Larsen Bill To Support Healthy Estuaries Passes House

Jun 1, 2015 Issues: Environment

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. House of Representatives today passed a bill that Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, introduced to fund estuary improvement projects in the Puget Sound region and nationwide. Larsen introduced the bipartisan bill with Rep. Frank LoBiondo, NJ-02, in February. H.R. 944 would reauthorize the National Estuary Program through 2020, funding local efforts to restore and protect sensitive estuaries and their wildlife.

“Estuaries like the Puget Sound are drivers of a healthy environment and a strong economy. These unique habitats support many species of fish, birds and other wildlife. Healthy estuaries also sustain economic activity like fishing, tourism and outdoor recreation.

“In addition to improving habitat for critical wildlife like salmon, restoring estuaries can have important carbon sequestration effects, as a report last year about the Snohomish Estuary found. Currently planned and in-progress restoration projects will result in at least 2.55 million tons of CO2 sequestered from the atmosphere over the next 100 years. This is the equivalent of a year’s worth of emissions from half a million vehicles.

“I am pleased my colleagues have voted in favor of ensuring local organizations across the country can continue their work to protect and restore estuaries to keep these habitats vital today and for future generations,” Rep. Larsen said.

“Tonight’s vote again demonstrates the bipartisan support for sensible, cost-effective programs that protect our unique ecosystems across the country. Always a willing partner on a wide-range of issues, I appreciate Representative Larsen’s continued leadership to keep our waters clean for future generations,” Rep. LoBiondo said.

Larsen has long supported estuary restoration in the Pacific Northwest. For example, the Qwuloolt Estuary Restoration Project will be one of the largest tidal marsh restoration projects ever completed in Washington state when it is finished.

Funding from the National Estuary Program, which is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, helps build the comprehensive plan for Puget Sound recovery through the Puget Sound Partnership.

Larsen and LoBiondo introduced the estuary restoration bill during the last Congress. The bill passed the House of Representatives, but was not considered in the Senate.

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