Area Rivers May Get Federal Aid
Bedard, Paul, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
The cleaned-up Potomac River and the muddy Anacostia River are among the nation's waterways President Clinton will consider for a new program aimed at rewarding communities for their cleanup and restoration projects, according to officials.
As the nation and the White House celebrated the 27th annual Earth Day yesterday, the administration said it would look at Washington's rivers as it puts together a list of 10 waterways for the American Heritage Rivers program.
The president plans to make his choices by Labor Day, rewarding 10 rivers and their communities with promises to redirect already appropriated money to restoration and cleanup programs and initiatives to reduce red tape delaying those programs.
The program does not call for new federal regulations that will curb growth or usage on the rivers, an official said. That decision will be left to local communities, which control the riverbanks.
Environmentalists helping the administration with its program said the Potomac is likely to be put on the list and the Anacostia stands a good chance to join the larger waterway.
"There's a fairly high likelihood either of these could be picked because they have support from the city and the nearby suburbs," said Steve Moyer, Trout Unlimited's government relations director.
"We're really hopeful the Potomac will be put on the list," said a spokeswoman for Rep. Albert R. Wynn, the Democrat who represents Prince George's County communities on the Anacostia and Potomac.
Administration officials said the Potomac and Anacostia in the Washington area might be put together as a single "area" that would get the special attention in the developing program.
While administration officials refused to say either river is guaranteed a spot in the the American Heritage Rivers program, they said they were favorites of the Clintons and the Gores and noted that the vice president and president have been in the forefront of efforts to rebuild the Potomac's parallel Chesapeake & Ohio Canal after two recent floods. …