SANTA CLARITA — In an attempt to salvage the Santa Clara River's chance of being named an American Heritage River, the City Council will ask Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) to rescind his opposition to the initiative.
The council voted 4 to 1 Tuesday to ask McKeon to reconsider his position and said it will seek the support of U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to lobby President Clinton on behalf of the river.
A federal panel last week declined to include the Santa Clara River on its list of finalists for American Heritage status. City officials said they were caught off-guard by McKeon's opposition to the initiative, and local environmentalists said the conservative congressman was directly responsible for its exclusion from the list of finalists.
In September, Clinton signed the American Heritage Rivers Initiative, which invited local groups to apply for their rivers to be granted special support and recognition. The designation will provide no new environmental protections or direct funding for the rivers, but rather will assign a federal employee to work with local groups to secure government money.