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ICYMI: Strickland Questions Witnesses at Hearing on a Toxic Chemical Killing Coho Salmon in the PNW

July 22, 2021

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) questioned witnesses at a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on a toxic chemical in tires and recycled rubber that is killing coho salmon in the Pacific Northwest. Strickland’s questions focused on the consequences for coho salmon if this issue is left unaddressed, the follow-up research priorities, and the research history. (Watch Strickland’s questioning at this link and the full hearing at this link.)

“Salmon are more than a key resource in the Pacific Northwest. They are foundational to the culture of the area, crucial for our economy, vital to Tribal treaty rights, and a central part of what makes the Puget Sound region one of the most ecologically vibrant in the world. Biodiversity is already at risk, and the effect of 6PPD-quinone on coho is yet another hurdle which we will have to overcome to ensure our children have the opportunity to enjoy our home the way we have.” said Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland.

The hearing was hosted by the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Witnesses included Dr. Jenifer McIntyre, a professor at Washington State University and leader of the research team which discovered the issue, David Troutt, Director of Natural Resources at the Nisqually Indian Tribe, Sarah Amick, Senior Counsel and Vice President of Environment, Public Health, Safety, and Sustainability, at the US Tire Manufacturer’s Association and Sue Kuehl Pederson, a Fisheries Biologist. 

This effort follows up on Strickland’s work in Congress as a strong advocate for our environment. In June, the House passed the PUGET SOS Act of 2021 co-led by Congresswoman Strickland and Congressman Kilmer to enhance the federal government’s role and investment in the Puget Sound. This came shortly after Strickland and Kilmer secured a historic funding increase for Puget Sound restoration earlier that month from the House Appropriations Subcommittee. In April, Strickland led a letter to the Subcommittee, cosigned by nearly the entire Washington delegation, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio, and Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Raùl Grijalva requesting funding for the program at $50 million. Strickland also co-chairs the Puget Sound Recovery Caucus, founded in 2013 by Rep. Derek Kilmer and former Rep. Denny Heck with Derek Kilmer. The Caucus focuses on recovering Puget Sound through steps like preventing pollution from urban stormwater runoff, protecting and restoring habitat, and restoring and re-opening shellfish beds.

Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland serves as Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and is the only African-American woman to serve on the House Armed Services Committee. She is one of the first Korean-American women elected to Congress and the first African-American to represent the Pacific Northwest at the federal level.