US House passes bill to support Puget Sound restoration, recovery
A bill providing more federal dollars to Puget Sound conservation efforts was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday.
The Promoting United Government Efforts to Save Our Sound (PUGET SOS) Act of 2021 was sponsored by Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland and Congressman Derek Kilmer, co-chairs of the Puget Sound Recovery Caucus. The Puget Sound is the nation’s largest estuary by volume.
“If we’re going to recover our salmon and orca populations, if we’re going to ensure future generations can dig for clams, if we’re going to respect and uphold tribal treaty rights, we need the federal government to step up and support the work already being done,” Kilmer said as he addressed the House before they voted to approve the bill on Tuesday.
The bill authorizes $50 million over five years to restore the orca population, salmon, clams, and uphold tribal treaty rights.
“Puget Sound is a sacred tribal resource, cultural treasure, economic engine, and biodiversity hotspot. But we are at a tipping point – if we’re going to protect hundreds of thousands of jobs while saving wildlife like the orcas and salmon –it’s now or never,” Rep. Strickland said. “House passage of the Puget SOS Act today represents a big moment, and brings us one step closer to ensuring the national recognition, federal support, and environmental stewardship Puget Sound deserves.”
“Washingtonians view and use Puget Sound the way Marylanders view Chesapeake Bay or Michiganders view the Great Lakes,” she continued. “It is past time the federal government does as well. Our bill is an investment in equity for our Tribal nations, Washingtonians, and our entire nation and I’ll continue working with Congressman Kilmer to turn it into law.”
The bill now heads to a Senate committee for their consideration.