Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith was pleased to see his bill, HR 2115 the Lakehaven Utility District Wastewater Reclamation and Reuse Project, pass the Power and Water Subcommittee of the Resources Committee by a unanimous vote today.

“While I have been pushing this project for the past few years in Congress, I believe it is especially timely now due to the effects of this year’s drought in the Pacific Northwest,” said Smith. “I am thankful that as Ranking Member on the Water & Power Resources Subcommittee, I was able to aid in this environmentally friendly bill’s passage. It is now my hope that we will be able get this legislation through the full committee.”

HR 2115 would amend the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to participate in the design, planning, and construction of a project to reclaim and reuse wastewater within and outside of the service area of the Lakehaven Utility District, Washington. The authorization of this bill would allow the Lakehaven Utility District to be eligible for up to a 25% federal match for the development and construction this project. The federal government’s estimated share for the project is about $8 million. 

“This bill will allow Lakehaven to reuse and reclaim water which is currently not being utilized and essentially being wasted,” said Smith. “This is especially important because of the current strain on our groundwater supplies that has been exasperated by this year’s drought. Not only is the demand for water increasing, but we are also depleting our groundwater supply. This legislation will increase our usable water and recharge the aquifer.”

Lakehaven Utility District is one of Washington state’s largest water and sewer utilities district, providing ten million gallons of water a day to approximately 100,000 residents, encompassing the city of Federal Way, and portions of Des Moines, Kent, Auburn, Pacific, Algona, Milton, King County and Pierce County. 

The utility district uses groundwater sources that are recharged primarily from local precipitation. While development has reduced the ability for these aquifers to naturally recharge, the demand for water from these sources has increased to exceed their safe production limits and simultaneously, a reduction in these aquifer levels has decreased well water production. The Lakehaven Utility District has two secondary wastewater treatment plants currently discharging over six million gallons of water a day to Puget Sound. This project, if enacted, would recapture that water and treat some of it for reuse to irrigate golf courses and other facilities, while the rest of the water would be returned to the aquifer through injections wells. The reuse of water for non-drinking purposes is expected to ease the demands on the groundwater supply.

The bill must now be heard and pass the full Resources committee. Although there is no given time line on that, Smith will soon be formally requesting a full committee mark-up of his legislation from Resources Committee Chairman, Rep. Hansen of Utah.

The following is a statement from Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.): 

"On the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in the history of the United States, it’s important that we not only remember those innocent people who lost their lives and honor the thousands of firefighters, soldiers, and ordinary Americans who sacrificed, but that we also look to the future.

We successfully drove the Taliban from power in Afghanistan, thereby robbing Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda of a safe harbor.  I’m proud of our men and women in uniform and their families, and we all owe them thanks for their sacrifices.  I believe we’ve made our nation safer through improved security without trampling on people’s civil liberties.  We’re in the midst of a major government reorganization effort that will improve coordination between agencies such as the Immigration and Naturalization Service, FBI, and CIA.

We still face steep challenges, however, both in terms of eradicating Al Qaeda and in preventing future terrorist attacks.  Osama bin Laden is still at large, and we need to eliminate him and other top Al Qaeda lieutenants.  We must not allow bin Laden’s evil intentions and evil actions fade in our memory.  These Islamic extremists want to destroy America, our interests overseas, and our way of life.  Our top foreign policy priority must remain elimination of Al Qaeda.  

Let us never forget that this fight is about values.  Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda want a world in which women have no rights, poverty and depravation is normal, and human life is expendable.  We fight for a world with freedom, dignity, and liberty, and we need to continue that fight until Al Qaeda has been soundly defeated.

The challenges that remain internationally are still enormous.  Since September 11, 2001, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has escalated, as have concerns over Saddam Hussein and Iraq.  The world has grown messier and more confusing in the last year, not less.

America cannot afford to retreat and isolate itself.  We must work with our allies and adversaries alike to meet two goals - one, to root out Al Qaeda wherever they may be in order to further our national security.  Working with other countries has been instrumental to our success thus far, and we must continue to work with other countries in the fight against terrorism.  Furthermore, we need to promote and, when possible, assist moderate Islamic movements so that the people of the Arab world have an alternative to the fanaticism of bin Laden and other terrorist organizations.

We should all care more about foreign policy.  As the lone superpower, America will always affect the rest of the world.  It is up to us whether or not we affect the world in positive or negative ways.  I believe we can have a foreign policy that promotes economic growth, bringing more people into the middle class and out of poverty; freedom and human rights; and, perhaps most importantly, a better understanding and respect of other nations’ culture and values.   

The horrific events of September 11, 2001 should always remind us that our freedom must never be taken for granted.   For a year, Americans have pulled together for the heroes of September 11 and for the men and women in uniform overseas.  Today, on September 11, 2002, we should challenge ourselves to fight for our values of freedom and liberty both at home and abroad.   We are a nation of limitless potential and resolve.  Pulling together, we will succeed."

 

Congressman Adam Smith is pleased to participate in the opening ceremonies of the new overpass over the Port of Tacoma Road in Tacoma, Washington. The overpass will officially open this Thursday, August 16, and is planned to ease the flow of road and rail traffic moving in and out of the Port of Tacoma. This is the first of 15 similar projects planned in Phase I of a program known as FAST Corridor.

