Larsen & LoBiondo Bill To Protect Estuaries Gets Closer To President’s Desk

Apr 26, 2016 Issues: Environment

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A bipartisan bill to invest in estuary restoration that Reps. Rick Larsen, WA-02, and Frank LoBiondo, NJ-02, introduced has passed the House, getting the bill one step closer to President Obama’s desk for his signature. The legislation reauthorizes the National Estuary Program (NEP) through 2021, funding local efforts to restore and protect sensitive estuaries and their wildlife. Larsen and LoBiondo hailed the bill’s passage as a bipartisan success for a healthy environment.

“Passing this bipartisan bill to ensure local communities can continue protecting and restoring estuaries is a major victory for clean water and healthy habitats today and long into the future,” Larsen said. “The Puget Sound is the second largest estuary in the country, and the Pacific Northwest depends on it for a healthy environment and a strong economy. Unique habitats where rivers meet the ocean support many species of fish, birds and other wildlife. Healthy estuaries also sustain economic activity like fishing, tourism and outdoor recreation. I thank Representative LoBiondo for working with me to make progress for our environment and our economy.”

“Too often there is only focus on those issues that divide us rather than unite us. Today Congress came together to promote sensible, cost-effective programs that protect unique ecosystems in South Jersey and across the country. Communities in my district have long recognized the economic and environmental importance in protecting cherished local resources in the Delaware Estuary and Barnegat Bay Estuary. Working closely with local residents involved in preserving both estuaries, we have had continued success in raising public awareness and responsibly caring for our natural treasures to keep our waters clean for future generations,” said LoBiondo. “I am once again proud to partner with Representative Larsen on bipartisan solutions to the issues our nation faces.”

Established in 1987, the NEP’s goal is to improve the quality of estuaries by developing plans for attaining or maintaining water quality. This includes protection of public water supplies and the protection of indigenous populations of shellfish, fish, and wildlife. Funding from the NEP, which is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, helps build the comprehensive plan for Puget Sound recovery through the Puget Sound Partnership.

Larsen has long supported estuary restoration in the Pacific Northwest. For example, the Qwuloolt Estuary Restoration Project is one of the largest tidal marsh restoration projects ever completed in Washington state. Larsen helped secure funding for this project.

Passage of this bill to restore estuaries is the most recent of Larsen’s efforts to protect Washington state’s environment. Larsen led legislation to create the Wild Sky Wilderness and designate Illabot Creek in Skagit County as Wild and Scenic. He also successfully pushed the administration to create the San Juan Islands National Monument.