Seattle, WA — Environment Washington applauds the President for his celebration of America’s Great Outdoors in his long anticipated report, which highlights findings from the Administration’s listening sessions, which asked Americans how to protect the places they value most.
“With more than 100,000 people from around the country weighing in, and thousands of people attending listening sessions supporting America’s Great Outdoors, it’s clear that people love places like Mt. Rainier National Park and the Carbon River Valley rainforest,” stated Heather Shute, Advocate with Environment Washington. “We are thrilled to see the Administration taking interest in protecting the places Americans care about most.”
Since last April, the Administration has held more than 50 listening sessions around the country, including one here in Seattle. Environment Washington talked to more than 127,000 people over the course of the summer, collected more than 3,000 public comments and turned out more than 100 people to the listening session in Seattle urging Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and President Obama to make protecting Mt. Rainier National Park and the Carbon River Valley rainforest a top priority in their America’s Great Outdoors report.
Although Mt. Rainier National Park and the Carbon River Valley rainforest represent the best of Washington, the future of the park and the rainforest is at risk by development and population growth.
One conservation effort highlighted in the President’s report is the Land and Water Conservation Fund. For the past forty-five years the federal government has put a fraction of the revenue from offshore drilling to expand national parks, protect hunting and fishing areas, and aid local conservation and recreation projects like city parks and playing fields. Despite decades of proven environmental and economic benefits for local communities, year after year Congress diverts hundreds of millions of dollars of land and water conservation funds to other budgetary purposes. In the America’s Great Outdoors report, the President recommends fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
“As the Obama Administration continues their dialog with the American people about the places we love best, we urge Congress to follow suit and recognize that fulfilling the promise of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and protecting places like Mt. Rainier National Park and the Carbon River Valley rainforest are indeed top priorities. We look forward to continuing to work with the Administration to protect the best of Washington from development and population growth,” concluded Shute. “Just as Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representative attacks some of our most fundamental environmental protections, we cheer President Obama for re-affirming his commitment to American families and our most treasured landscapes. In times of economic austerity, it is critical that our government protects the best and most stirring aspects of the American landscape now and for generations to come."
Environment Washington is a state-based, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organization working for clean air, clean water, and open space.