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Senator Murray to Secretary Buttigieg: “Between conversations with me and Senator Cantwell, I think you know by now how critical this issue is to Washington state—and how important restoring salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest is to my constituents” 

***WATCH SENATOR MURRAY’S REMARKS HERE***

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) pushed Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg during a Senate Appropriations Committee Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing to support critical investments in repairing and replacing fish culverts in order to boost salmon populations. Specifically, Senator Murray advocated for including funding for culvert repair and replacement in a major infrastructure package and highlighted her support for the bipartisan Bridge Investment Act, which would make culvert projects eligible for a new major bridge program.

“Between conversations with me and Senator Cantwell, I think you know by now how critical this issue is to Washington state—and how important restoring salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest is to my constituents,” Senator Murray said during the hearing. “We know that one crucial piece of salmon recovery is culvert repair and replacement, and other fish passage and habitat restoration projects. These projects create jobs, drive economic development, combat the effects of climate change, and help us meet Tribal treaty obligations, which is why they belong in an infrastructure package…this an issue of critical importance to my state, but it’s also a bipartisan issue. So I hope you and your team can take some time to review the Commerce Committee’s proposal and work with me and my staff to find a path forward here.”

A senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murray has been a longtime defender of Washington state’s salmon habitats. In recent years, she has led efforts to restore funding for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund in the face of repeated attempts by former President Trump to eliminate funding for the program, and championed increased investments in the program. First established by Congress in 2000 to protect, restore, and conserve Pacific salmon populations and their habitats, since its inception the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund has empowered states and tribes in Washington and throughout the West to undertake well over 10,000 conservation projects, resulting in significant changes in habitat condition and availability, and the establishment of concrete planning and monitoring programs that support prioritization and tracking for salmon and steelhead populations. Senator Murray has also been a consistent supporter of the Pacific Salmon Treaty and other federal efforts to protect and increase salmon populations.

Senator Murray’s remarks as prepared for the subcommittee hearing are below:

“Secretary Buttigieg, I also want to bring up the issue of fish culverts, which I know we touched on briefly during our last conversation.

“Between conversations with me and Senator Cantwell, I think you know by now how critical this issue is to Washington state—and how important restoring salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest is to my constituents. So I won’t dwell on the details or background here.

“But we know that one crucial piece of salmon recovery is culvert repair and replacement, and other fish passage and habitat restoration projects.

“These projects create jobs, drive economic development, combat the effects of climate change, and help us meet Tribal treaty obligations, which is why they belong in an infrastructure package. To that end, I recently co-sponsored the Bridge Investment Act, which would make culvert projects eligible for two new major bridge programs.

“I’m also working closely with Senator Cantwell on this issue, and I want to highlight the great work she has done in the Commerce Committee’s surface transportation title, which proposes to invest $4 billion in the repair and removal of fish culverts.

“This an issue of critical importance to my state - but it’s also a bipartisan issue. So I hope you and your team can take some time to review the Commerce Committee’s proposal and work with me and my staff to find a path forward here.  

“As always, thank you for all your work and your time today. And I look forward to continuing the conversation and working with you in the months ahead.”

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