[Graphic Version]

For Immediate Release
May 18, 1997
Contact: Brian Johnson 202-456-6224

White House Releases American Heritage Rivers Proposal For Public Comment

Today, the Administration released the proposed program for the American Heritage Rivers initiative, President Clinton's new program to help communities revitalize and protect the cultural, historical and environmental values of their rivers. President Clinton announced American Heritage Rivers in his State of the Union Address on February 4.

Rivers have always been an integral part of our nation's history -- providing opportunities for commerce, routes for exploration, inspiration for ideas and culture, means of recreation and sources of drinking water. American Heritage Rivers is designed to help communities protect their river corridors in ways that integrate natural resource conservation and economic development with the preservation of historical and cultural values.

Today's release outlines a draft structure of the program, including details regarding how communities can nominate stretches of river, the criteria that will be important in choosing rivers, the process for selection and the implementation of the program itself.

"Across America, citizens are working to better their cities and towns by restoring the legacy of their rivers," said Kathleen A. McGinty, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. "President Clinton's American Heritage Rivers initiative will enhance those efforts and help local communities realize their own vision of the future."

Dozens of communities are expected to pursue nominations. The President will designate rivers where communities have demonstrated, through a one-stop application process, that local partnerships are in place to protect distinctive qualities of their river and its surroundings.

The published draft American Heritage Rivers initiative is the result of coordinated work among 13 federal agencies and consultation with members of the public in a series of 12 meetings across the country. The Council on Environmental Quality, which chairs the Cabinet group developing the program, published the proposal for public comment in the Federal Register today. The public has until June 9 to comment. At that time, the Cabinet will review the comments and make final recommendations to the President. After the program design is finalized, communities will be asked to submit nominations for designation. President Clinton will designate ten rivers this year.

Copies of the Federal Register notice can be obtained by calling the Council on Environmental Quality at 202-456-6224, or on the Internet at www.whitehouse.gov/CEQ or www.epa.gov/OWOW/heritage/rivers.html.

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