|00:00:00||ARE NOT WILD AND SCENIC JUST BECAUSE THEY'RE IN AN URBAN AREA.|
|00:00:07||WE HAVE A BLACKSTONE RIVER VALLEY HERITAGE CORRIDOR THAT THE RIVER THAT RUNS RIGHT INTO PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, AND YOU HAVE A VERY URBAN RIVER, WELL, I WILL TELL YOU IT IS RIGHT IN DOWNTOWN PROVIDENCE.|
|00:00:24||AND EVERY WEEKEND, YOU HAVE ROUGHLY 250,000 PEOPLE FROM MY STATE DESCEND ON DOWNTOWN PROVIDENCE DURING THE WEEKEND IN ORDER TO WATCH THE WATER FIRE, BECAUSE IT IS ONE OF THE GREAT ACTIVITIES ALONG THE RIVERFRONT THAT TAKES PLACE THAT DRAWS PEOPLE DOWN TO THE RIVERFRONT EVERY WEEKEND DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS AND THE SPRING MONTHS AND FALL MONTHS.|
|00:00:52||WE ALSO HAVE THE CHILDREN FROM CENTRAL FALSE AND PROVIDENCE WHO -- CENTRAL FALLS WOULDN'T KNOW THEY LIVE NEAR A RIVER BECAUSE MOST OF IT IS OVERGROWN AND THEY LIVE MERELY 20 YARDS FROM THE RIVER.|
|00:01:11||AND YET, A LOT OF THAT IS NOW BEING OPENED UP AND THEY ARE NOW GAINING ACCESS TO IT.|
|00:01:14||AND BECAUSE OF THE CLEAN WATER ACT THAT WAS PASSED IN THE LATE 1970'S, WE NOW ARE SEEING SOME OF THE FISH COME BACK AND ARE ABLE TO SEE THESE CHILDREN GO OUT AND GO FISHING ON THE RIVER AND BE ABLE TO CATCH FISH AND GO CANOEING AND ENJOY THE ENVIRONMENT AS WELL.|
|00:01:36||AND THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS, I, FOR ONE, CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY JUST BECAUSE A RIVER IS RUNNING THROUGH A CITY-LIKE ENVIRONMENT, WHY CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THAT URBAN ENVIRONMENT CANNOT ENJOY THAT RIVER ANY DIFFERENTLY THAN SOMEONE WHO LIVES IN A REAL SUBURBAN AND RURAL AREA.|
|00:02:00||AND THAT IS SOMETHING I WANT TO DISABUSE EVERYONE FROM.|
|00:02:04||I CERTAINLY THINK THAT THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN OUR INNER CITIES IN AMERICA DESERVE JUST AS MUCH OF AN OPPORTUNITY TO GO OUT AND ENJOY THE WATER.|
|00:02:14||FRANKLY, IT'S THE ONLY OPEN SPACE THAT MANY OF THEM GAIN ACCESS TO.|
|00:02:22||AND WHEN YOU LOOK AT THAT HERITAGE HARBOR THAT YOU HAVE SEEN THE PICTURES OF WHERE THE BATTLE SHIP MASSACHUSETTS IS, WE HAVE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB AND BOY SCOUTS AND SO FORTH USE THAT BATTLE SHIP MASSACHUSETTS EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND OVER THE COURSE OF THE SUMMERTIME.|
|00:02:37||AND THEY'RE DOWN THERE IN BATTLESHIP COVE AND COME FROM MASSACHUSETTS AND RHODE ISLAND.|
|00:02:44||SO THIS IS A VERY ACTIVE PARK.|
|00:02:47||I THINK THIS DESIGNATION FITS VERY HANDSOMELY IN WHETHER THE ACTIVITIES OF THAT AREA ARE ALREADY.|
|00:02:53||AND WE NEED TO PRESERVE THAT AREA.|
|00:02:55||AND I THINK IT WOULD BE DISASTROUS TO HAVE FURTHER DEVELOPMENT THAT SWO SPOIL WHAT'S GOING ON THERE.|
|00:03:01||THE URBAN CENTERS OF NEW ENGLAND ARE COMING BACK ALIVE.|
|00:03:05||WE LOST THE MANUFACTURING.|
|00:03:07||WE'VE LOST SO MANY OF THOSE AREAS THAT WERE KEEPING THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION ALIVE.|
|00:03:15||WHAT'S BRINGING THESE AREAS BACK ARE THE TOURISM AND CREATIVE ARTS AND PEOPLE WANT TO COME BACK TO THOSE AREAS FOR THOSE REASONS.|
|00:03:24||THE LAST THING WE WANT TO DO IS DESTROY WHAT WE HAVE HERE, WHICH IS UNIQUE TO NEW ENGLAND AND THAT'S THE VALUE OF THESE COMMUNITIES BY BRINGING IN MORE OF WHAT THE NEW CONSTRUCTION IS.|
|00:03:36||AND THAT'S WHY WE WANT TO SET BACK THE CLOCK AND KEEP THESE COMMUNITIES THE WAY THEY WERE WHEN THEY WERE ORIGINALLY BUILT.|
|00:03:45||SO YOU'RE RIGHT.|
|00:03:46||WE WANT TO KEEP THEM HISTORICALLY ACCURATE.|
|00:03:48||AND THAT'S WHY WE WANT THEM PRESERVED IN MEMORIAL AND FOR OUR COMMUNITIES AND CHILDREN DOWN THE LINE.|
|00:03:58||FOR THAT REASON, I THINK THE COAST GUARD WAS RIGHT, THE PARK SERVICE WAS RIGHT.|
|00:04:01||AND I HOPE MY COLLEAGUES JOIN ME AND ALL OF THOSE COLLEAGUES IN THE SURROUNDING AREA AND EVERY SINGLE COMMUNITY WHO HAS VOTED IN FAVOR OF THIS DESIGNATION FROM THE SURROUNDING AREA IN SUPPORTING H.|
|00:04:14||R. 415 AND MAKING THIS HISTORIC TAUNTON WILD AND SCENIC ACT A REALITY.|
|00:04:23||THE CHAIRMAN: THE GENTLEMAN YIELDS BACK THE BALANCE OF HIS TIME.|
|00:04:26||THE GENTLEMAN FROM UTAH.|
|00:04:27||MR. BISHOP: I APPRECIATE THE COMMENTS FROM THE GENTLEMAN.|
