Jul 10, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Denny Heck (WA-10) applauded the House Appropriation Committee’s release of 2021 funding levels for EPA’s geographic programs, which fulfilled the request of Puget Sound’s Congressional champions, led by Heck, to increase Puget Sound funding by $5 million. Heck thanked the signers of the Puget Sound letter and the members of the subcommittee for coming together to deliver this unexpected win.
“We were initially told that an increase in Puget Sound funding would be impossible this year,” said Heck. “But the Sound, its wildlife, and the communities it sustains are running out of time, and need these resources now. That’s why I kept pushing for funding increases for the Puget Sound Geographic Program. I applaud the subcommittee for recognizing the urgency of this issue, and I thank my friend Congressman Kilmer for his partnership in advocating for this funding. I will continue to work with Tribal, local, and state governments to support their efforts to promote a healthy, thriving Puget Sound. I am grateful for the work our Tribal partners, state agencies, and the Puget Sound Partnership have put into restoring the Sound, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure this boost in funding becomes law.”
The Fiscal Year 2021 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations report includes a $5 million increase for the Puget Sound Geographic Program, which provides grants to state, local, and tribal governments to implement projects that protect jobs and local economies by improving water quality, enhancing fish passage, increasing salmon habitat, and protecting shorelines. The total funding level of $38 million included in this year’s bill is more than a 35% increase over the enacted funding level two years ago, which was $28 million.
In March, Rep. Heck led a letter to the Appropriations Committee requesting $38 million for the Puget Sound Geographic Program. Separately, the letter was signed by Reps. Rick Larsen, Kim Schrier, M.D., Suzan DelBene, Pramila Jayapal, Adam Smith, Peter DeFazio, and Raúl M. Grijalva.
Reps. Heck and Kilmer co-founded the Puget Sound Recovery Caucus in 2013 as part of their ongoing commitment to recover and preserve Puget Sound. The three priorities of the Puget Sound Recovery Caucus are preventing pollution from urban stormwater runoff, protecting and restoring habitat, and restoring and re-opening shellfish beds.
Rep. Heck is the sponsor of the PUGET SOS Act, which aims to boost and coordinate protection and restoration efforts in Puget Sound. The PUGET SOS Act passed the House by voice vote in February.