Press Releases

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) voted in support of the 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, legislation that will help move America toward energy independence, protect the environment and rebuild our infrastructure.  The bill also provides important funding for energy and water related projects in Washington state. Smith was able to secure funding for a number of important local projects.

“This bill will help to restore, protect and maintain our local eco-systems and waterways. It will also help to spur innovation in our energy sector and modernize our infrastructure,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “Additionally, because of the increased flooding risks demonstrated by the storms earlier this year, I worked to ensure that this bill includes funds to address flooding mitigation and related habitat restoration along the Puyallup River. While I was disappointed to see that the amount appropriated for the Puyallup River is less than originally requested, I am still pleased to see that our state will receive a significant amount of money to address these issues along this river.”

The Energy and Water Appropriations Act invests in new technologies that will create the next generation of vehicles with improved fuel efficiency, better and cleaner engines and batteries. It also helps modernize our electric grid by investing in “smart grid” technology that will ensure efficient and reliable delivery of electricity to American homes and businesses.

The bill increases funds for weatherization grants to help struggling families improve their homes’ energy efficiency and save hundreds of dollars annually in electricity and heating costs.

The bill provides funding for projects and programs in the 9th Congressional District and Washington state requested by Congressman Smith including:

  • $1,000,000 Washington State Biofuels Industry Development at University of Washington. This project will allow the Center for Biofuels at the University of Washington to invest in equipment and infrastructure upgrades needed to develop new technologies for converting biomass into fuels.
  • $368,000 Lower Puyallup River.  This funding would be used to determine alternatives for addressing flood and related habitat issues of the Lower Puyallup River in Pierce County, WA.  
  • $2,456,000 Duwamish and Green River Restoration. Funding will complete the design and construction of restoration projects within the Duwamish/Green Ecosystem Restoration Program.  
  • $378,000 Mud Mountain Dam Fish Passage. This funding will help implement restorations projects in the Puget Sound that are consistent with fish recovery efforts and benefit the inland marine waters in northwest Washington state.
  • $2,904,000 Mud Mountain. This funding will support the existing diversion dam and trap and haul facilities, which ensures threatened Puget Sound Chinook salmon are able to be passed to spawning habitat above Mud Mountain Dam.  
  • $341,000 Puget Sound Nearshore Marine Habitat Restoration This project will identify and help implement the most cost-effective habitat restoration projects in the near shore, estuary and marine areas of Puget Sound by evaluating the factors that are causing habitat decline and pollution in the Puget Sound Basin; formulating, evaluating and screening potential solutions to these problems; and recommending a series of actions and projects.  
  • $100,000 Puget Sound and Adjacent Waters Restoration This funding will be used to help  implement project restoration projects in the Puget Sound that are based on the designs developed by non-federal stakeholders, and consult on regional priorities consistent with fish recovery efforts that will benefit the inland marine waters in northwest Washington state.
  • $1,000,000 Power Grid Reliability and Security This funding will be used for research on problems of and potential solutions for power grid instability, insecurity, and lack of capacity, and this research will help develop effective smart grid technology.

The 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill is one of 12 annual appropriations bills that fund Federal Government programs and services.  For a full summary of the bill visit the House Appropriations Committee.

The bill must now be approved by the Senate before it can be sent to the President to be signed in to law.
Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), who recently returned from a trip to Pakistan, made the following statement applauding the passage of the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009:

“It was clear during my recent trip to Pakistan in September that our support is absolutely helping Pakistan push back the threat they face from violent extremists. The Pakistanis are making positive progress and the skills and assets they have gained through our cooperation are invaluable to them. We must build on this relationship and continue to support their efforts. This bill will help us develop this long-term relationship based on mutual interests and the common goal of defeating violent extremists.

“A key component of this legislation requires the President to develop a comprehensive interagency regional security strategy in coordination with groups on the ground.  Such a strategy is essential to our efforts to counter terrorist threats and combat safe havens in Pakistan.   

“This legislation provides funding and support to train the Pakistani military in the crucial counterinsurgency capabilities needed to defeat violent extremist groups within or near its borders. It also provides funding to support economic, social and democratic development by strengthening democratic institutions, reinforcing the judicial system, developing infrastructure, spurring jobs creation, expanding public education and providing aid to refugees. This funding is vital to undermine the efforts of violent extremists, strengthen domestic support for the Pakistani government and move the country toward stability.

“While Pakistan still faces tremendous internal and external destabilizing pressures, some of these pressures have begun to subside over the last few months in large part due to our assistance.  We must build on this relationship and our long-term commitment to the region.  I am pleased to support legislation that will continue to provide the critical resources necessary to bolster the Pakistani government and develop a more constructive, accountable relationship with the United States.”

To see Congressman Adam Smith speak on the House floor about this important piece of legislation click here.

 

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) and Congressman Dave Reichert (WA-08) joined together to call on FEMA to conduct a comprehensive emergency preparedness and response exercise to take place in the Green River Valley as it faces a high risk of flooding due to damage at the Howard Hanson Dam. The exercise would help to ensure preparation at all levels to address the personal and economic impact of potential flooding and storm damage.