“I am pleased to have been an active participant in the success of this project,” said Smith. “This overpass will enhance the economic viability of the Port, and is the first of many, important FAST Corridor projects that will help ease congestion in the Puget Sound region and help get goods to market.”

The new overpass raises Port of Tacoma Road over State Rout 509 and creates a new interchange between the two roadways. The project also eliminates traffic lights and an at-grade rail crossing. In addition to speeding the flow of trucks moving in and out of the Port, it will make cross-Port trips easier for commuters.

Elevating the roadway allowed the Port to build a set of three arrival and departure (A&D) tracks beneath Port of Tacoma Road. The tracks serve as a on-ramps/off-ramps providing a place to stage intermodal container trains moving between the transcontinental railroads and the local Port area rail network. Space is available beneath the overpass to build up to seven more A&D tracks in the future. The A&D tracks improve the efficiency of rail cargo movements throughout the Puget Sound area.

The $33 million Port of Tacoma Road Overpass is the first FAST Corridor Project to be completed. FAST Corridor is a $400 million, six-year program to build 15 road/rail overpasses and underpasses from Tacoma to Everett. The program is funded by a coalition that includes the Port of Tacoma, Port of Seattle, Port of Everett, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington State Department of Transportation, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific railroads and numerous counties and cities in the Puget Sound area. FAST Corridor is an acronym for Freight Action Strategy for the Seattle-Tacoma Corridor.

Four other FAST Corridor projects are under construction and four more are expected to break ground this year. Future FAST Corridor projects are dependent upon passage of state funding.

WHAT: Grand Opening - Port of Tacoma Road Overpass
WHEN: Thursday, August 16, 10:00 am
WHERE: Intersection, Port of Tacoma Road Overpass and State Route 509, Tacoma

Congressman Adam Smith will visit downtown Kent’s transit-oriented development site and Second Avenue Extension Project on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 at 10:00 a.m. Smith has worked to provide partial federal funding for the Second Avenue Project through the 2002 federal budget.

The project extends 2nd Avenue through the former Borden Chemical site in an arc pattern to connect with 4th Avenue. The roadway begins adjacent to the Sounder Commuter Rail Garage and planned Metro Kiss and Ride site. The roadway will facilitate pedestrian, transit and auto traffic in and through downtown Kent.

“This is an exciting time for the city of Kent,” said Congressman Smith. “The Second Avenue Extension will be a much-needed economic liaison between the city of Kent and its citizens, enabling employment, services and transit-oriented housing to prosper. I am honored to have been an active participant in the development of this project.”

The Second Avenue Extension will serve as an anchor for the planned mixed-use development called “Kent Station.” The City is currently selecting a master developer for Kent Station that is projected to include market-rate housing, retail, restaurants, entertainment, office and secondary education venues.

WHAT: Congressman Adam Smith visits Second Avenue Extension Project
DATE: Wednesday, August 15th
TIME: 9:55 - 10:30
LOCATION: Borden Plant Parking Lot, just north of 4th and Smith in downtown Kent - directly across from the King County Regional Justice Center

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith voted against the Republican energy proposal, H.R. 4 last night, saying that it doesn't do enough to forge an energy policy for the 21st century.

"Our country's energy policy is vitally important to our economy, our environment, and our national security," said Smith. "I strongly believe we need to make an aggressive effort to develop and implement the energy technologies of the future that will allow us to wean our dependency on fossil fuels. Unfortunately, the proposal in front of us shortchanges these investments and actually encourages a greater dependence on fossil fuels."

Smith requested the opportunity to offer his own amendment to the legislation, co-sponsored by fellow New Democrat Coalition Members Rick Larsen (D-WA) and Ron Kind (D-WI), but the House Leadership restricted amendments to the bill.

"My amendment would have made the federal government a leader in using technologies to improve energy efficiency and renewable and alternative sources of energy," Smith said. "Right now, the federal government spends $8 billion a year on energy costs and consumes about 2 percent of all the energy in the country. This kind of commitment to the energy technologies of tomorrow could make a significant difference. I was disappointed that the House was not given the opportunity to debate and vote on this."

Smith said there are several problems with H.R. 4 that make it unacceptable. First, H.R. 4 would provide nearly $7 billion in incentives for fossil fuel exploration and extraction on public lands, a provision Smith opposed as a Member of the House Resources Committee. Although it authorizes increased funding for renewable and energy efficiency research and development and tax credits, Smith points out the money is not there for those investments.

"Ironically, this plan finds real dollars for fossil fuel incentives – it takes the money out of the Land and Water Conservation Fund – but it really only gives lip service to research and tax credits for energy technologies of the future," explained Smith. "I would have supported an amendment to pay for the research and development and tax credits, but unfortunately, the House Leadership did not give us an opportunity to do so."

Second, the legislation does not adequately set standards for more fuel-efficient vehicles. Smith supported an amendment to require sport utility vehicles to meet fuel economy standards of 26 miles per gallon for model years 2006 and 2007, but that amendment was rejected on a 160 - 269 vote.

"Unfortunately, I think we are missing some real opportunities," said Smith. "We should be investing in the energy technologies of the future to help grow our economy and protect our environment. We should set high standards for vehicles, buildings, and appliances and encourage people to purchase more energy-efficient goods. This legislation isn't innovative and creative enough, and I am hopeful that this debate will continue into the fall so that we can enact some forward-thinking energy policies into law."

Smith also voted for an amendment to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but the amendment was defeated.