McMorris Rodgers Urges Biden to Clean Up Puget Sound and Downtown Seattle Ahead of Earth Day Visit to Washington

Apr 21, 2022
Clean Energy
Press

Spokane, Wash. – Today, ahead of President Joe Biden’s trip to Washington, Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) called attention to the environmental devastation caused by the continued pollution of Puget Sound and the inhumane living conditions in downtown Seattle. 

In the spirit of Earth Day, Rodgers urged the president in a letter to visit Puget Sound and see firsthand the irreparable damage the dumping of raw sewage is doing to critically endangered salmon and orca populations, Puget Sound’s water quality, and the entire ecosystem. She also highlighted the critical role the four Lower Snake River dams in Eastern Washington play in providing clean, reliable, renewable, and affordable energy to the Pacific Northwest, while helping the United States reduce carbon emissions.

Her letter also encourages the president to see how progressive policies at the local, state, and federal levels have resulted in rampant drug abuse and a dangerous surge in violent crime in cities across America.

The full letter is below and available here.

Dear President Biden, 

I am pleased to hear you will visit Seattle, Washington later this week, which coincides with the celebration of Earth Day. I wanted to draw your attention to the environmental devastation caused by the continued pollution of Puget Sound and the inhumane living conditions in downtown Seattle. 

As you’ll see if you visit, Puget Sound is in crisis. The salmon in Puget Sound — which are most critical to the orcas — are in crisis. Still, the city of Seattle continues to allow the dumping of millions of gallons of raw sewage into Puget Sound each year, despite the scientifically proven correlation between pollution and declining salmon populations. On top of that, Governor Jay Inslee has considered allowing 58 sewage treatment plants to continue illegally dumping toxins into the Sound. I hope you’ll go see firsthand the irreparable damage this is doing to critically endangered salmon and orca populations, Puget Sound’s water quality, and the entire ecosystem.

To clean up our environment and save threatened salmon, we must take action to clean up the Puget Sound and hold polluters accountable, not turn a blind eye. Instead, Governor Jay Inslee and many in the environmental community have focused their efforts on targeting the four Lower Snake River dams on the eastern side of the state, which provide the Pacific Northwest with clean, reliable, renewable, and affordable energy. 

Even the Council on Environment Quality within your administration is actively exploring breaching these dams, which achieve 95 percent passage of juvenile fish and produce nearly 1,100 megawatts of hydropower annually. I hope while you are in our state, you will remind officials here of the need for more clean, renewable energy, not less. I would also encourage you to learn more about the immense benefits the Snake River dams and our entire river system provide for our state and region.

While I know you’re not visiting the eastern part of the state, let me emphasize that removing the Lower Snake River dams would do little to achieve our common goal of restoring endangered salmon and would undermine legitimate efforts to reduce carbon emissions in the United States. This approach is misguided, and I hope you and your administration will work to protect our dams and clean up Puget Sound.

During your visit, I encourage you to visit downtown Seattle to see firsthand how progressive policies at the local, state, and federal levels are destroying once-great American cities. If you do, you will see how homelessness has taken over with tent cities popping up everywhere, serving as ground zero for rampant drug abuse and violent crime, devastating community safety and the ability of small businesses to remain open. Since you took office, violent crime has spiked across the country, including by 20 percent in Seattle and 10 percent in Spokane. Just last month, two Washington State law enforcement officers were shot and killed in the line of duty. 

Additionally, deadly drugs continue to flood the streets and tear families apart. Back home in my community, illicit fentanyl seizures have surged 1,100 percent, exacerbating the opioid crisis responsible for taking a record-setting 100,000 lives each year. It’s like a weapon of mass destruction has gone off in our communities. I hope that you will work towards addressing these issues that are transforming beautiful cities into dangerous communities that people feel unsafe going to live and visit.

These are real crises impacting real people in Seattle, my district in Eastern Washington, and people across the country. The American people need answers and solutions. During your visit, I hope you’ll take the time to see these issues with your own eyes and make a good-faith effort to understand how they are the direct result of failed policies.

Sincerely, 

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Member of Congress

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