U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Denny Heck (WA-10), co-founders of the Puget Sound Recovery Caucus, spoke out against President Trump’s budget proposal which would completely eliminate several key programs that promote restoration efforts in the Puget Sound region.
“Puget Sound is an iconic body of water that is vital to our economy and to who we are as Washingtonians,” said Kilmer. “The President’s budget does not reflect this. President Trump has pledged to work for clean water and good jobs but his proposal would devastate efforts to restore shellfish beds, revitalize salmon runs, and recover the Sound for future generations. The federal government needs to be a partner in making the Sound healthy again. As Vice Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee I will fight back against this completely irresponsible plan.”
“While I’m frustrated the Trump Administration continues to attack critical funding for Puget Sound recovery, the Constitution gives Congress the ‘power of the purse,’ not the President,” said Heck. “My colleagues on both sides of the aisle have shown concern regarding the President’s budget proposal, and I look forward to working with them to prevent these thoughtless cuts.”
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.
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.
The President has proposed eliminating millions of dollars in investments across several programs and agencies that all work collectively to protect clean water and promote healthy salmon and shellfish habitat throughout the Puget Sound as well as other coastal areas across the country.
These cuts include:
- $28 million from the Puget Sound Geographic Program which supports grants to state, local and tribal governments to help implement Washington’s Puget Sound Action Agenda.
- $65 million from the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund which was established by Congress in order to prevent the extinction of 28 listed Pacific salmon and steelhead species, by supporting conservation efforts in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska.
- More than $700 million from State and Tribal Assistance Grants which help to support state and tribal government efforts to implement programs to promote air and water quality and meet their requirements under federal laws such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act.
- $27 million from the National Estuary Program that supports water quality and habitat recovery efforts in the Puget Sound and 27 other estuaries throughout the country.
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.