Press Releases

House Resources Water and Power Subcommittee Ranking Member Adam Smith announced today that the subcommittee would hold a hearing on Pacific Northwest Drought Management and Energy Availability in Tacoma. The field hearing will take place on May 19 at 9:00 a.m. at City Council Chambers, 1st Floor of the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market Street, Tacoma, Washington. 

"I am looking forward to the opportunity to address issues surrounding the northwest energy crisis," said Smith. "Helping consumers and businesses deal with spiraling energy costs and developing a long-term strategy are two of the most critical issues Congress should address."

Witnesses will likely include:

* A representative from the Bonneville Power Administration.
* A representative of the Direct Service Industries.
* A representative of a local utility.
* An expert on conservation and renewable energy.

A comprehensive list of witnesses will be released prior to the hearing.

Press is welcomed and encouraged to attend.

What: United States Congress Water & Power Subcommittee Field Hearing to hear testimony on The Pacific Northwest Drought Management and Energy Availability.
When: Saturday, May 19, 2001 at 9:00am
Where: City Council Chambers, 1st Floor of the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market Street, Tacoma, Washington 
Who: Subcommittee Ranking Member Congressman Adam Smith, and other members of Congress
Contact: Linda Danforth 253-926-6683 or Laurel Johns 202-226-8454

"Today, our region received news that, unfortunately, was not surprising to anyone who spends too much of their time tied up in congestion: Seattle has the nation's second worst traffic. This dubious distinction should serve as a reminder that our region needs to undertake a comprehensive transportation policy aimed at solving this critical problem. 

The study, conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute, examined the nation's 68 largest metropolitan areas. It provides a "travel-time index" designed to quantify traffic jams from city to city. 

In real world terms, it took citizens in the Puget Sound 81 percent longer to travel over freeways and major arterials during rush hour than it did during periods when traffic was free-flowing. This traffic takes a toll that can be measured in the hours that a commuters must spend traveling back and forth from their families, home and office – those in the Seattle-Everett-area spent 53 hours in delays for the year. And these delays are expensive. For the average commuter in the Puget Sound, the cost of traffic delays – in lost wages and wasted fuel – was an average of $930 in 1999. With gasoline prices on the rise again, those costs are going to be even more burdensome. 

That's why I'm working hard to find a solution to these problems. It will take a coordinated effort, involving federal, state and local authorities and I am committed to doing my share to help develop a comprehensive strategy that includes expansion of both public transit and highway programs. 

For example, at the federal level, I'm joining other Members of the Washington delegation in support of the FAST Corridor program to improve grade-crossings and port-access projects and greatly enhance passenger and freight mobility in our region. 

I am working with local officials to provide federal assistance aimed at fixing the gridlock at both 70th Street/Valley Road and SR 509 which, if not addressed, could undermine economic expansion in the South Sound. Also, I've joined with the state Department of Transportation in an effort to determine which tactics for fighting traffic are most effective so that they can be implemented more broadly. 

Finally, I believe that we must develop and deploy new technologies that will allow commuters and truckers use the roads more efficiently. I'm currently supporting programs that enable dispatchers to make vehicle assignments based on real-time location and schedule data thus reducing the number of service hours and vehicles required to meet the demand.

Together, I'm confident we can make progress toward reducing gridlock and improving the quality of life for Puget Sound citizens."

Saying that a long-term energy policy that includes investing in alternative fuel generation is critical to the future of our economy, Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith is working to make fuel cell technology more affordable for consumers.

"Instead of just thinking about the fossil fuel energy sources of the past, we need to use technology to find new sources of affordable energy to power our economy," Smith said. "Fuel cells can be an important part of an energy policy for the future."

Fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen into water, producing water, electricity and heat, but little or no pollution and noise. As with many new energy technologies, fuel cells are relatively expensive. Smith is co-sponsoring legislation to encourage fuel cell investment and use by giving businesses and consumers a $1,000 tax credit for every 1,000 kilowatts of fuel cell generation they purchase.

"We are delighted that Congressman Adam Smith is co-sponsoring this legislation, a key element in fostering the development of fuel cell technology, which offers a clean, efficient and reliable solution to our nation's growing energy needs," said Nu Element Inc. CEO Karen Fleckner. Nu Element Inc, is a Tacoma-based fuel cell technology developer. 

Smith remarked that fuel cell technology is just one piece of a much larger energy agenda. "We need temporary price caps to protect consumers and businesses from the spiraling costs of energy in the short-term," he said. "We also need to embrace technologies to promote conservation and more efficient use of energy, as well as investing in long-term sources of energy like fuel cells."

Smith also noted that the Pacific Northwest is home to several technologies that could play a role in a long-term energy strategy. He has toured local companies such as MagnaDrive, RamGen, and Thermal Conversion Corporation to learn more about the technologies under development.

"Making fuel cells more affordable for consumers and businesses is one small step," said Smith. "I am looking forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and with the White House in developing an energy policy for the future that will power our economy and protect our natural resources."

In an effort to remove the mystery surrounding procurement by the federal government, the largest buyer of goods and services in the world, Congressman Adam Smith will host an important conference entitled "Doing Business With America."

The conference is scheduled for Tuesday, May 29th, from 8:30am to 12:00pm in the Conference Room at the CenterPoint Corporate Park, 20415 72nd Avenue South, Kent, WA 98032, and will focus on helping businesses of various sizes obtain government contacts and begin to establish long-term working relationships with different agencies within the federal government. 

"Working with the federal government, in the eyes of most small businesses, can be a virtual maze of red tape and impossible bureaucratic regulations," said Congressman Smith. "With this in mind, many businesses tend to forgo government contracts because of the perceived obstacles involved in the process." 

The conference will be an excellent opportunity for the business community and federal agencies to network with small, disadvantaged business suppliers, contractors, and subcontractors. More than 20 federal agencies, large-business prime contractors, and technical assistance providers have been invited, including the Department of the Army, the Department of the Air Force, the General Services Administration, the Small Business Administration, Boeing, Microsoft, and more. 

To confirm your attendance, for directions to CenterPoint, or for questions about the conference, please contact Jeff Reading in Congressman Smith's district office by phone at 253-926-6683, or by email at

Congressman Adam Smith is pleased to report that Joe M. Allbaugh, Director of FEMA, has announced that the deadline for individuals and business owners to register for federal and state disaster assistance has been extended one month. Anyone who suffered damage in the Nisqually Earthquake of February 28 now has until May 31 to register.

Disaster victims who need assistance can call the toll-free registration line at 1-800-462-9029 to register. Persons with speech or hearing impairments can call the TTY line at 1-800-462-7585. Those who have already applied can inquire about their applications by calling the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-525-0321 (TTY 1-800-462-7585) These lines are staffed from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Applicants may qualify for assistance under several federal and state programs such as temporary disaster housing assistance, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans for homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes or grants to meet disaster-related needs not covered by other programs. If you need assistance from our office please contact Liberty Laskowski at 253-926-6683.