Today Governor Inslee proposed a $1.1 billion package in the biennial budget to fund important steps for the recovery of the Southern Resident Orca Whales.

Puget Soundkeeper applauds this proposal, which would provide support for some of the recommendations put forward by the Orca Recovery Task Force. We are still analyzing the legislation and look forward to seeing much needed orca recovery funding pass the legislature this year. We are at a critical moment for our resident orca whales and experts agree we are likely at our last chance to save these magnificent creatures from extinction.

“Our resident orcas reflect the health of our entire ecosystem.  If they are sick, so is our environment and ultimately we are at risk as well,” said Puget Soundkeeper Chris Wilke.

Many of the proposed actions were already needed to protect our waters and our salmon from pollution and habitat loss. And many of these actions will create jobs and have additional benefits for protecting human health such as removing toxic chemicals from wastewater, fish and common products.

This package also moves forward with efforts to upgrade ferries to quieter, more efficient hybrid-electric engines which will save the state money in the long run. And it moves forward with important rulemaking to better protect Puget Sound and the Salish Sea against a catastrophic oil spill.

“These expenditures have to be done now. There are lots of things in life you can put off for a decade. This is not one of them … This is a one time shot,” Inslee said.

Read the full proposal details.