1990 Scorecard Vote
This bill was carefully considered and debated over the past five years. First introduced in the U.S. Senate in 1985, and withdrawn in 1986 to allow for an extensive state Natural Resources Commission study and survey of landowners' attitudes, it was reintroduced January 1989 in both houses of Congress.
Environmentalists consider making the Niobrara part of the Wild and Scenic Rivers system an issue of national importance. It is the first Great Plains river to receive national wild or scenic designation. In all the prairie and plains states from Mexico to Canada, only one 59 mile section of the Missouri River has protected recreation status.
The Niobrara river channel is important to four threatened or endangered species. It provides "critical habitat" for whooping cranes, interior least terns and piping plovers, as well as a major wintering area for bald eagles. The river has been carefully studied by governmental agencies at all levels, university scientists, and by private conservation organizations. The vote is on a substitute amendment offered by Rep. Virginia Smith (R-NE) to provide for further study of the Niobrara, rather than scenic designation. The Smith Amendment was rejected 115-302 on June 26. No is the pro-environment vote.