CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 3113 on Tuesday, September 22, 2009, under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. H.R. 3113 was introduced on July 7, 2009, by Rep. Rahall (D-WV) and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which held a mark-up and reported the bill, as amended, by unanimous consent on September 10, 2009.
H.R. 3113 would require the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a study of a 5-mile segment of the Elk River in West Virginia and determine whether the segment is suitable for designation as a Wild and Scenic River. The bill would also authorize funding for the study. The study would have to be complete within three years after funds were made available.
The Wild and Scenic Rivers System was created to protect the natural characteristics of the nation's "outstanding" free flowing rivers and their immediate surrounding environments. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act provides three separate designations for rivers: wild, scenic, or recreational. According to the National Wild and Scenic River System, a river, or section of river, is designated wild if it is free of impoundments, has primitive shorelines, is only accessible by trails, and has unpolluted waters. Scenic rivers have largely undeveloped shorelines, may be accessible by roads in places, and are more developed than wild rivers. Rivers are designated as recreational if they are readily accessible by road, have some development along the shoreline, and may have had some impoundment or diversion (like a dam) in the past. If a river receives a Wild and Scenic River designation, no new dams may be constructed and federally assisted water resource development projects would not be allowed. Specifically, the designation prohibits federal construction of dams or other facilities that endanger the free flow and/or resource value of the river.
According to CBO, enacting H.R. 3113 would cost "about $300,000 over the next three years."