(Washington, D.C.)  - Today, Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014, U.S. Senator Patty Murray released the following statement in honor of Earth Day.  

“This Earth Day we must recommit to our obligation to preserve and protect our environment now, for the sake of future generations. 

“The threat of climate change is only one part of our growing environmental deficit.  We have underfunded investments in our public lands and natural resources –investments which are relatively inexpensive, but pay huge dividends for our economy, our health, and our welfare. 

“In 2012, the outdoor recreation economy supported 6.1 million jobs, generated $646 billion in economic activity, and contributed almost $80 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue.  Healthy ecosystems help give us clean air and drinking water, provide Americans with recreational opportunities, and act as buffers and reservoirs against storms and flooding. And our national parks, which hosted more than 275 million visitors from across the country and around the world in 2011, are major economic drivers in rural communities across the country.

“We must make sure our country invests to better prepare for and mitigate the effects of climate change, and ensure that we act as good stewards of our lands and wildlife.  Millions of Washingtonians and Americans across the country are already doing their part, and I have been proud to partner with groups and individuals from across Washington to make strides to protect those places we hold dear, including the Wild Olympics and Illabot Creek.  We must ensure that the federal government does its part too. These smart investments will lead to a healthier, more sustainable environment for our families and communities.

“Working together on Earth Day, and every day, we can protect the natural environment we treasure.”