Cantwell Statement on the 31st Anniversary of the Eruption of Mount St. Helens

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement recognizing the 31st anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens. The mountain erupted on May 18, 1980 and created one of the largest landslides in U.S. history. It led to the death of 57 people and caused $1.1 billion in damages:

“In 1980 Mount St. Helens erupted and filled the sky with a plume of ash while sending a flood of earth tearing through the surrounding forest,”Cantwell said. “That ash cloud ballooned to 80,000 feet in just 15 minutes and in three days reached the East Coast. The blasts incinerated trees that had stood for over 100 years old and destroyed 27 bridges along with 185 miles of roadway.”

“Washingtonians embrace the mountain’s beauty, but also retain a profound respect for its power. That is why we look back on this tragedy to remember those who were lost. This also reminds us of the importance of our monitoring and response systems. The National Volcanic Monument in Gifford Pinchot National Forest is a testament to our vigilance.”

“The Monument allows us to enjoy the beauty of the area while conducting scientific study. Last year I listened to the Mount St. Helens Citizen Advisory Committee’s recommendations on maintaining a quality Monument. I look forward to incorporating their ideas and others into opportunities to preserve the scientific and conservation missions of the Monument. Through this and other measures I’m committed to ensuring that we continue to remember and learn from the tragedy at Mount St. Helens in 1980.”