U.S. House Agrees to Provide Quileute Tribe Safer Home

Feb 6, 2012

A small Washington tribe has cleared a big hurdle towards moving its coastal village out of a tsunami zone. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to transfer 785 acres of Olympic National Park to the Quileute tribe. The park surrounds the tribe's tiny coastal reservation and blocks its desire to expand to higher ground. Democrat Norm Dicks represents Washington's Olympic Peninsula in Congress.

Norm Dicks: "We need only look to the tragedy last year in Japan to see the loss of human life and horrific damage that tsunamis can cause. Much of the Quileute's infrastructure including a day care center, the elder center, government offices and Quileute tribal member homes are right in the path of a potential tsunami."

Republican Doc Hastings of Pasco, Washington joined Dicks in advocating for the boundary change. Both point out it also guarantees access for the general public to spectacular ocean beaches.
Majority Republicans in the U.S. House removed a separate provision of the original measure which would have replaced park wilderness lost to the reservation expansion with other new wilderness designations.
The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate for further consideration.

On the web:

H.R. 1162 - Quileute Indian Tribe Tsunami and Flood Protection