Washington D.C. – Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) urged action to repair the Howard Hanson Dam and the levees along the lower Green and Puyallup Rivers. As the rain and flood season approaches, “the need for action and resources is imperative,” said Smith. In turn, Smith enlisted the support of Congressman Ed Pastor, Chairman of the House Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, which provides funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to repair and rehabilitate local levees and dams.

An excerpt and video of the exchange between Congressman Smith and Congressman Pastor is below. Click on the image below to view the full video.

Excerpt of exchange:

Mr. Smith: The Green and Puyallup Rivers, located in the Ninth District of Washington, were flooded by record levels of water in January 2009, causing cities along these rivers to sustain major damage.  Levees along these rivers are now in need of repair and rehabilitation, and when added to the other levees that were already priorities for the Seattle District, the need for resources and action is imperative.
Following the record high level of water behind the Howard Hanson Dam on the Green River, significant structural weaknesses were discovered.  Because of this damage, water levels at the Howard Hanson Dam are being held at lower-than-normal levels, drastically increasing the possibility of flooding along the banks below.  

This is extremely troubling as we are rapidly approaching the upcoming rain and flood season.  If the Dam were to fail, or if a strong storm brings a heavy level of rain, then the levees below are at a serious risk of being breached, causing significant property damage and driving large numbers of people from their homes and businesses.

I respectfully ask to work with the Gentleman to ensure that the Seattle District of the Army Corps of Engineers is responsive to the flood prevention needs of those along the lower Green and Puyallup Rivers, and will make the repair of their levees a top priority.  I also ask to work with the Subcommittee to make the resources needed to fix the Howard Hanson Dam available in a timely manner, as they are identified.

Mr. Pastor:  I thank the gentleman for drawing the Subcommittee’s attention to this very serious issue.  He has been a dedicated advocate for the people of the Ninth District of Washington and the surrounding areas.  We will work with the gentleman to ensure that the Seattle District of the Corps is responsive to the needs of the cities and people along the lower Green and Puyallup Rivers, and that adequate resources are available to repair the Howard Hanson Dam.