Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

St. Johns Plan Faces Opposition

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

St. Johns Plan Faces Opposition

Article excerpt

The St. Johns River Water Management District has put on hold a

plan to seek designation of the St. Johns River as one of the

first 10 streams named under the Clinton Administration's

American Heritage Rivers initiative.

But political opponents of the plan, in Florida and the U.S.

Congress, have vowed to block not only the SJRWMD's application

but have introduced legislation to kill the program itself.

In the face of all that, the district's board last week voted

to delay any decision on whether to proceed.

"The comment period has been extended to mid-August and

mid-September," district spokesman Pat McSweeny said. "Once the

comment period is over, we can reconsider."

The program, announced last February, ostensibly would help

selected rivers and their management or other community groups

obtain federal funding for improvements like riverfront urban

renewal, boat ramps, marinas and other public access and

development of cultural and historic resources.

But opponents speaking at four public meetings held last month

in Jacksonville, Palatka, Sanford and Melbourne charged that the

proposal is nothing but a scheme by the federal government and

environmental groups to restrict development and public access

on the 310-milelong river.

A spokesmen for the Council on Environmental Quality at the

White House told the Times-Union several weeks ago that details

on exactly how the program would work are currently being

formulated. That apparently is a worry for many.

"We have concerns about the details," McSweeny said.

"Obviously, if it turns out that it means more regulation, we

will not pursue it. We saw it as a potential to work with local

communities. Instead of unity, it may be a cause of more

discord."

One of the most discordant is State Rep. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.