHEREAS, The AHRI is not needed because, as was noted in the Federal Register announcement, "Communities across America are working to revitalize their waterfronts and to enhance the historic, cultural, recreational, economic, public health, and environmental values of their rivers"; and

WHEREAS, Such community­based efforts, such as the Yampa, Arkansas, and South Platte Riverfront projects in Colorado, have enjoyed tremendous success and have avoided the costs and inefficiencies associated with the involvement of thirteen federal agencies; and

WHEREAS, The intrusion of a "River Navigator", who is envisioned under the AHRI to be the final arbiter over decisions related to Heritage Rivers, into local land use and water resource decision­making effectively usurps local control and stifles local decision­making and may lead to de facto federal land use and water allocation regulations without any statutory authority; and

WHEREAS, Such intrusion by the "River Navigator" could well lead to inappropriate influence on decision­making regarding the distribution of federal funds; and

WHEREAS, Although the AHRI program is purported to be voluntary, no provision in the AHRI prevents a selection council from nominating a river over the objections of private landowners based on the support of entities in the area that have no property or economic interests in the river basin; and

WHEREAS, The AHRI is contrary to the current Administration's "Reinventing Government" program, which includes the principles of less government and less cost to the taxpayer; now, therefore,

Be It Resolved by the House of Representatives of the Sixty­first General Assembly of the State of Colorado, the Senate concurring herein:

1.  That we, the members of the Colorado General Assembly, hereby request that no rivers in Colorado be designated as "Heritage Rivers" under the American Heritage Rivers Initiative;

2.  That we, the members of the Colorado General Assembly, hereby request the withdrawal of the American Heritage Rivers Initiative;

3.  That we, the members of the Colorado General Assembly, hereby request the Congress of the United States to withhold funding for the implementation of the American Heritage Rivers Initiative.

Be It Further Resolved, That copies of this resolution be sent to each member of Colorado's Congressional delegation.