Press Releases

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith said today that the energy proposal the House of Representatives is scheduled to consider tomorrow, H.R. 4, needs significant improvement in order 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 has 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). The amendment would:

*Improve the efficiency standards for federal buildings;
*Require that, by 2011, non-hydropower renewable energy sources account for 10 percent of the power consumed by the federal government; 
*Require that, by 2011, 10 percent of vehicles in the federal fleet be alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles;
*Improve the fuel economy standards for the federal fleet of vehicles.

"My amendment would make 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 3 percent of all the energy in the country. This kind of commitment to the energy technologies of tomorrow can make a significant difference."

H.R. 4 would also 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. "The United States used to be the world's leader in developing new energy technologies, but a steep decline in the research and development budgets has led to our slipping behind other countries. We have the opportunity to become an exporter of energy, because while we don't have as much oil or gas as other countries, Americans have innovation and creativity, and we can change the way the world gets energy if we make a commitment to the technologies of the future."

Smith will support amendments to actually fund the research and development of renewable and alternative energy sources and energy efficiency technology, as well as the tax incentives to encourage use of these technologies. He will also support common-sense measures to improve our fossil fuel extraction, such as the building of a pipeline from Alaska to the lower 48 states.

"We also need a greater commitment to efficiency standards," noted Smith. "In fact, just today a study by the National Academy of Sciences was released that concludes we can dramatically increase vehicle fuel efficiency and that any increased cost would pay for itself. We have the technology and the know-how to do this, and we should work with auto manufacturers and consumers to develop the best, most energy-efficient cars in the world."

Smith said he is hopeful the energy debate will continue. "There are still many unaddressed issues, including energy industry restructuring, emissions standards, and transmission," he said. "I am fully committed to continuing work on this critically important issue throughout the rest of the year and into the future."

In an effort to promote a more balanced approach to a national energy agenda, Congressman Adam Smith yesterday voted against final passage of HR 2436, The Energy Security Act, in the Resources Committee, instead supporting an alternative measure that focused on modernizing our energy infrastructure and common sense energy exploration on our public lands.

"The bill passed out of the Resources Committee continues our country's dependence on fossil fuels and ignores any reasonable, balanced approach to resolve the energy crisis," said Smith.

The legislation streamlines the public lands leasing process and includes $7 billion in "royalty relief": Measures to exempt oil and gas companies from paying fair market value for using public lands for resource extraction.

"The high price of energy ought to be incentive enough for businesses to drill for natural gas and oil on public lands," said Smith. "I certainly don't believe we should cheat the taxpayer by not charging fair market value for the resources on our public lands."

The bill also opens up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for drilling, a provision which Smith opposes, and is widely viewed as unlikely to be approved by the House or Senate. On a vote of 30-19 the committee failed to pass an amendment which would have prevented this.

Smith instead voted for an alternative package which would have expedited construction of a natural gas pipeline from Alaska to the lower 48 states. Originally authorized by Congress in 1976, the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline would enhance the delivery of 35 trillion cubic feet of natural gas already discovered in existing development fields to the lower 48 States through the construction of a pipeline delivery system that follows the Alaska Highway.

"I've learned that one of our biggest energy problems is transmission congestion," explained Smith. "We need ways to move oil and natural gas around the country, and we need transmission lines to move electricity. Simply authorizing more drilling on our public lands without relieving the congestion we already have in our energy infrastructure doesn't make sense."

The substitute would have also provided the Administrator of the Western Area Power Administration to take such actions as necessary to relieve power transmission constraints, and ensured that the American public receives just compensation from the development of oil and gas resources on federal lands and waters. It would have doubled the Land and Water Conservation Fund's authorized annual use of receipts generated by Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas leasing activities from $900 million to $1.8 billion through 2015.

The substitute failed 21-30.

"Although I am disappointed that this bill was not substantially improved in the Resources Committee, I am committed to working in a bipartisan manner on this critical issue," said Smith. "I am hopeful that we can construct an energy package with a technology emphasis that would focus on modernizing our energy infrastructure, energy efficiency, and renewable energy sources."

