Puget Sound Recovery Caucus encouraged by $28 million provided to clean up Puget Sound
Washington D.C. – Coinciding with more than 60 local leaders traveling to Washington D.C. from the Pacific Northwest to advocate for Puget Sound recovery, U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Denny Heck (WA-10), and members of the Puget Sound Recovery Caucus applauded the 2017 omnibus budget proposal, which provides $28 million for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Puget Sound Geographic Program. This program provides federal grants for local, state, and tribal recovery programs in the Puget Sound region in order to improve water quality, enhance fish passage, increase salmon habitat, and protect shorelines.
“Puget Sound is an iconic body of water that is critical to our economy,” said Kilmer. “As Vice-Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee, I fought hard to ensure that the 2017 spending package includes funding needed to clean up the Sound. These investments mean we will keep making progress to restore shellfish beds, revitalize salmon runs, and recover the Sound for future generations.”
“Our local recovery efforts to preserve Puget Sound for generations is paramount to our nation’s environmental and economic health,” Heck said. “Our tribal, state, and local programs focused on Puget Sound restoration continue to deliver huge returns. To effectively combat stormwater, protect our salmon, restore shorelines and preserve habitats, we need to continue this critical funding. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for understanding how important this is regionally and nationally.”
The Trump Administration’s budget proposal for next year would eliminate the EPA’s program for Puget Sound cleanup. Clean water in Puget Sound is essential to support 3,200 shellfish jobs that generate $184 million in revenue each year. 80 percent of statewide tourism and recreational dollars are tied to Puget Sound. The state’s marine industry – which includes fishing fleets, ports, and seafood processors – generates $30 billion annually.
On April 4, 2017, the Puget Sound Recovery Caucus sent a bipartisan letter to President Donald Trump affirming the need to fund the EPA’s Geographic Programs. Every EPA dollar spent on Puget Sound recovery efforts has leveraged more than $24 in matching funds from other federal agencies and local partners, including the state, tribes, and non-profits.
Congressmen Kilmer and Heck co-founded the Puget Sound Recovery Caucus in 2013 as part of their ongoing commitment to preserving Puget Sound. The three priorities of the Puget Sound Recovery Caucus are: preventing pollution from urban storm water runoff, protecting and restoring habitat, and restoring and re-opening shellfish beds.