LAPUSH, Wash. -- The U.S. Senate passed a bill Monday to allow the Quileute tribe to movee it's school and other buildlings out of a tzunami zone on the Washington coast to higher ground in the Olympic NationalPark.
The bill was passed by the U.S. House last week. It now heads to President Obama's desk for signature.
I am so excited to hear the news today about the passage of the bill! said Quileute Chairman Tony Foster in a statement. I am overwhelmed with emotions and so grateful that our tribe will actually be able to move our elders and children out of the path of a tsunami and up to higher ground.
The land transfer bill gives the tribe 785 acres in the park and settles a reservation boundary dispute. In return the tribe assures access to coastal beaches that are reached by trails through tribal lands.
Following the earthquake and tsunami that devestated Japan in March, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D, Wash.) and Rep. Norm Dicks (D, Wash.) co-sponsored bills (H.R. 1162, S. 636) to move the tribal lands away from the water and out of reach of a deadly tsunami.
The Quileute Reservation covers one square mile. It is surrounded by the Olympic NationalPark on three sides as well as the Pacific Ocean.
La Push was among the first Washington communities to receive a tsunami warning siren, and practice evacuation drillsin 2005. Still, there is only one road out of town.