Opponents of River Plan Assail Board

By Kinner, Derek L. | The Florida Times Union, November 12, 1997 | Go to article overview
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Opponents of River Plan Assail Board

Kinner, Derek L., The Florida Times Union

PALATKA -- The decision was quick and some of the response


Instead of submitting their own application, St. Johns River

Water Management District board members voted yesterday to leave

it up to local elected officials or boards to pursue an American

Heritage River designation for the St. Johns River.

Supporters of the designation saw that as good news. Water

district officials have said a nomination will carry more clout

in Washington if it comes from a high-ranking elected official,

such as Jacksonville's mayor, than from the district.

Board members decided the district only would provide

technical assistance and information to whatever community

decides to apply for the designation.

Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney has said he intends to seek

the designation.

But after yesterday's vote, several people in the audience

began shouting because they did not get a chance to speak.

Some called the board members Communists, while others said

the designation would somehow give the United Nations control

over the St. Johns River, a notion board member Reid Hughes said

was ridiculous. The notion was not explained.

While most board members said they would like to see the river

get the federal designation -- which according to President

Clinton would help enhance and preserve economic, historic,

environmental and cultural aspects of the river -- members will

have little to do with the final outcome.

Still, the audience insisted on speaking.

Board member Kathy Chinoy agreed with other members to let

the public speak, but she tersely added: "I resent the use of

the word Communist."

Clinton called for the program in February, saying it would

help communities get special consideration when applying for

federal money to preserve different aspects of their rivers.

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