July 17, 2015

Kilmer Joins Peninsula Tribes at Tsunami and Climate Resilience Summit

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) joined the Quinault Indian Nation and U.S. Department of Agriculture for a Tribal Tsunami and Climate Resilience Summit. Tribal leaders and staff joined with stakeholders -- including numerous federal and state agency representatives and local elected officials -- to look at the threats their communities face from increasingly severe weather.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has reported that sea levels have risen every year since 1992. Residents and tribes on the Olympic Peninsula increasingly face the threat of rising sea levels and severe storms that endanger public safety. In addition, scientists have pointed to the threat of a significant tsunami impacting coastal communities.

"The ocean has sustained communities in this region for hundreds -- even thousands -- of years.  But we know that violent storms and tsunamis can flood communities, dislocate families, and threaten public safety,” said Kilmer. “Now more than ever, it’s necessary to look at the steps we need to take to keep our communities safe. I hope we can look back on this as the day we came together to make progress in working with our tribal partners to preserve their unique heritage.”

Mario Villanueva, U.S. Department of Agriculture Washington State Director said: “USDA Rural Development is very pleased to help co-sponsor the Tribal Tsunami and Climate Resilience Summit in Ocean Shores, Wash. This effort will bring together a variety of stakeholders, public and private funders and Tribal coastal communities for a daylong exercise of information exchange that can help us gain a better understanding of the details regarding the threat of possible tsunami devastation off the Washington coast. As we know, this type of devastation will likely accompany a major earthquake off of our coastal regions and this threat is becoming more and more real. We will also have the opportunity to identify clearer paths of action that can enable Tribal communities who are at the forefront of this potential natural threat, to work with stakeholders and funders to prepare and plan for ways to mitigate the impacts of this threat. Our hope is that together, we can bring to bear a broad and collaborative approach to addressing this issue.”

Kilmer recently introduced the Tribal Coastal Resiliency Act which would ensure that tribes would have access to grants and investments available through the Coastal Zone Management Act.