Press Releases

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced today that he has secured $3 million for the AirWeighs system to be installed on the U.S. Air Force C-30 fleet.

Investigators of the crash of an Air Force Special Operations Command C-130 in Afghanistan blame the crash on miscalculated weight and balancing.  The AirWeighs system is an onboard weights and balance system that can improve aircraft safety, improve speed and cost-savings by measuring the actual aircraft weight and center of gravity.

“It is critical that the aircraft in the U.S. Air Force have the most advanced safety systems available,” said Smith. “As we ask our men and women in uniform to put their lives on the front line, we at home must ensure that we are providing them with the best equipment in the world that will bring them home safely.”

Smith requested funding through the 2005 Defense Appropriations bill. It is expected that this bill will be finalized before Congress adjourns this year.


Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced today that he is sending a letter to EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt urging him to take a stronger stand on mercury pollution. Mercury is a highly toxic chemical whose effects on the central nervous system are comparable to those of lead, particularly for unborn fetuses and very young children whose brains are still developing.

“The Bush Administration should set the highest bar possible for mercury pollution,” said Smith. “Mercury exposure is on the rise, with the EPA estimating that 1 in 6 women of childbearing age in the United States have unsafe levels of mercury in their blood, and that as many as 630,000 children may be born each year with unhealthy levels of mercury in their blood.  As hundreds of thousands of people march this weekend in Washington, D.C. to protect women’s lives, we must tell the Bush Administration to take a stand on this dangerous substance and start reducing emissions immediately.”

During the 1990s, government regulation greatly reduced mercury emissions from medical and municipal waste incineration, leaving power plants as the main problem.  In 2000, the EPA determined that mercury is a hazardous substance as defined by the Clean Air Act, which requires it to be strictly controlled. Yet, the Bush Administration is proposing a plan that could create mercury “hot spots” throughout the country by allowing some power plants to avoid reducing mercury at all by permitting them to instead buy credits from other power plants in different locations that have made excess reductions.  The EPA also is proposing to regulate mercury as a non-toxic pollutant, requiring far less stringent controls.  Specifically, EPA’s proposed approach delays the day when power plants must install state-of-the-art mercury controls until at least 2018.

On this Earth Day, Smith also announced that he recently signed a trio of letters aimed at securing our nation’s energy future:

- The first letter expresses support for funding in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill for renewable energy programs at the Department of Energy.

- The second letter supports funding for Energy Efficiency Grant programs as well as Energy Efficiency Research and Development programs.

-  The third letter expresses his support for funding EPA’s Energy Star program.

Smith would like to see the United States eventually become a leading exporter of innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies rather than an importer of foreign oil.

“Investments in these programs will help our country achieve the goal of exporting clean and renewable energy,” said Smith. “In addition to diversifying our energy supply, programs such as these will help to create new jobs, drive economic growth, and benefit our environment.”

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced today that he is requesting funding for the Marine Science and Technology program run by Highline Community College.

“It is exciting that a college in our community will have the only saltwater pier in the country that can be used for scientific research,” said Smith. “Located in the Redondo neighborhood, this waterfront facility will be on the leading edge of maritime research and will provide an invaluable tool not only to the students at Highline Community College but the center will provide hands-on learning to local residents as well.”

The center will provide opportunities for our community in the areas of environmental health, science, and technology education.  The MaST’s programs will increase environmental health awareness, literacy, and promote stewardship of environmental and business related health issues.  Training will include topics such as urban water quality, preserving marine dependent habitats, and minimizing ecological impacts of toxins released in the water.  The facility will be used to promote science and technology education to K-12, community college students, and community members, while providing training opportunities in science and technology to K-12 teachers.

Smith requested funding through the 2005 Labor, Health and Human Service, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. It is expected that this bill will be finalized before Congress adjourns this year.


Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced today that he is requesting funding for the Rural Information Technology Jobs Initiative, which it is estimated that it will create 50 new jobs per year in rural communities in Washington state.

“The advances in technology have helped our economy enormously, but there’s more we can do,” Smith said. “We need to make sure all regions of the country, including our rural communities, are benefiting from the economic growth and job creation technology can help provide. The Rural Information Technology Jobs Initiative will help create good jobs in rural communities.

The goals of this initiative are to strengthen and diversify the economy of disadvantaged rural communities by creating information-based jobs, raise the technology skills level of workers in rural America, and reduce our dependence on skilled workers offshore.  It will also build the capacity of rural communities to continue creating jobs on their own in the future.

Smith requested funding through the 2005 Commerce, Justice, State, Judiciary and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. It is expected that this bill and its funding will be finalized before Congress adjourns this year.

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced today that he has requested funding for the Shaw Road extension in Puyallup.

“Improving rail-road intersections is an important part of improving our region’s traffic and congestion problems,” Smith said. “The Puyallup area is a growing and thriving community in the Puget Sound region, and it’s important that we make improvements such as the Shaw Road extension.”

This project involves creating a link between Shaw Road at its current terminus at Pioneer Way, NW across the BNSF Railroad tracks, and then connecting with East Main Street.  This would be accomplished via an elevated grade separation of the BNSF tracks.  This project will address longstanding deficiencies in cross-track movements in the area.  The project will complement other area projects, including rail upgrades in anticipation of safety and movement improvements planned to facilitate anticipated Sound Transit passenger rail service.  This has been identified as a priority improvement within the FAST Corridor.  Preliminary studies and environmental work is done.  Some right of way has been acquired.  Selection of a preferred alignment is expected by the end of the year.

Smith requested funding through the 2005 Transportation, Treasury and Independent Organizations Appropriations bill. It is expected that this bill will be finalized before Congress adjourns this year.