“With the critical situation facing the Green River Valley, a key component is to be prepared as we work for a long-term fix,” said Reichert. “I’m pleased to join with Congressman Adam Smith in this effort, as the threat expands to his congressional district. We must do all we can to protect our citizens and prevent property damage and loss.”

“Our communities continue to face the possibility of significant flooding and we must do everything we can to protect them,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “In the short term, all necessary resources should be focused on shoring up any infrastructure vulnerabilities and ensuring there is a comprehensive emergency preparedness and response plan in place so we can react effectively in the event of a flood.  Overall, while state and federal resources are being appropriated to mitigate and avoid flooding damages, individuals should also be taking precautions to protect themselves and their property.”

In the letter to Mr. Fugate, the members state:

As representatives of the two congressional districts with constituents directly impacted by a flood event, we ask that your agency conduct a simulated exercise to mitigate the potential for severe personal and economic loss and prepare all of the local, state, and federal agencies involved in emergency response for any scenario that may arise from a breach of the Dam or the release of excess water.  Preparedness is essential for effective response, and your agency has the ability to help ensure the Green River Valley is ready in the event of flooding.  FEMA’s assistance in establishing and facilitating effective emergency communications and response could result in lessening the damages of this potential disaster.  The threat of flooding from winter storms and the reduced capacity of the Howard Hanson Dam is real, and it is imperative that all levels of government act swiftly and in full coordination to prepare and protect the citizens and the Green River Valley.

Full text of the letter follows:


September 25, 2009

Mr. W. Craig Fugate
Administrator
Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street S.W., Room 700
Washington, D.C. 20472

Dear Administrator Fugate,

We write to urgently request that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conduct a comprehensive emergency preparedness and response exercise in the Green River Valley in Washington State.  This exercise could ensure that citizens, local officials, and emergency teams are prepared to address the infrastructure vulnerabilities, personal safety risks, and the economic impact of potential storm damage to the Green River Valley and the Howard Hanson Dam at a time of heightened risk of flooding.

For over 40 years, the Howard Hanson Dam and Green River levees in King County, Washington, have provided effective flood control and protection.  Following record rainfall in January 2009, damage to an abutment adjacent to the Dam diminished the maximum water capacity that can be safely held by the Dam. As the Army Corps of Engineers works to assess and repair the damage, cities located within the Green River Valley were notified of a scenario that may require the intentional release of more water than usual during extreme rain events. This has the potential to result in catastrophic flooding that could affect tens of thousands of individuals. King County officials are preparing plans to evacuate up to 5,000 people; some estimates show the potential for lost economic output of $46 million per day and up to $2 billion in property damage.

As representatives of the two congressional districts with constituents directly impacted by a flood event, we ask that your agency conduct a simulated exercise to mitigate the potential for severe personal and economic loss and prepare all of the local, state, and federal agencies involved in emergency response for any scenario that may arise from a breach of the Dam or the release of excess water.  Preparedness is essential for effective response, and your agency has the ability to help ensure the Green River Valley is ready in the event of flooding.  FEMA’s assistance in establishing and facilitating effective emergency communications and response could result in lessening the damages of this potential disaster.  The threat of flooding from winter storms and the reduced capacity of the Howard Hanson Dam is real, and it is imperative that all levels of government act swiftly and in full coordination to prepare and protect the citizens and the Green River Valley.

Our offices stand ready to provide any assistance you might need in orchestrating and carrying out such an exercise.  Please let us know if there is any additional information needed as FEMA considers this request.  We eagerly await your reply.

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement concerning the Air Force’s draft Request for Proposals (RFP) for the aerial refueling tanker:

“I am pleased to see that the Department of Defense and the Air Force appear to have made positive adjustments to their draft Request for Proposals (RFP) for the aerial refueling tanker. The updated RFP for a new fleet of tankers will be released tomorrow. From my initial review, the new RFP seems to address a number of concerns raised in the last round of bidding, and will factor in the costs to operate, maintain, and base the aircraft over its service life. The new RFP also seems to more clearly lay out the overall criteria being used in the selection process and should help clarify the bidding process.

“In the coming days, I will review in much greater detail the new guidelines set forth in the tanker RFP to ensure they create a fair and transparent procurement process.  As the Air Force moves forward, I will follow the process closely to ensure all proposals are evaluated on equal merit. Any contract awarded must provide the best product to support our men and women in uniform in the most cost effective way possible.

“I hope that the new RFP will lead to an equitable and open tanker competition and ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement in regard to Russell Investments’ decision to move its headquarters from Tacoma to downtown Seattle:

“I am very disappointed in the Russell Company’s decision to relocate from Tacoma. Despite Russell’s decision to relocate, the business climate of Tacoma and the South Sound region remains desirable and highly competitive and I am confident our local economy will continue to grow and strengthen.

“The Washington delegation has been working for years with the City of Tacoma and all of Pierce County to ensure that the South Sound region remains attractive to employers. I have no doubt in the economic strength of our region and will continue to work on the federal level to improve, encourage and enhance growth in the South Sound.”