At Hearing with Secretary of the Interior, Senator Murray Highlights How Conservation Keeps Our Economy Strong, Families Safe, and Nation Globally Competitive

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, at a Senate Appropriations Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies subcommittee hearing with Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland on the President’s FY24 budget for the Department of the Interior, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, highlighted the many ways funding to protect and restore our environment helps keep families safe, local economies strong, and the U.S. globally competitive.


“Defense spending isn’t the only way that we protect our nation. The critical issues we’re talking about here today are directly connected to the security of our country and the strength of our economy. We have to protect and restore our environment so we can pass on to our kids clean air and thriving forests and healthy ecosystems that support strong communities. And we must ensure our kids have safe drinking water free of lead contamination, and harmful chemicals like PFAS,” said Senator Murray. “Our national parks are national treasures, bringing in tourists and dollars from around the world to local communities in every corner of our nation, and giving families a place to get outdoors and explore our country. They also remind us that our security and our strength are directly connected to how well we care for our environment—our ability to tackle the climate crisis, for instance.”


Senator Murray also spoke specifically about the importance of salmon to Washington state’s economy and culture, and asked Secretary Haaland how investments proposed in the federal budget would help with salmon recovery efforts in the state. She then went on to ask about the Department’s efforts to respond to the invasive European green crab and protect native shellfish populations in Washington state.

“Back in Washington state, salmon is a way of life. They are a huge part of our economy, our history, and our culture. Protecting and restoring salmon habitat, and increasing salmon runs is key to our state’s strength and its future. Saving our salmon is also a part of meeting our obligation to Tribes,” said Senator Murray.


Senator Murray also discussed the connection between droughts and wildfires, which have been growing worse due to climate change, and asked Secretary Haaland about the Department’s work to address the impacts of droughts.


“In the West, wildfire and drought are two sides of the same coin. While this year’s atmospheric rivers have given us a lot of rain, we know that climate change is impacting the long-term hydrology across our country.” said Senator Murray.