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Congressman Jason Smith

Representing the 8th District of Missouri

Smith and Long Secure Field Hearing to Examine Blueways, Private Property Rights

Jul 15, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON  – U.S. Representative Jason Smith (MO-8) and U.S. Representative Billy Long (MO-7) today announced the House Natural Resources Committee will conduct a field hearing in West Plains, Missouri, on Monday, July 29th, to learn how the National Blueways System designation was initially imposed on the White River watershed in Missouri and Arkansas and how future designations can be prevented.

The July 29th hearing will be titled, Stopping Federal Land and Water Grabs: Protecting Property Rights from Washington, DC Edicts. The hearing will be open to the public on a first come, first serve seating basis. The hearing will begin at 1:00 p.m. in the Theater of the West Plains Civic Center, 110 St. Louis St., in West Plains, Missouri.

“The West Plains hearing will give private property owners the opportunity to express their concerns with the Blueways designation and other federal land and water programs. The hearing will be Missouri’s chance to hold the Obama Interior Department’s feet to the fire and finally get answers to how the Blueways System originated,” said Smith. “As a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, I take seriously my responsibility to advocate for private property rights and prevent new federal land designations. Honestly, the Blueways System is just the tip of the iceberg in the Obama Administration’s assault on rural Missouri.”

“Earlier this month Southwest Missourians won an important victory when the U.S. Department of the Interior rescinded the National Blueway designation for the White River watershed.  There are still unanswered questions about the Interior Department’s Blueway program and their actions. We need these questions answered to help other states should the department take similar action on other rivers and watersheds across our nation.  I look forward to this hearing and hope it helps rein in some of these aggressive actions of the executive branch,” Long said.    

In the letter requesting the field hearing, Smith and Long pointed to the following questions the Department of the Interior needs to answer: (1) how states can opt-out of the Blueways program; (2) how much the program costs and how the Department is paying for it; (3) the legal authority that the Administration is using to justify the unilateral creation of this program; (4) the alleged benefits of the program; and (5) an explanation for the insufficient, closed-door review process that was used to justify the White River designation.