WASHINGTON—Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, issued the following statement today hailing the White House’s announcement that President Obama will designate the San Juan Islands National Monument:
“San Juan Islanders have been shouting from the rooftops for years: protect these lands. Well the President heard our message loud and clear.
“The San Juan Islands are among the most beautiful places in the country. These lands are home to diverse wildlife from the Island Marble Butterfly to the Southern Resident Killer Whales, and are an economic engine for Northwest Washington that attract thousands of tourists each year. That’s why I have worked doggedly alongside Islanders for the last four years to push for this permanent protection.
“President Obama’s designation of the national monument in the San Juan Islands is the culmination of years of persistence by environmental and business leaders who built consensus and remained resolute in their mission. The national monument designation will protect this resource for residents and visitors today and in the future.
“I am proud to have partnered with Sen. Cantwell to introduce our legislation to secure a national conservation area while also urging the White House to act. We also owe thanks to Gov. Inslee, Sen. Murray and Rep. DelBene who fervently supported this strategy. Secretary Salazar deserves credit for making the San Juan Islands a priority. He visited the Islands twice and named them on his list of ‘Crown Jewel’ federal lands that deserve permanent protection.”
Larsen has worked with community leaders to formulate a plan for permanent protection since May 2009. He and Sen. Cantwell first introduced the San Juan Islands National Conservation Area Act with the support of Murray and then Rep. Jay Inslee in September 2011. They reintroduced the bill with the support of Murray and DelBene this month.
Larsen was an early supporter of the dual-track strategy, urging U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to support a National Monument designation last June.