Rep. Newhouse Statement on House Passage of FY 2016 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2016 Energy and Water Appropriations bill by a vote of 240 to 170. The Senate must now write and pass an appropriations bill.
"While Congress is still early in the appropriations process, this bill puts priorities like Hanford cleanup, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's missions and Yucca Mountain on a strong path forward," said Rep. Newhouse. “I’m encouraged by the restoration of the President’s proposed cut for River Corridor cleanup, and I will continue to advocate for all Hanford projects as this process continues.”
The bill passed today also included an amendment introduced by Rep. Newhouse and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ). The Gosar-Newhouse amendment supports water storage projects by preventing any funding from being used to remove any federally-owned or operated dams. Upon passage of the amendment, Rep. Newhouse stated:
“Federal dams are a vital component of the water infrastructure in the West, and they play a pivotal role in water storage, irrigation, and flood control. Federal dams help ensure access to clean water supplies for many rural and agricultural communities in the West – providing critically important irrigation for countless agriculture operations and millions of acres of farmland. At a time when much of the West is facing a possible 100-year drought, removing these dams would have a devastating impact. This commonsense amendment will help ensure states like Washington are not additionally burdened when contending with mounting water shortages and drastic drought conditions.”
Watch Rep. Newhouse’s floor speech in support of the Gosar-Newhouse amendment here.
Hanford Cleanup Commitment
The Fiscal Year 2016 Energy and Water Appropriations bill provides $78 million of the Administration’s proposed cut for cleanup along the Columbia River Corridor, including $922,711,000 for the Richland Operations Office (not including safeguards and security) and provides $1.268 billion for the Office of River Protection.
During debate on the House floor on Thursday, Rep. Newhouse secured a key commitment from Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Chairman of the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, to ensure that the activities at Hanford’s tank farms and at the Waste Treatment Plant receive the funding needed to move cleanup forward safely, efficiently and in a timely manner.
Rep. Newhouse: Mr. Chairman, Hanford is the nation’s largest and most complex Department of Energy defense nuclear cleanup site. I have greatly appreciated your willingness to work with me to ensure funding for this important effort. The restoration of funds for cleanup along the Columbia River Corridor – which is legally required and a priority for the Mid-Columbia region – puts those projects on a very strong path forward. I also appreciate the funding provided for the Office of River Protection. As the final bill is developed for Fiscal Year ‘16, I would like to continue working with you to ensure that all of the work that the federal government is legally obligated to do is realized. I am particularly concerned with ensuring that work is able to progress on retrieving Hanford’s tank waste and preparing to feed an operational Waste Treatment Plant, while providing sufficient resources to meet near term regulatory requirements in the tank farms. I yield back to Chairman Simpson.
Rep. Simpson: I’d like to thank the gentleman from Washington for his strong advocacy for these important cleanup activities, and I agree that they are probably the most important in the country. I look forward to working with him to ensure that the activities at Hanford’s tank farms and at the Waste Treatment Plant receive the funding required to move forward safely, efficiently and in a timely manner.
Rep. Newhouse: I thank the gentleman and I look forward to working with him as well as the ranking member from Ohio in the future. I yield back the balance of my time.