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Murray Statement on Washington State Public Lands Bills

Dec 11 2014

Murray-led bills to protect Illabot Creek and Alpine Lakes pass both chambers of Congress

Murray: a “historic day” for WA and “protecting the natural treasures we love”

(Washington, D.C.) –Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after the Senate voted to break a filibuster on the Defense Authorization bill, which included legislation she authored to protect Illabot Creek and the Middle Fork Snoqualmie and Pratt Rivers and expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The legislation passed the House last week and will head to the White House shortly to be signed into law by President Obama.

“For everyone in Washington state who cherishes our incredible wild spaces, this is a truly historic day,” said Senator Murray.  “This isn’t simply about protecting the natural treasures we love, it’s about passing them along to our children, our grandchildren, and generations of Washingtonians to come.”

Washington state bills that will pass both chambers of Congress include:

Following a long-fought victory to create the Wild Sky Wilderness in 2008, Senator Murray continued her efforts to help protect some of Washington state’s best wild places.  She first introduced legislation to protect Illabot Creek, a tributary of the Skagit River and critically important habitat for many species, including five species of salmon, steelhead, Roosevelt elk, and Bald eagles,  in 2009.  Congressman Larsen introduced companion legislation in the House the same year.  Legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate in the 111th, 112th, and 113th Congresses, and has faced partisan opposition in the past.

Murray held meetings with stakeholders and a public workshop early in 2009 to discuss the Alpine Lakes wilderness proposal and hear local community input on the legislation.  As a result of those meetings, Senator Murray introduced new legislation in the Senate, including the addition of Wild and Scenic designation protections for the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River, which both the House and Senate versions now contain.  Legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate in the 111th, 112th, and 113th Congresses and has faced partisan opposition in the past.

Sen. Murray also worked earlier this year to pass the Green Mountain Lookout bill after a mudslide ravaged communities in northern Snohomish County.