Press Releases

Today, Congressman Adam Smith, Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, Congressman Dave Reichert, Congressman Norm Dicks, Congressman Jim McDermott, Congressman Jay Inslee, Congressman Brian Baird, and Congressman Rick Larsen sent a letter to Lieutenant General Robert Van Antwerp urging the Army Corps of Engineers to continue working at full speed to complete the study phase of the Howard Hanson Dam fix and move into the design and construction phase of the project.

The delegation called on the Corps to explain in full how they plan on completing the study phase by June, 2010 in order to ensure that the project can be considered for fiscal year 2012 construction funding. The delegation also requested a meeting with Major General William T. Grisoli, Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations, to review this timeline and impress upon him the importance of this project for families and businesses in the Green River Valley. Members of the delegation also requested a conference call with Army Corps leadership and local officials to discuss the Howard Hanson Dam project and give them an opportunity to ask additional questions.

“Our priority at the federal level is to achieve the safest and fastest permanent fix to the Howard Hanson Dam, which requires no delays in the study, design, and construction of the project…This decrease in the probability of flooding is a critical achievement. However, it is difficult for those who live, work, or own businesses in the Green River Valley to rest easy until the full protection offered by Howard Hanson Dam is restored.” the members of the delegation said in the letter.

 The full text of the letter follows:

February 4, 2010

 

Lieutenant General Robert Van Antwerp

U.S. Army Chief of Engineers and Commanding General

U.S Army Corps of Engineers

441 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20314-1000

 

Dear Lieutenant General Robert Van Antwerp

 

A little more than one year ago, severe storms and record water levels held behind Howard Hanson Dam damaged the dam’s earthen abutment, resulting in a reduction in the amount of water that can safely be stored behind the dam. Left unchecked, the flood protection the dam could provide at that point in time was estimated at a one in three probability of flooding.

 

Since that time, the federal, state, and local governments have worked together to provide interim measures of protection until a permanent fix for the dam can be fully implemented to restore flood protection to the full authorized levels.  Progress has been made and due to those interim measures, including the completion of the grout curtain,  work on the dam's drainage tunnel, repair and improvement of levees, and deployment of flood barriers in the most vulnerable areas, the estimated probability of flooding has decreased to one in thirty.  This decrease in the probability of flooding is a critical achievement. However, it is difficult for those who live, work, or own businesses in the Green River Valley to rest easy until the full protection offered by Howard Hanson Dam is restored.

 

Our priority at the federal level is to achieve the safest and fastest permanent fix to Howard Hanson Dam, which requires no delays in the study, design, and construction of the project.  It is our understanding that the study phase of the project is progressing at an aggressive pace and has a goal of completion in June of this year.  Given the realities of the federal budget process, it is imperative the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) achieve this goal in order for the construction project to be included in the fiscal year (FY) 2012 President's budget submission to Congress. Furthermore, the completion of the study in June provides ample time for the USACE to focus efforts on the design phase of the project for the remainder of FY2010 through FY2011, allowing for full advantage to be taken of construction funds in FY2012. We would like clarity on the policy regarding the progression of construction projects as they move from the completion of a study into the design and engineering phase.

 

To review this timeline, the ultimate completion of the project, and to discuss the importance of achieving it, we respectfully request a meeting with Major General William T. Grisoli, Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations.  We view his experience as former Commander of the Northwestern Division as an invaluable asset.  This experience affords him a local perspective of the importance of Howard Hanson Dam, not only to those living downstream but for the economic engine it protects in the region.  We are looking forward to working with Major General Grisoli as well as we did with his immediate predecessor, Major General Temple.

 

Additionally, we request the participation of a member of your direct team in a conference call with our local elected leaders. The inner workings of the USACE are not an intuitive process and leaves those working through it with many questions. In particular, it has become evident that prior experience with the USACE does not directly translate when working on a dam safety project.  It would be most helpful to have these important differences acknowledged and directly addressed in a forum that offers time for questions to be asked and answered by the USACE with one voice.  

