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Congressman Jason Smith

Representing the 8th District of Missouri

Capitol Report: Common Sense Prevails With Blueways Designation Reversal

Jul 12, 2013
Weekly Capitol Report

By now I am sure you have heard the news that the Department of the Interior has rescinded the National Blueways designation in Missouri and Arkansas. This is a tremendous victory for common sense and it proves that Washington bureaucrats will listen to Missourians if we protest loudly enough. In a time where common sense is not so common, I could not be more thrilled to have the common sense concerns of families who live in the White River Watershed prevail over environmental extremists.

While the Blueways System is gone from Missouri, I remain vigilant to ensure it does not return. Fighting the National Blueways designation was a top priority of mine once I was sworn into Congress on June 5th. Moving forward I will continue efforts to protect the rights of private property owners and be a check on the Obama Interior Department that does not understand or appreciate rural Missouri.

It’s disturbing to know that a federal agency will impose an initiative like the Blueways System, with open-ended guidelines, no Congressional oversight, no local input, and no vote of the people. I reject the Department of the Interior’s attempts to call this a “local initiative” while local groups and governments in Southern Missouri were excluded from the process. The absence of transparency by the Department of the Interior on this issue has only fueled our concerns that this is nothing more than an attempt by a federal agency to gain more control over regulating our land.

In mid-June I sent a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to voice strong concern over the lack of local input for the Blueways Designation and asked for Secretarial Order 3321, which named the White River watershed as a National Blueways, to be rescinded. On July 3, the Blueways Designation was rescinded by the Interior Department. In the House of Representatives, I will be holding the Obama Interior Department’s feet to the fire.  This Interior Department seems intent on dismissing local concerns and pushing a radical environmental agenda. In the coming days and weeks I will continue asking why the Blueways designation was imposed on my constituents and I will be working to prevent future such designations.

I want to thank the thousands of grassroots supporters who stayed in close contact with my office to offer assistance and help overturn this egregious violation of private property rights. Know that I will stand shoulder to shoulder with you in the fight to keep Washington from regulating our land and way of life. The rights of private property owners must be protected.