A press release from Office of Rep. Marilyn Strickland.
Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) released the following statement after delivering remarks on the House floor today urging Congress to address the climate crisis with historic investments in sustainable infrastructure, citing the damaging impacts of June and August’s unprecedented heat domes on Washington State. With several consecutive days well into the 100s, temperatures in the region soared to record highs, crippling the Pacific Northwest’s infrastructure and environment and costing hundreds of lives.
Congresswoman Strickland speaks on the House floor urging
Congress to address climate change.
“As our planet warms and climate change takes hold, these extreme weather events are only becoming more common, costing lives, crippling our infrastructure, and destroying the great state of Washington. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create tens of thousands of jobs and build a brighter, more sustainable future. My state, our country, and our world, depends on it,” said Strickland.
Congresswoman Strickland’s full remarks are transcribed below.
Americans nationwide have felt the impacts of this year’s extreme weather, from flooding to wildfires to record heat.
In Washington state, heat domes in June and August caused hundreds to die of heat exposure, roads and highways to buckle, and shellfish to broil in their streams. The iconic Mount Rainier, one of the snowiest places on earth, was not immune. The unprecedented heat – nearly 40 degrees above the previous recorded high – has had a devastating impact on the mountain.
This image shows Mt Rainier during most of the summer, its sides bare, compared to its typical snow cover. For long-time residents of Washington, it is immensely jarring to see Rainier without snow on its peak. In just four days – four days- in late June, the peak of the heat dome, the mountain lost 30% of its total snow cover. The lack of snow has only become more notable as the summer has gone on.
Nor is this heat only an ecological issue. Washington’s shellfish industry is among the largest in the nation, contributing $270 million to the Washington State economy and supporting nearly 3,000 jobs. The heat dome devastated shellfish farms that make up the core of this industry – shellfish growers reported shellfish baking to death in the shallow water and on the beach. Taylor Shellfish, located in my district, reported losing over 2 million clam seeds.
As our planet warms and climate change takes hold, these extreme weather events are becoming more common, costing lives and critically damaging our environment.
Against this backdrop, our need to pass transformational climate legislation becomes even more stark. We need to invest in electric vehicle infrastructure, dramatically expand public transit, and build an energy grid using renewable sources of power.
We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create tens of thousands of living wage jobs and build a sustainable society for future generations. My district, my state, and our world depends on it.
Congresswoman Strickland has made addressing climate change, investing in sustainable infrastructure, and protecting our environment a priority throughout her first term in Congress. In July, Strickland introduced an amendment, which was included in H.R. 4502, the appropriations minibus, highlighting the urgency of the need to fund research into the toxic tire chemicals in stormwater runoff that is killing coho salmon. In July, Strickland participated in a House Committee on Natural Resources hearing on this topic. 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 who serves 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.