By DAVID MCDONALD, Associated Press SANTA ROSA, Calif.
(AP) Hillary Clinton’s campaign is in hot water for suggesting she could have helped save some of the nation’s most pristine lakes and rivers from pollution and development.
The Democratic presidential front-runner is proposing that the National Park Service take the lead on protecting the nation�s 1,200 national lakes and the thousands of miles of streams and rivers that provide wildlife habitat.
That idea was part of her speech at the California Democratic Party Convention last week and it drew strong criticism from the National Parks Conservation Association, which has called it a threat to wildlife.
The group also called it an egregious attack on state parks that serve millions of Americans, many of them tourists and tourists with children.
In a statement, the NPS said it supports the campaign�s commitment to protecting the environment, but that it would not allow Clinton to make sweeping changes to parks and rivers.�The NPS recognizes that its role is not limited to protecting our parks, and is committed to protecting them for future generations,� said the statement, which was issued Monday by the agency�s public affairs office.
It said that while Clinton�s campaign wants to preserve the parks, it also wants to protect the environment for future visitors.
The campaign said the campaign will also seek to protect parks that have been declared national treasures by a federal judge or that the federal government has declared a national park.
State parks can be the best example of this, the statement said.
It pointed to the National Wildlife Refuge System, which includes Lake Tahoe, Lake Mead, Lake Superior and Lake Mead State Park.
It said the NSP, in coordination with other agencies, has worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other federal agencies to help develop plans to conserve the lands in question.
That�s why the NSPA has worked for more than two decades to protect these lands, said the agency.
It also noted that it is working with the Obama administration to restore the vast majority of federal lands to their natural state, which means they can still be used for recreation, including camping, fishing, hiking and hunting.