The Columbia River Basin Restoration Act - which will bring millions of dollars to the region to improve water quality throughout the Columbia River Basin - was signed into law December 16 as part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. The Act authorizes a grant program administered by the U.S. EPA to help local groups voluntarily clean up, monitor, and reduce the use of toxics within the Columbia River Basin.
“The Estuary Partnership has worked on passage of this Act for eight years, and we are thrilled that the bill is finally law. This victory could not have happened without the numerous partners who worked to build support for the Act throughout the northwest. We are especially grateful the leadership of our northwest Congressional delegation for being champions for our river,” said Estuary Partnership Executive Director Debrah Marriott.
Oregon's Senator Jeff Merkley led the charge to include the CRBRA in the Water Resources Development Act, precursor to the WIIN Act. Merkley, along with Congressmen Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) and co-sponsors Senator Ron Wyden, Representative Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), and Representative Peter DeFazio (OR-04) reintroduced the Columbia River Basin Restoration Act in 2015.
Since 2009, the Estuary Partnership has worked with members of Congress to bring attention to the Columbia River and secure critical funding to improve the river's water quality and toxics reduction and clean up. The Columbia was one of only two major EPA designated ‘large aquatic ecosystems’ to receive zero funding for clean-up pursuant to this designation - until now.