News Releases

(Seattle, WA) U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today applauded U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt's recommendation that the Hanford Reach be designated a national monument. The recommendation will be sent immediately to President Clinton for a final decision concerning the designation.

"I applaud Secretary Babbitt's decision and maintain my commitment to work with local leaders to ensure they have a voice in developing any future management plan," Murray said. "We cannot wait any longer to protect the Hanford Reach."

"At my urging, Secretary Babbitt has agreed to form a local advisory committee to help develop a management plan. In the past, the Administration had proposed federal funds to help local governments participate in planning efforts and I will work with them to fund this effort as well."

"For seven years I have been working to try to find a legislative solution to protect this area. On several occasions compromise deals were scuttled at the last moment. After the last round of negotiations fell apart last winter, I asked Secretary Babbitt to visit the Hanford Reach to explore administrative options for its protection. Previously, I told him not to go that route but now the time has come."

"One of our greatest challenges is to recover native salmon runs and protecting the region's healthiest spawning ground is vital. We are asking a great deal of individuals and local communities therefore the federal government must also do its part on federal land or our salmon recovery efforts will surely fail."

"The national monument will recognize the historic contribution of this community and the sacrifices the people of the Tri-Cities have made in order to keep America free."

The area will encompass about 200,000 acres of federal land currently held by the Department of Energy. The Hanford Reach spans only 51 of the Columbia River's 1,200 miles, yet it spawns 80% of the wild fall Chinook produced in the entire Columbia Basin.