PUGET SOUND WATER QUALITY AUTHORITY SEEKS FEDERAL FUNDING FOR PUGET SOUND
PUGET SOUND WATER QUALITY AUTHORITY SEEKS FEDERAL FUNDING
FOR PUGET SOUND
WASHINGTON, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., and Nancy McKay, executive director of the Puget Sound Water Quality Authority, testified yesterday before a subcommittee of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee to seek federal funding for implementation of the Puget Sound Water Quality Management Plan, the Authority said today.
Dicks, who has advocated federal support of the Puget Sound estuary for the past decade, told the subcommittee, "Funding is needed to address the immediate, critical needs of Puget Sound. We cannot afford to wait until water quality conditions in the Sound are further degraded."
McKay said, "To make the permanent protection of Puget Sound water quality a reality, a long-term funding partnership must be forged among federal, state and local governments. Implementation of the Puget Sound Plan will require a long-term commitment of both energy and money."
In 1988 Puget Sound was designated an estuary of national significance under provisions of the federal Clean Water Act. One year ago, the Puget Sound Plan was approved by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator William Reilly as the federal Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for Puget Sound. It became the first estuary plan in the nation to receive such approval.
The Authority estimates that full implementation of the current plan would require $98 million for the current state biennium, increasing to $119 million by the 1995-97 biennium. Approximately $52 million is available this biennium for Puget Sound from state, local and federal sources.
"We have now reached the key phase of implementing the plan, and funding from the federal government has been essentially lacking," McKay explained. The Environmental Protection Agency continues to provide about $300,000 a year for ongoing coordination of plan implementation and several small special projects.
Dicks said, "At a minimum, the Puget Sound program requires annual federal support at a level of $10 million to aggressively and effectively carry out activities." Dicks requested line item funding for Puget Sound, noting that such line items have already been provided to Chesapeake Bay, Boston Harbor, Naragansett Bay and the Great Lakes.
Federal funds would be used to implement the Puget Sound ambient monitoring program, fund high priority research projects and environmental education programs, implement the state's new sediment management standards, as well as provide technical assistance and grants to local governments to protect shellfish resources, reduce nonpoint source pollution and carry out new federal and state rules for stormwater management.
The Washington State legislature created the Puget Sound Water Quality Authority in 1985 and directed it to prepare a comprehensive, coordinated plan to clean up and protect Puget Sound -- the Puget Sound Plan. The Authority also oversees implementation of the plan.
The Puget Sound Plan was adopted in 1986 and was revised in 1989 and 1991. The 1991 Puget Sound Water Quality Management Plan includes 15 programs which address a broad spectrum of problems facing the Sound.
/CONTACT: Gretchen Hanna of Puget Sound Water Quality Authority, 206-493-9171/ CO: Puget Sound Water Quality Authority ST: Washington IN: SU:
JH-LM -- SE008 -- 4440 04/29/92 13:38 EDT