Mar 21 2002
Senator Maria Cantwell's Statement (as prepared) before the Indian Affairs Committee Mark-Up on the Quinault Permanent Fisheries Fund Act
"Mr.Chairman, I am very pleased that the Committee will consider the Quinault Permanent Fisheries Fund Act, which I have cosponsored with my colleague Senator Murray. This legislation is of great importance to the Quinault Indian Nation of Washington state. The Quinaults have been waiting for almost three years for this legislation, and I am eager to see it enacted.
"The Quinault Permanent Fisheries Fund Act is quite simple: it will allow the Quinault Nation to access Mitchell Act hatchery settlement funds, which the tribe will use for its fishery enhancement projects. In 1989, the Quinault Nation was awarded $600,000 for damage to the Tribe's fisheries caused by forestry and logging practices. The funds have been held in trust for the Tribe, and federal legislation is required before the funds can be transferred to the Quinaults. My colleague Congressman Dicks has sponsored this legislation on the House side.
"The Tribe will use the principal from the settlement, which is now $540,000 after legal fees, to establish a Permanent Fisheries Fund. The Tribe will be able to access the interest earned on the principal funds for its fisheries enhancement projects, but the principal itself will be non-expendable. In addition, the Tribe will use the interest earned on the fund since 1989 in its annual budget towards government activities.
"The settlement was awarded to the Quinault Nation because of negative impacts to its fisheries, and I can think of no better way for the Tribe to use this settlement than for the better management of its fisheries.
"I urge my colleagues to support this legislation. Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for bringing this matter before the Committee.