March 11, 2021

Crapo Joins Call to Stop Sale of Seattle Archives Facility

Letter points to concerns over lack of Tribal consultation in “legally flawed” decision to sell

Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) joined Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) among the 25 bipartisan congressional members of the Idaho, Washington, Alaska and Oregon delegations in sending a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), requesting it stop the sale of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) facility in Seattle in light of a recent court decision temporarily blocking the sale from moving forward.  Fellow members of the Idaho delegation, Senator Jim Risch and Representatives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson also signed the letter. 

“The items at the Seattle Federal Records Center tell the story of our great state, from the Tribes who originally inhabited this land to Idaho’s eventual statehood,” Crapo said.  “They are vital to the states, Tribes and local universities examining this history.  Moreover, the lack of Tribal consultation on this matter is concerning.  I am hopeful that OMB can reverse its decision and find a better solution.”   

The process leading to the proposed sale of the facility under the Federal Assets and Transfer Act (FASTA) was legally flawed and importantly, OMB failed to consult with Tribal governments and organizations in violation of its own Tribal consultation policies,” the letter reads in part.  

“We are not aware of any effort by OMB, the Public Buildings Reform Board (PBRB), NARA or the General Services Administration (GSA) to consult with Tribal representatives at any stage of the process.  It was only after OMB’s decision to approve the PBRB’s list of facilities proposed for sale that Tribes and Tribal organizations were notified of the sale and NARA offered the opportunity discuss its future plans with them.  This is not an acceptable degree of Tribal consultation, and clearly, the sale of this facility greatly impacts Native Americans and Alaska Natives in our states… As a result, OMB must recognize and remedy its failure to enforce Tribal consultation policies in the FASTA process and its own lack of Tribal consultation in its decision to approval to sale of the Seattle NARA facility.” 

The Pacific Northwest congressional delegations have long advocated for these important records to stay in Seattle.  Following the announcement of the intended sale of the facility, senators and representatives sent a bipartisan, bicameral letter to OMB expressing concern and disapproval of the plans to move these records out of the region.  Members representing the region also came together to secure language in the 2020 appropriations bills that required the agencies charged with the sale of the facility and movement of the records to find ways to keep the records in the Pacific Northwest. 

Additional members who signed the letter include U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-Washington), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon); and U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington), Don Young (R-Alaska), Derek Kilmer (D-Washington), Cliff Bentz (R-Oregon), Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Oregon), Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon), Suzan DelBene (D-Washington), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Washington), Rick Larsen (D-Washington), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Washington), Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon), Kim Schrier, M.D. (D-Washington), Adam Smith (D-Washington) and Marilyn Strickland (D-Washington). 

Full text of the letter can be accessed HERE. 

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