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Larson, Murphy, Blumenthal, Esty, Reintroduce Legislation to Protect Lower Farmington River

February 2, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01), U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-05) reintroduced the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic River Act, which, if enacted, would create a U.S. National Park Service protective designation for the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook that run through ten Connecticut towns. With protective designation as a “wild and scenic river”, the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook could receive as much as $100,000 in funding from the federal government to assist volunteers and officials with conservation efforts.

“This bill will protect the beauty, ecological diversity, and recreational opportunities on Connecticut’s treasured Farmington River,” said Murphy. “There are very few stretches of river anywhere in the country where you're going to find the natural beauty, economic benefits, and history all in one place. That’s why preserving the river is important to Connecticut and will help keep our state beautiful for generations to come.”

“Preserving and protecting the Farmington River—indeed a wild and scenic treasure—is a moral obligation, not just for ourselves and the immediate economic benefit, but for our children and grandchildren. This designation will bring vital federal resources to regional conservation efforts to ensure this precious waterway remains clean and free-flowing for generations to come,” said Blumenthal.

“The Farmington River is an incredible resource for our communities, both as an environmental treasure and an economic asset,” said Esty. “Families from across Connecticut and around the world travel to the Farmington River to enjoy fishing, boating, and other tourism and recreational opportunities. The river also has the potential to produce clean hydropower to power thousands of Connecticut homes and businesses. Designating the Farmington River as a ‘wild and scenic river’ will help preserve and protect it for generations to come. It’s been nearly twenty-one years since the Upper Farmington River received this designation, and it’s time to include the lower section as well.”

“Preserving the Farmington River protects Connecticut’s waterways and the environment across the region. This legislation continues to work of several Senators and Members of Congress towards a ‘wild and scenic’ designation crucial to the future of this important body of water. I am pleased to join my colleagues in reintroducing this measure today and commend the Connecticut Delegation for their commitment to our natural resources," said Larson.

The legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Murphy and Blumenthal, and in the House of Representatives by Esty and Larson. Their efforts are the product of a bi-partisan, community-driven process that began nearly a decade ago, when ten Connecticut towns - Avon, Bloomfield, Burlington, Canton, East Granby, Farmington, Granby, Hartland, Simsbury, and Windsor - came together to protect the Lower Farmington River. The upper portion of the river was given protected status in 1994.

Murphy, Blumenthal, Larson, and Esty have introduced similar legislation in previous Congress’s, but those bills were not enacted.