Thursday, February 25, 2010

Oregon Leaders Introduce Bill to Restore Columbia River

Today, Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Senator Jeff Merkley introduced the “Columbia River Restoration Act,” legislation with an aim fund the clean-up and restoration of the mighty Columbia. The river is the largest in the Pacific Northwest and it's basin encompassing six Western States has been degraded by habitat loss and pollution.

From Congressman Blumenauer's website:
The Columbia River is in many ways the lifeblood of the Northwest,” said Merkley. “It has not only provided the Oregon fishing industry and tribes with salmon and steelhead for generations, but it has become a transportation artery for businesses, a hydropower generator for our economy, and the source of irrigation for our farmers. By restoring the Columbia River and reducing toxic contamination, we will create jobs, protect public health and contribute to a healthy economic future for those who depend on the river for their livelihood.”

The Columbia River Restoration Act would authorize EPA to work with The Lower Columbia River Partnership (LCREP), the States of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, Columbia Basin Tribal Governments, local governments, citizen groups, industry, and other federal agencies to develop and implement a strategy to increase monitoring and reduce pollution. This bill will create between 700 and 900 jobs a year in the region for biologists, construction workers, and others, while enabling the river to continue supporting jobs in the farming, hydropower, recreation and transportation industries. The legislation authorizes $40 million a year for this effort...

"We applaud Congressman Blumenauer and Senator Merkley for their leadership to protect clean water and public health. Introduction of this bill is an important step toward a healthier future for the all of the Columbia River and its communities,” said Brett Swift, Northwest Regional Director of American Rivers.

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