Murray Welcomes Interior Secretary Norton to Washington State

Feb 04 2003

Murray asks why the Administration has eliminated funding for land acquisition in Puget Sound

(SEATTLE, WA.) -- Upon learning that Interior Secretary Gale Norton was holding a photo op at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Sen. Patty Murray extended a warm welcome and asked why the Administration has eliminated funding to protect critical forestland in Washington's Cascade mountains.

Over the last 3 years, Sen. Murray, former Sen. Slade Gorton and others have helped secure $36 million in federal funding for the I-90/Plum Creek land acquisition initiative. This locally supported effort will protect forests that link the Alpine Lakes to Mount Rainier for public recreational benefit.

In the Appropriations bill currently in a Senate-House conference, Murray secured an additional $6 million for the acquisition.

But inexplicably, the Bush Administration has eliminated funding for this critical Puget Sound priority in its 2004 Budget.

"We appreciate that this Administration is proposing an increase in funding for wildlife refuges - this is a start, but certainly the refuge maintenance needs are much greater," said Murray. "On behalf of everyone who enjoys the outdoors, I am deeply disappointed that the Administration has turned its back on protecting other important recreational and habitat land like the I-90/Plum Creek initiative. It has been a truly bipartisan effort, and a successful public-private partnership."