OLYMPIA, Wash. - The US Congress has cleared the way for a tiny Washington tribe to move parts of its coastal village uphill and out of a tsunami zone. The move involves the transfer of 785 acres of Olympic National Park to the Quileute Indian Tribe. The park surrounds the tribe's tiny reservation and blocks its desire to expand to higher ground.
This evening, the U.S. Senate approved the land transfer without dissent. Washington Democrat Maria Cantwell says the measure now goes to President Obama for his signature.
"When the tragic tsunami hit Japan last March and when a recent earthquake in just the last few weeks hit off Vancouver Island, it sent another urgent message -- a wakeup call -- to hurry to get this legislation passed through Congress," Cantwell says.
In exchange for the park land, the Quileute tribe agrees to guarantee access for the general public to spectacular ocean beaches in perpetuity. More tourists are making their way to the reservation town of La Push because the area is the setting for the bestselling Twilight vampire saga.
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