U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Vice President for Government Affairs Bruce Josten sent a letter to members of the House Committee on Natural Resources in support of H.R. 1548, the “Native American Energy Act.”
As the letter states:
H.R. 1548 would be an important step in furthering efforts by Congress to encourage economic development throughout Indian Country.
It would do so by fostering tribal sovereignty and eliminating cumbersome Federal bureaucratic processes, which we believe to be a sure path to economic growth.
Furthermore, we believe the bill would make further headway towards American energy independence while it would also provide much needed employment to hard-stricken regions of the country.
The U.S. Chamber has recently established the Native American Enterprise Initiative (NAEI) in recognition of the revolution in entrepreneurship occurring amongst the nearly three million people of American Indian and Alaskan Native heritage. Drawing on the Chamber’s record of business advocacy, the NAEI seeks to remove legislative and regulatory roadblocks to their economic success, which H.R. 1548 would do.
The Skokomish Tribe has solid data showing how salmon are using the Skokomish Tidelands after a year of monitoring the 400-acre restored estuary.
While the tribe monitors the estuary year round, the first full year of sampling (December 2011 to November 2012) showed 20 fish species, including chinook, chum and coho salmon, using both the large and small tidal channels in the restored areas of the estuary.
Prior to 2006, the estuaries had been filled with fish-blocking culverts, dikes and roads for 70 years, preventing development of good fish habitat. Restoration started in 2007, which included removing man-made structures and opening historic tidal channels that allow juvenile fish to find places to feed and hide while heading out to the ocean.
“Chinook were found in 90 percent of the channels and chum were found in 100 percent of them,” said Matt Kowalski, the tribe’s steelhead biologist. “This proves that salmon have access to and are utilizing the restoration sites.”
All 20 different species were captured in large channels, while only nine different species were captured in small channels and were mostly salmon, stickleback and sculpins, he said.
“Some of the small channels are old drainage ditches that had limited fish access and others are completely newly formed channels from the restoration,” Kowalski said. “Over time, a more complex system of small channels will form and provide more and higher quality habitat for fish.”
In addition to fish monitoring, restoration work will continue this summer with more dike and culvert removal, connecting the restored 400-acre estuary to 600 acres of forested wetlands.