Congressman

Cynthia Lummis

Representing Wyoming

Wyoming Expert Testifies On Blueways Before House Committee

Lummis invites Shoshone Conservation District Supervisor Russell Boardman to shed light on possible harm from a Blueways designation in Wyoming.

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Washington, Apr 26, 2013 | Christine D'Amico ((202) 225-2311) | comments
On Thursday, U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo) invited a Wyoming witness to testify at a Natural Resources Committee oversight hearing entitled, “Federal Impediments to Water Rights, Job Creation and Recreation: A Local Perspective.” Russell Boardman is an elected Supervisor of the Shoshone Conservation District and resident of Frannie, Wyoming. He testified against the designation of the Yellowstone River Watershed as a “National Blueway” pursuant to former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s Secretarial Order creating a “National Blueways System.”
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WASHINGTON – On Thursday, U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo) invited a Wyoming witness to testify at a Natural Resources Committee oversight hearing entitled, “Federal Impediments to Water Rights, Job Creation and Recreation: A Local Perspective.”  Russell Boardman is an elected Supervisor of the Shoshone Conservation District and resident of Frannie, Wyoming.  He testified against the designation of the Yellowstone River Watershed as a “National Blueway” pursuant to former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s Secretarial Order creating a “National Blueways System.”

“The Blueways designation is unnecessary,” Boardman said.  “There are already locally driven watershed efforts in place to address multiple resource issues.  Real conservation occurs at the grassroots level.  Secretarial orders such as this do nothing but detract from thoughtful informed processes that result in quality resource management.  I don’t see how we call designation of 44 million acres without any public notice or input community driven conservation.”

At the hearing, Boardman testified that Wyoming conservation districts have received no notice whatsoever from the Department of the Interior that the Yellowstone River might be designated as a Blueway despite an Interior official’s recent promotion of the designation to an audience in Montana.  Boardman cited the redundancy of the Secretarial Order’s goal to promote sound water management, which Wyoming conservation districts already perform effectively and responsibility through a grassroots, multiple-use approach.  Rep. Lummis and Mr. Boardman discussed the possible negative consequences of a Blueways designation of the Yellowstone River, including more federal regulation and land acquisition in the 44 million acre watershed, nearly 22 million of which are in Wyoming.  Rep. Lummis praised Boardman’s viewpoint.

“In Wyoming, a conservation district supervisor helps manage the lifeblood of our communities—our water,” Rep. Lummis said. “Mr. Boardman is one of the five officials elected to represent his local conservation district, one of the 34 districts we have in Wyoming to manage our limited water supply.  He is constantly dealing with water quality and delivery under Wyoming’s multiple-use tradition.  He has to consider agriculture, municipal needs, hydropower, conservation and recreation, among other things, and shouldn’t be hampered by any more federal intrusion.  His boots-on-the-ground perspective—including his experience as a rancher, educator and private landowner—was so important for this Committee to hear as we hold Interior’s feet to the fire on the Blueways order.  I am delighted that Mr. Boardman took the time to travel to Washington and share his perspective and insight.”

Also at the hearing, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) remarked that California waterways could benefit from management under the National Blueways program.  "If you don't want it in Wyoming – if anyone in the Interior Department is listening – bring it to California, because we've been trying to do that," Huffman said.  Lummis replied, "It's all yours, baby."

Click HERE to watch Mr. Boardman’s opening testimony: http://youtu.be/XVUGR-HoTpQ

Click HERE to watch an exchange between Rep. Lummis and Mr. Boardman on the Blueways designation: http://youtu.be/FtocofXpXG4

Click HERE to read Mr. Boardman’s full testimony to the committee: http://naturalresources.house.gov/uploadedfiles/boardmantestimony04-25-13.pdf

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