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The statement was released by Roy Nott — president and CEO of Paneltech, based in Aberdeen — and Connie Gallant of Quilcene, chairwoman of the Wild Olympic Campaign.
Nott and Gallant said that nine CEOs and nearly 100 new business endorsers from the Olympic Peninsula and South Puget Sound Region have urged permanent protection of Olympic National Forest's backcountry and waterways in letters to congressional members.
A letter to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Bothell, and Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, who represents the 6th Congressional District — which includes the North Olympic Peninsula — asks that lawmakers quickly reintroduce The Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Nott and Gallant said
Murray and retired Congressman Norm Dicks introduced the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act on June 21, 2012.
The proposed acts awaits reintroduction in this Congress.
“The legislation would protect the first new wilderness on Olympic National Forest in nearly 30 years and mark the first-ever Wild and Scenic River designations on the Peninsula,” Nott and Gallant said.
In the letter, they said, the CEOs describe the area's world-class outdoor recreation, clean water and the area's high quality of living as giving “us a competitive edge over other regions in attracting and retaining the talented people our companies require,” and that protection of wilderness and rivers would also protect “the 500-plus local jobs that depend on our ability to compete for talent against other regions” and “enhance our recruitment efforts to grow our businesses in the future.”
The two said that among those signing the letter were the heads of HOPE Roofing & Construction of Port Townsend; The Holiday Inn Express and Conference Center of Sequim; Pasha Shipping of Aberdeen; Paladin Data Systems and Grounds for Change of Poulsbo; Rice Fergus Miller Inc. of Bremerton; SAGE Fly Rods and Green Mountain Technologies of Bainbridge Island; and Taylor Shellfish of Shelton.
Nearly 100 new local business endorsements also were sent in a separate letter urging swift reintroduction of the Wild Olympics legislation “to protect and grow local jobs in multiple sectors of the economy,” the Wild Olympics statement said.
Among them, the statement said, was Harriet Reyenga, an independent Realtor for Windermere Real Estate in Port Angeles.
“Wild Olympics would protect and promote the same spectacular public lands and high quality of life that are helping to drive growth and create local jobs in real estate, construction and many other sectors of our economy today,” Reyenga is quoted as saying.
For more information on the campaign, visit www.wildolympics.org.