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Jaime Herrera Beutler Secures Protection for Pacific, Wahkiakum Counties Against Scientifically-Flawed Federal Plan Aimed at Marbled Murrelet

Jaime’s amendment to prevent Fish & Wildlife from blocking additional timber management activity in economically struggling Pacific, Wahkiakum counties approved by U.S. House Appropriations Committee; next up is full U.S. House consideration

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Washington, D.C. , June 6, 2018 | comments
Today, U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler successfully secured legislative protection for Pacific and Wahkiakum counties against an unnecessary halt on economic activity by U.S. Fish and Wildlife.
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Today, U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler successfully secured legislative protection for Pacific and Wahkiakum counties against an unnecessary halt on economic activity by U.S. Fish and Wildlife.   
 
In an amendment to the U.S. House Interior Appropriations spending bill, Jaime blocked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from locking up to an additional 32,000 forested acres in Western Washington – an area that includes large swaths in Pacific and Wahkiakum Counties – for Marbled Murrelet conservation efforts.  
 
Jaime’s amendment confronts a U.S. Fish and Wildlife “Long Term Conservation Strategy” that would stop timber management activity – and the revenue it provides to rural Western Washington counties – in an effort to benefit .44% of the Marbled Murrelet population (source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife). This same strategy does not take any action in the Puget Sound where 90% of the species south of the Canadian border are located.  

“Today I took action to halt a backward plan that has little basis in science, but would have an enormous and devastating impact on Pacific and Wahkiakum County residents,” Jaime said. “Any plan that ignores the entirety of the Puget Sound where 90% of Marbled Murrelets south of Canada can be found, while continuing the slow strangle of our rural economies, is a non-starter here in Southwest Washington. I’ll continue standing up for Southwest Washington communities against any harmful—and ineffective—federal plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife should go back to the drawing board and get this right.” 
 
The amendment was included in the U.S. House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Interior bill for 2019, which was approved by the Appropriations Committee today. The bill is expected to receive a vote by the full U.S. House in the coming weeks. 
 
Marbled Murrelet facts, and background on Jaime’s efforts:

• Rangewide, 91% of the Murrelets are located in Alaska.
• Less than 2% of the Murrelets are found south of Canada.
• According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife, the primary decline in Murrelet numbers is actually taking place in Puget Sound area. 
• In Washington, approximately 583,000 acres of forested land have already been locked away from any possible timber harvests, with 154,000 of those acres specifically designated to protect habitat for the Marbled Murrelet. Yet according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Murrelets spend more than 90% of their life cycle at sea.
• In a letter sent to Interior Secretary Zinke in March, Jaime points out how U.S. Fish & Wildlife plan ignores the Puget Sound region entirely, while unfairly undermining the economic foundation of Southwest Washington’s rural communities and jeopardizing the counties’ ability to provide basic services to residents. 
 
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