Environmental Protection

Bill Opposed for Cutting Wild and Scenic River Protections

American Rivers strongly oppose a bill that was recently introduced by Representative Tom McClintock (R-CA). If this bill is passed, Wind and Scenic River protections would be removed from a section of the Merced River, which has been protected since 1968.

Rivers in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Systems are considered national treasures, but only one quarter of one percent of the nation’s rivers are preserved under the Act. The Merced River, currently protected by the act, was designated only after hard-fought negotiations between conservationists and water users to determine the precise sections of the river that would be protected.

“For decades California has struggled between water resource development and protection of its finest rivers and stunning landscapes,” said Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers. “This bill would abandon the commitment California’s leaders made to protect one of the Golden State’s most iconic rivers.”

“American Rivers strongly opposes Representative McClintock’s legislation which would not only harm the Merced River, but runs roughshod over the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, one of our nation’s most important laws for safeguarding healthy rivers, clean water, and wildlife habitat,” said Irvin.

The bill has been proposed in order to pursue raising a spillway at New Exchequer Dam and inundate almost a mile of one of California’s last, best, free-flowing rivers. If the bill is successful, this would be the first time a federal Wild and Scenic River has been de-designated for the raising of a dam.

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