Cantwell Presses Interior Nominee Salazar for Tougher Protection of Washington State Parks and Waterways

Calls for Increased Dialogue and Cooperation

WASHINGTON, DC –During a Senate Commerce Committee hearing held today on the nomination of Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) to be Secretary of the Interior, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) called on him to toughen protections and increase funding for Washington state parks and waterways, support and implement strong mining reform, and address water shortage issues that are plaguing the West.
For eight years, the Bush Administration ignored a host of issues ranging from protecting our national parks to addressing water shortages in the West,” said Cantwell. “From the rainforests of the Olympic National Park, to the Icy Wilderness of the North Cascades National Park, to the iconic Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington state is home to three of the nation’s crown jewels of the National Park System.  Our new Interior Secretary will bring needed balance, judgment and experience to improve the nation’s natural resource programs. Our work together on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee has convinced me that Senator Salazar is committed to preserving our public lands and that he’ll return scientific integrity to a Department that has been mismanaged for too long.”
Cantwell also urged Salazar to support strong mining law reforms and increase funding for the National Park Service to ensure maintenance backlogs can be addressed.
With more than 400 mining claims in Washington state, hardrock mining threatens fish and wildlife habitats and recreational opportunities that are unique to Washington state. Cantwell has been a strong advocate of reforming the century-old 1872 Mining Law. She called on Sen. Salazar to help reduce water pollution caused by mining operations that threaten Washington’s waterways and salmon population.
Cantwell also stressed the importance of increasing the Land and Water Conservation Fund to help preserve Washington state national parks, specifically Mt. Rainier. In addition, she pushed for Sen. Salazar’s support for increasing access to healthcare for American Indians.
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