Murray actively pushed Obama Administration to increase funding for salmon recovery, Puget Sound

Murray: Funding for salmon, Puget Sound are “critical investments in our economy and our way of life in the Pacific Northwest”

Washington, D.C.—Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committees, released the following statement on President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Proposal, which includes $58 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF), an increase of $8 million over last year’s proposal, and $30 million for Puget Sound under the EPA’s Geographic Programs, also an increase of roughly $5 million over last year’s proposal. Senator Murray actively pushed the Administration to increase funding for these programs.

“In Washington state, supporting salmon recovery and working to restore Puget Sound aren’t just environmental priorities, they’re critical investments in our economy and our way of life in the Pacific Northwest,” said Senator Murray. “Tightening federal budgets have made it increasingly difficult to continue these investments each year, so I applaud the President for showing leadership and demonstrating our nation’s commitment to protecting our natural resources. As Congress begins the Appropriations process, I will be working with the Republican majority to do everything possible to match or exceed the funding totals proposed by the Administration.”

PCSRF funding has faced significant annual cuts in recent years after receiving an average of over $80 million per year during the past decade. PCSRF was established by Congress in fiscal year 2000 to protect, restore and conserve Pacific salmon populations and their habitats, and to address the impacts of the Pacific Salmon Treaty Agreement between the United States and Canada. PCSRF supports the conservation and recovery of Pacific salmon and their habitat across Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, and California. Since its inception, PCSRF has supported thousands of projects restoring and creating over 13,000 acres of wetland and estuarine habitat and removing over 800 barriers to fish passage.

Puget Sound is an economic driver in Washington state, and the Sound’s recovery, protection, and cleanup are supported through the Geographic Programs account in the EPA. The funding included in the President’s budget proposal provides federal leadership and supports implementation of the Puget Sound Action Agenda, a coordinated plan to recover, restore, and protect the Puget Sound watershed. Implementation of the Action Agenda relies on the coordinated efforts of tribal entities, businesses, nonprofits, local governments and state agencies.

At the end of 2013, Senator Murray and Rep. Ryan worked with their colleagues to pass the Bipartisan Budget Act, which prevented another government shutdown, rolled back sequestration evenly across defense and non-defense discretionary spending for two years, and moved Congress away from the constant crises.