FRWA note: Follow the Bill Progress here: S.617 Progress
Just two weeks after reintroducing the bill in the Senate, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) applauded the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday for passing the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic River Act – legislation Murphy has sponsored since serving in the House of Representatives that would create a U.S. National Park Service protective designation for the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook. The bill, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) and cosponsored by U.S. Representative John Larson (CT-1), now awaits passage in the Senate.
“Connecticut residents have spent more than a decade working hard to protect the Farmington River and Salmon Brook, and today’s passage is proof that my colleagues in Washington are paying attention,” said Murphy. “We’re now another step closer to getting this bill signed into law. I won’t stop fighting until we do.”
“Today’s passage is great news for all of us who have been tirelessly fighting to protect and preserve this truly wild and scenic treasure. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this bill across the finish line.”
With protective designation as a “wild and scenic river,” the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook – which runs through ten Connecticut towns – could receive as much as $100,000 in federal funding to assist volunteers and officials with conservation efforts. The upper portion of the river was given protected status in 1994.
Murphy, Esty, Blumenthal, and Larson have continuously pushed for the Lower Farmington River’s Wild & Scenic designation. Last year, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic River Act for the first time ever. Former U.S. Representative Nancy Johnson, who was Murphy’s predecessor in the U.S. House of Representatives, helped enact legislation that initiated the study on which the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic River Act is based. The study was completed in 2011 and confirmed the suitability of designating the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook as Wild & Scenic.