News Releases

Murray Secures Funds for Northwest Washington Community, Environmental, Economic Development Initiatives

Sep 04 2003

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Commerce Justice State and VA-HUD Appropriations Bills

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Murray announced today that she has secured $3.7 million in the fiscal year 2004 funding for Northwest Washington community, environmental and economic development initiatives. Senator Murray provided the funding in the Commerce, Justice State and the Judiciary (CJSJ) and the Veterans Administration, Department of Housing and Urban Development (VA-HUD) Appropriations bills. The CJSJ and VA-HUD appropriations bills were approved today by the full Senate Appropriations Committee.



“These are important projects to address local concerns brought to my attention by local leaders.” said Murray. “This federal funding will provide jobs and economic development at a time when we need it most. I am particularly excited about continued funding for my Northwest Straits initiative and the Similk Beach Sewer project which addresses an urgent public health need in Skagit County.”



NORTHWEST WASHINGTON

Northwest Straits Commission (CJSJ) - $1.2 Million | WSU Extension Service Beach Watchers (VA-HUD) - $250,000 - Senator Murray created the Northwest Straits Commission with legislation in 1998 in response to growing concerns about the declining health of marine ecosystems in the Northwest region of the state. This grassroots effort involves representatives from county, tribal, state and federal governments, non-profit organizations and volunteers who are working together to protect and restore marine resources in northern Puget Sound. These funds will enable the Northwest Straits Commission to continue its cooperative work throughout the Puget Sound area.



Similk Beach Community Sewer System Improvements, Skagit Valley Public Utility District (VA-HUD) - $750,000 - This State Tribal Assistance Grant (STAG) funding will fund 117 new connections to the community’s sewer system to eliminate failing septic systems as well as allow the commercial and sport shellfish industry an opportunity to recover. The project will eliminate the source of a documented health and environmental hazard. Many of the beneficiaries of this project will be elderly and low-income residents who can least afford significant increases in utility bills.



Southern Resident Killer Whale Research - $1.5 million - The Southern Resident population of killer whales, which consists of three pods, resides in Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Georgia Strait from late spring to early fall. The rest of the year they travel along the west coast, but their activities during this time are not well understood. The population of Southern Resident killer whales has declined 20 percent from 1996 to 2001, from 97 whales to only 78. These funds will fund National Marine Fisheries service research into vessel impacts, year round distribution of the population, year round studies of prey resources and the effects of pollution on the Southern Resident Killer Whale population.



STATEWIDE

Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, Public Building Mapping System - $250,000 - During a school incident, such as the one that occurred at Columbine High School in Colorado, first responders need access to school floor plans, known hazards and evacuation plans. In 2001, the Washington State Legislature appropriated funds to facilitate a building mapping system for various schools in Washington state. It has been very successful. Its success, however, has caused state and local government leaders to request a building mapping system for all public buildings, not just schools. In order to initiate the public building mapping system, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) must first establish the central site. The funds provided by Senator Murray will allow the project to go forward.



Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission - $350,000 - The Washington State Tribes and the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Coordinated Water Quality Program, an EPA/Tribal partnership, has provided a forum for continuous and meaningful communication between tribes, state and federal agencies. It has generated successful state/federal partnerships to improve water quality and has helped fulfill the federal government’s trust obligation to tribes.



Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery - $90 Million - The Commerce Justice State appropriations bill fund the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery program at $90 million. This is the same as current year spending and the same as provided by the House in its FY 2004 bill. The Senate allocates $26 million of this total for Washington state, with an additional $8.5 million going to Pacific Coastal Tribes, and $2.5 million going to Columbia River Tribes. (Other allocations are $26 million for Alaska, $11 million for Oregon, $11 million for California, and $5 million for Idaho) The Washington state funding goes to the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SuRF Board) which then works with groups around the state to advance Salmon recovery projects.