Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

GOP Queen Bee Can Still Put Sting on River Plans

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

GOP Queen Bee Can Still Put Sting on River Plans

Article excerpt

Congresswoman Tillie Fowler says she has too much on her

plate to spend time worrying about whether all of the St. Johns

River that flows through Jacksonville remains designated an

American Heritage River.

That's great news for the river.

The St. Johns will be a lot better off if Fowler keeps filling

her plate with heaping portions of Bosnia or France or whatever

country she's trotting off to next and leaves the river alone.

As you know, President Clinton named the St. Johns one of 14

American Heritage Rivers earlier this summer.

Fowler was against the designation from the beginning, but a

formal letter she wrote asking that the part of the river in her

congressional district be excluded missed the deadline set by

the federal agency overseeing the program.

That's left some confusion as to whether all of the river in

Duval County carries the designation.

An official with the Council on Environmental Quality told a

Times-Union reporter last week that because of the missed

deadline, the part of the river in Fowler's district was

included.

Quite frankly, to have it otherwise would be plain stupid.

For example, if the part of the river in Fowler's district were

removed, the Jacksonville Landing, which is in Corrine Brown's

district, would be facing an American Heritage River. On the

opposite bank, the river flowing by the Southbank Riverwalk

wouldn't be a part of the program.

The same goes for Jacksonville Naval Air Station -- American

Heritage River; across the river, no.

Fowler refuses to say whether she will make a stink about the

designation and push further to have her district removed.

There are solid reasons for Fowler to give up the battle.

Rivers carrying the American Heritage River designation likely

will receive top priority in getting federal funds for projects

that will help preserve and clean up the rivers. …

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