State's U.S. delegation renews 'Conservation Area' designation quest

San Juan Journal - Steve Wehrly

Washington state's congressional delegation joined forces this week in reintroducing legislation that would designate 1,000 acres of land and some entire islands in the San Juans as a national conservation area.

In addition, U.S. Reps. Rick Larson (2nd Dist.) and Suzan DelBene (1st District), and democratic senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell recently sent a letter to President Obama asking once again that he use the presidential powers provided by the Antiquities Act of 1906 to register the lands and islands as a national monument.

"Whether through action by congress or the president, the federal government should answer islanders’ calls to permanently protect these lands for the enjoyment by all," Larsen said in a March 7 press release. "Senator Cantwell, Senator Murray, Representative DelBene and I will continue our dogged support on behalf of all the environmental, business and tribal leaders throughout Northwest Washington who want to see the dream of permanent protection made into a reality.”

Designation of the lands, presently managed by the Bureau of Land Management of the U.S. Department of the Interior, would put the 1,000 acres under permanent federal protection and would qualify the lands for federal appropriations for preservation, accessibility and enhancement.