Representatives Denny Heck (WA-10) and Derek Kilmer (WA-06) have introduced the Promoting United Government Efforts To Save Our Sound (PUGET SOS) Act of 2019. The PUGET SOS Act, H.R. 2247, would enhance the federal government’s role and investment in the Puget Sound, the largest estuary in the United States.
The PUGET SOS Act was first introduced by Reps. Heck and Kilmer in 2015. Several of its provisions were included in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by nine federal agencies in October 2016. However, the task force established by the 2016 MOU was created through executive action, not statute. The PUGET SOS Act of 2019 seeks to codify the federal task force and enhance public participation, transparency, and oversight. The Act would also create a Puget Sound Recovery National Program Office at the EPA.
“Puget Sound is the heart of western Washington,” said Heck. “So many local, tribal, and state entities are hard at work to protect this treasured estuary. I thank my colleague Representative Kilmer for joining me in introducing the PUGET SOS Act, which will bring the resources of the federal government to bear on Puget Sound recovery and set up a framework for coordination across multiple levels of governments. If we are to save our Sound, then the House must act quickly to pass this legislation and unite our recovery efforts.”
“In our neck of the woods, we all understand how important Puget Sound is to our region’s identity and our economy,” said Kilmer. “Generations of our friends and neighbors have built their lives and made livelihoods on the Sound. But if future generations – including my little girls – are going to have those opportunities, we’ve got to take action now to protect and restore the Sound. That’s why I’m proud to join my colleague Representative Heck in introducing the PUGET SOS Act which will help us make meaningful progress towards these goals.”
“The treaty Indian tribes in western Washington appreciate the leadership of Congressmen Heck and Kilmer on the need for additional funding and improved federal agency coordination to enhance the Puget Sound recovery efforts,” said Lorraine Loomis, chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. “The PUGET SOS Act recognizes the important status of the tribes as sovereign governments, fishery resources co-managers, and key partners in the recovery of Puget Sound.”
“We now know what it will take to recover Puget Sound, a national treasure that sustains us,” said Laura Blackmore, Executive Director of the Puget Sound Partnership. “We also now know that significant and timely progress will require significant commitment and investment. This bill will help to take us there. I thank Congressman Heck and Congressman Kilmer for their dedication and leadership in safeguarding the health and beauty of Puget Sound for future generations.”
Congressmen Heck and Kilmer co-founded the Puget Sound Recovery Caucus in 2013 as part of their ongoing commitment to preserving the 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.