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After the Trump assassination attempt, defining democracy gets even harder; Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate; DC residents push back on natural gas infrastructure buildup; and a new law allows youth on Medi-Cal to consent to mental health treatment.

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Former President Trump is injured but safe after an attempted assassination many condemn political violence. Democrats' fears intensify over Biden's run. And North Carolina could require proof of citizenship to vote.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Lawmakers, Locals Tout Practical Aspects of Wild Olympics Bill

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Friday, August 22, 2014   

PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. - A push to add new wilderness acreage to Olympic National Forest gained some momentum Thursday, as members of Congress invited supporters and reporters to the area for an update on the legislation.

The "Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act" lost some steam when its original sponsor, U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, retired. Now Rep. Derek Kilmer and Sen. Patty Murray, both D-Wash., say it's time to move it forward again.

Port Townsend city councilwoman Michelle Sandoval said adding new protections for 126,000 acres and parts of 19 rivers are important for the area's future.

"As a Realtor, I can tell you that it is our incredible quality of life that attracts prospective new home buyers," she said. "We should and we can do much to protect and promote these natural treasures, and the Wild Olympics legislation will do both."

Sandoval said the area to be protected is in the watershed that provides Port Townsend's drinking water. She and other speakers at Thursday's event said the practical combination of clean, safe water and more tourism and recreation should spark renewed interest in the legislation.

Water quality also is a chief concern for Bill Taylor, vice president of Taylor Shellfish. As part of the state's $270 million shellfish industry, he said the water upstream from the beds where they are grown has to be clean, cold and plentiful.

"That really is one of the critical things in protecting water quality for shellfish," he said. "We face many other challenges, but it's one less challenge we have to worry about. So yeah, having good water quality is absolutely critical to our success."

The current Wild Olympics bill was hammered out in a three-year public process. It still has detractors, who want more timber harvest on that land and fewer protections in Olympic National Forest. Its supporters say it won't negatively affect the timber industry in the region or limit public access to the land.

The legislation is S 1949 and HR 3922.


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