|00:04:30||AND I WOULD LIKE TO TRY AND FOCUS ON WHAT IS, INDEED THE ISSUE.|
|00:04:35||THE STATES OF RHODE ISLAND AND MASSACHUSETTS HAVE COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT ACTS IN WHICH THEY GET FEDERAL MONEY TO MAINTAIN THE QUALITY OF THEIR RIVERS.|
|00:04:43||AND THE FACT THAT|
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. Chairman, I thank Chairman Grijalva for offering me the time, and Chairman Frank for sponsoring this legislation, H.R. 415, the Taunton River Wild and Scenic Act, and let me just say as a Member of Congress from an adjoining district in Rhode Island, I want to repudiate the comments to the effect that these urban rivers are not wild and scenic just because they are in an urban area.
We have the Blackstone River Valley Heritage Corridor which is the Woonasquatucket River which runs right into Providence, Rhode Island, and you have a very urban river. Well, I will tell you, it is right in downtown Providence. And every weekend you have roughly 250,000 people from my State descend on downtown Providence during the weekend in order to watch the water fire because it is one of the great activities along the riverfront that takes place that draws people down to the riverfront every weekend during the summer months, and the spring months and fall months.
We also have children from Central Falls and Providence who wouldn't otherwise know that they live near a river because most of it is overgrown and yet they live merely 20 yards from the river. And now a lot of that is being opened up and they are gaining access to it, and because of the Clean Water Act that was passed in the late 1970s, we are seeing some of the indigenous fish come back and we are able to see these children go out and go fishing on the river and be able to catch fish and go canoeing and see that they can enjoy the environment as well.
The fact of the matter is I for one cannot understand why just because a river is running through a city-like environment, why children and the people who live in that urban environment cannot enjoy that river any differently than someone who lives in a real suburban and rural area, and that is something I want to disabuse everyone from.
I certainly think that the people who live in our inner cities of America deserve just as much of an opportunity to go out and enjoy the water. Frankly, it is the only open space that many of them ever gain access to. When you look at Heritage Harbor that you have seen these pictures of where the battleship Massachusetts is, we have Boys & Girls Clubs and we have the Boy Scouts and so forth use that battleship Massachusetts every single weekend over the course of the summertime.
They are down there in that battleship cove, and they come from Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
This is a very active park. I think this designation fits very handsomely into what the activities of that area are. We need to preserve that area, and I think it would be disastrous to have further development that would spoil what is going on there.
The urban centers of New England are coming back alive. We lost the [Page: H6634] manufacturing. We've lost so many of the areas that were keeping the industrial revolution alive. What is bringing these areas back is the tourism and the creative arts. People want to come back to these areas for those reasons, and that's why we want to preserve them.
The last thing we want to do is destroy what we have here which is unique to New England and that is the aesthetic value of these communities by bringing in more new construction, and that's why we want to set back the clock and keep these communities the way they were when they were originally built.
So you're right, we want to keep them historically accurate, and that's why we want them preserved time immemorial and for our children and down the line.
So that's why I think the Coast Guard was right, the National Park Service was right, and I hope my colleagues join me and all of my colleagues in the surrounding area and every single community who has voted in favor of this designation from the surrounding area in supporting H.R. 415 and making this historic Taunton Wild and Scenic Rivers Act a reality.