From the Congressional Puget Sound Recovery Caucus:
Promoting United Government Efforts To Save Our Sound (PUGET SOS) Act introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives
Washington D.C. – Today (Sept. 28, 2015) Representatives Denny Heck (WA-10) and Derek Kilmer (WA-06) introduced the Promoting United Government Efforts To Save Our Sound (PUGET SOS) Act in the United States Congress. The PUGET SOS bill, H.R. 3630, would enhance the federal government’s role and investment in the Puget Sound, the largest estuary in the United States by water volume.
Specifically, the bill integrates and aligns federal restoration efforts with the ongoing efforts of state, local, and tribal governments. To enhance national awareness and contribution, the bill amends the Clean Water Act by adding a new section dedicated to Puget Sound recovery, providing lasting and structural recognition of the Puget Sound as a waterbody of national significance on par with the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes. The bill also designates a Puget Sound Recovery Office at the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Puget Sound needs a united recovery strategy that aligns federal efforts with what is already being done at the tribal, state and local level,” Heck said. “By requiring the federal government to step up and work with us more, we can meet the level of progress needed to save our treasured Sound.”
“As Washingtonians, we all understand the importance of the Puget Sound,” Kilmer said. “Generations have enjoyed the ability to swim and fish and dig for clams in this iconic body of water. They’ve built 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. That’s why I’m proud to join my colleague Representative Heck in introducing the Puget SOS Act.”
“The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission applauds Representatives Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer for their efforts to bring greater recognition to the need for Puget Sound Recovery,” said Lorraine Loomis, Chairperson of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. “This legislation will help ensure those efforts are better coordinated and aligned with the protection of tribal treaty rights for future generations.”
“The rate of damage to Puget Sound continues to exceed the rate of healing. That’s a pattern we need to change,” said Sheida Sahandy, executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership, the Washington state agency mobilizing Puget Sound recovery efforts. “This bill effectively aligns federal work already underway with effective state, local and tribal work for the greatest recovery benefits in the fastest period of time. A big thank you to Congressman Heck and Congressman Kilmer for their leadership and vision in recognizing the value and urgency of this collective work. We invite the nation to come visit this incredible ecological and economic treasure that appears pristine to the eye and yet is so urgently imperiled in reality.”
Other original cosponsors of the bill include Reps. Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Jim McDermott (WA-07), Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Dave Reichert (WA-08), and Adam Smith (WA-09).
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.