Other House Committees are working on pieces of the President's energy package this week. Floor action is expected on some pieces before August.

Congressman Adam Smith is happy to announce that Fleet and Industrial Supply Center's (FISC), Regional Contacting Department awarded a contract to T.A.P. Tool Incorporated, a Veteran Owned Small Business in Fife, Washington. The award term value if all options and performance standards are met is over $44 million for the 15-year term.

"I am always pleased to hear of hard-working, well-deserving businesses in my district being rewarded with significant contracts," said Smith. "The Federal government should make a better effort to work with small businesses like T.A.P. Tool."

T.A.P. Tool's offices and 10,000 square feet of warehouse space are located on the Puyallup Indian Reservation at 11421 52nd East in Fife which is located in a Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZONE).

T.A.P. Tool has begun supplying the Defense Supply Center in Philadelphia with fasteners for government end users under a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA). Under the newly awarded contract, T.A.P. Tools will provide full service distribution for commercial and government industrial hardware to the Intermediate Maintenance Facility at Naval Submarine Base, Bangor.

"This contract represents a real team effort and is significant for a number of reasons," said Captain Dennis V. Belt, commanding officer for FISC Puget Sound. "The reasons are:

Uses eCommerce for ordering Direct Vendor Delivery's (DVD) eCatalog, utilizing receipt confirmation and billing. 
DVD contract that uses Just-In-Time concepts. 
Involves use of Acquisition Reform…award term fee with possible 15-year performance. 
A regional contract that will support a regional customer base. 
Contractor is a Fife-based, small, veteran owned business in a HUBZONE. 
$44 million award." 
Mr. Chuck Woodruff, the owner of T.A.P. Tool, served in the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam conflict. Mr. Woodruff's company has 15 employees and stocks over 4000 parts for over 100 different manufacturers.

Congressman Adam Smith expressed his pleasure with Department of Transportation Secretary Mineta's announcement today that Alaska Airlines was awarded the two slots at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC.

"I am very pleased that Alaska Airlines was awarded the slot at National Airport in Washington D.C," said Smith. "This will be the first direct flight into Seattle from National Airport, and I think it shows that the Puget Sound region continues to grow in stature. Congratulations to Alaska and its thousands of employees -- I'm very proud to have them in my district." 

The slots were made available due to American Airlines' acquisition of Trans World Airlines (TWA). Only six pairs of the slots are available at Reagan National and are reserved for non-stop flights of more than 1,250 miles. The DOT approved Alaska Airlines' application over nine other airlines who were all competing for the coveted slots. Each pair consists of one takeoff and one landing daily.

Alaska plans to begin once-daily round trip service in mid-September using 172-seat Boeing 737-900 aircraft. No other carrier offers either nonstop service from Seattle or same plane, one-stop service from Anchorage to Reagan National.

Smith has been diligently working with Alaska Airlines and the Department of Transportation since the initial announcement of an open slot earlier this year in an effort to ensure that Alaska Airlines was awarded these slots.

"I felt it was critical that the Puget Sound region have a nonstop flight into National Airport," noted Smith. "I'm very pleased Alaska Airlines, one of the best-rated airlines in the country, was awarded the slot."

 

After a stellar game at the plate and at shortstop, Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith was named MVP for the Democrats in the annual Congressional baseball game yesterday.

Despite the disappointing 9-1 loss for the Democrats, Smith had an outstanding game. He went 2 for 2 against Republican pitcher and former Seattle Seahawk Steve Largent and made several impressive plays at shortstop.

"I guess some of the Mariners magic has rubbed off on me," Smith joked. "Even though the Democrats lost, it's still for a great cause, and it's a great way to get to know your colleagues in a different way."

Over 50 Members of Congress participated in this year's Congressional Baseball game. Proceeds were donated to the Washington D.C. Literacy Council, the Little League Baseball Program of the Police Boys and Girls Club of Washington D.C., and selected charities of the Bowie Baysox, who also donated their home field for the game. Over $90,000 was raised.

Smith, proud to represent his hometown of Tacoma, wore an official Tacoma Rainiers uniform.