News Releases

Washington, D.C. – Today, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement on the 35th Anniversary of the Mount St. Helens eruption.

“May 18, 1980, is a day many of us from the Pacific Northwest will never forget.  In an instant, the catastrophic eruption on Mount St. Helens took the lives of 57 people, decimated wildlife populations, flattened forests, and forever altered the landscape. Ash darkened our skies, making the morning seem like night.

“But while the story of Mount St. Helens is a story of destruction, it is also a story of renewal. Over the past 35 years we’ve seen an incredible return to life. The mountain has become not only a premier destination for nature lovers and adventurers, but also an important laboratory for scientists who come from all over the world to learn valuable lessons about nature’s power to both destroy and regrow.

“We should honor those who died 35 years ago today by continuing to learn from the eruption and by dedicating the resources it takes to predict and effectively respond to natural disasters. We must also be ready to act on the things we can control. Recent news that the Spirit Lake Tunnel on the mountain is in need of significant repair reminds us that we must remain vigilant to the continued dangers that exist for surrounding communities. So as we remember the devastation of 35 years ago, we must all keep working to make sure communities have the resources they need to do everything possible to protect families and homes from future disasters.”

Note: Earlier this month, Sen. Murray sent a letter to the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Geological Survey, urging the administration to immediately make necessary repairs to the Spirit Lake Tunnel.