 

We are acutely aware that a permanent fix for Howard Hanson Dam is not a simple task and that such construction projects take time to execute properly and safely.  Thank you for your attention to these requests.  We look forward to your response regarding the timeline as we have laid it out and the immediate next steps necessary to achieving it.  

 

Sincerely,

 

 

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Today, the House of Representatives adopted an amendment put forth by Congressman Adam Smith, which will help to strengthen our cyber security capabilities.

“Our country faces threats from numerous cyber-attacks each day,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “It is imperative that we ensure our cyber workforce not only possesses the knowledge and skills necessary to defend our networks, but also the ability to collaborate with the many departments and agencies within the Federal Government who lead the effort to combat these threats.”

Smith’s amendment to The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2009 seeks to ensure that our cyber workforce – including IT professionals at civilian agencies, who may not deal with classified information on a daily basis - has the ability to collaborate with the Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, and other Federal agencies on cyber-related threats that out of necessity may be classified.

Specifically, the amendment modifies Section 107 of the bill, which calls for the President to submit a report to Congress addressing the cybersecurity workforce needs of the Federal Government. The amendment requires the report to also examine the current security clearance and job suitability requirements that may currently serve as a deterrent to hiring an adequately trained cyber workforce.

The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2010 would reauthorize and expand cybersecurity research programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institute of Standards and Technology. Additionally, the measure would create a new cybersecurity scholarship program, require agencies to develop a strategic cybersecurity research plan and establish a university-industry task force to explore public-private research partnerships.

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement in commemoration of Black History Month:

“In the pursuit of the dream put forth by Carter G. Woodson – the founder of Black History Month – let us celebrate and appreciate the accomplishments of the many African Americans who have helped shape our nation.

“From the arts to government, the sciences to medicine and every other facet of American life, African Americans have made significant contributions that have helped make the United States the greatest country on earth. Over the next month, Americans should take stock of these contributions and accomplishments and appreciated their significance and value.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) made the following statement regarding the President’s State of the Union Address:
 
“As the President outlined tonight, our nation faces a number of difficult challenges. We currently have a growing national deficit, rising unemployment, two wars abroad - which are also dramatically increasing the number of veterans we must support here at home - and a health care system that does not work for tens of millions of Americans.
 
“Additionally, due to nearly a decade of excessive federal spending and irresponsible behavior on Wall Street, at end of 2008 and into early 2009, our economy plummeted into a deep recession, which has exacerbated many of the problems we face. While the President and Congress have done much to address these problems over the past year, we must do more – much more. Congress and the President must now press ahead with more urgency than ever before to move our country back toward prosperity and stability.
 
“I will work tirelessly with the President and my colleagues in Congress – from both sides of the aisle - to ensure we are addressing these problems and working to create jobs, rebuild our economy, get the deficit under control and provide for our men and women in uniform as well as our veterans.”
 

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Today, Congressman Adam Smith made the following statement after being named the new Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces:

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s Air and Land Forces Subcommittee (ALF). This is a vitally important subcommittee, with jurisdiction over all Army and nearly all Air Force acquisition programs, many of which face immense challenges. I look forward to working with my colleagues to address the important challenges that lie ahead.

Striking the appropriate balance between the immediate and future needs of our Army and Air Force is one of the most pressing questions this committee will face. In my new role, I will continue to work to ensure that our men and women in uniform not only have the equipment and support they need today, but well into the future.

While I will be taking on a new role on the Committee, I am and will remain interested and engaged in my work on the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee (TUTC). I find my work on TUTC to be incredibly rewarding and extremely important to our national security. However, the opportunity to serve as Chairman of ALF offers a different perspective on these issues and represents new opportunities to work on other issues paramount to our national security.

Again, I appreciate the support of my fellow committee members and look forward to working with Chairman Skelton, my colleagues on ALF, TUTC and the entire House Armed Services Committee to address all the national security challenges we face.”

 
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