Larsen Bill to Restore Estuaries Passes House

Nov 13, 2014 Issues: Environment


Hear my speech on the House floor urging my colleagues to support reauthorizing the National Estuary Program.

WASHINGTON—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 earlier this year. H.R. 5266 would reauthorize the National Estuary Program through 2018, funding local efforts to restore and protect sensitive estuaries and their wildlife.

“Puget Sound is our county’s second largest estuary and is home to dozens of species of fish, birds and mammals. I am pleased my colleagues in the House voted to approve funding for restoration of vital habitats like these all over the country.

“In the Pacific Northwest, we know that protecting natural resources such as estuaries is critical for both the environment and the economy. Trade, fishing, tourism, and outdoor recreation in our region create and sustain thousands of jobs, and all of these activities depend on a healthy Puget Sound.

“I have long supported estuary restoration in the Puget Sound region, like the Qwuloolt Estuary Restoration Project, which will be one of the largest tidal marsh restoration projects ever completed in our state when it is finished.

“And in addition to improving salmon habitat, restoring estuaries can have important carbon sequestration effects, as a recent report on 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 automobiles.

“I am pleased to work with Rep. LoBiondo on this bipartisan bill that will ensure local organizations across the country can continue their work to protect and restore estuaries,” Larsen said.

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.

The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.