Central Washington water, dam provisions included in House Appropriations legislation

House Appropriations Bill Provides Federal Funding for Previously-Authorized Phases of Yakima Basin Project, Requires Preservation of Federal Dams

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) released the following statement after the House Appropriations Committee’s full committee markup on the fiscal year 2018 Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

The legislation passed by the committee included funding for previously authorized phases of the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project, Small Modular Reactor development and deployment, and hydropower and nuclear energy, as well as language prohibiting the removal of federal dams and protecting Americans’ 2nd Amendment rights on Army Corps of Engineers land.

“This legislation appropriates funds to support Central Washington water storage projects and agencies responsible for managing water infrastructure across the country,” said Rep. Newhouse. “I am pleased that the bill includes language I worked on with my Pacific Northwest colleagues to protect federal dams – including the four lower Snake River dams. Additionally, the bill advances U.S. energy independence by supporting the development of important energy sources and technologies, from nuclear and Small Modular Reactors, to hydropower, grid security, and electricity storage.”

Central Washington priorities in the FY2018 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill include funding for continued implementation of the Columbia River Treaty, operations and management resources for the Chief Joseph, Ice Harbor, and Lower Monumental Dams, and funding for important water management projects in the Columbia Basin and the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project. Additionally, mitigation efforts for fish impacts in the Columbia River continue to receive funding. Key report language in the legislation is listed below:

Dam removal prohibition:

“The bill includes a provision prohibiting the use of funds for the removal of any federally owned or operated dam unless the removal was previously authorized by Congress.”

Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project:

“The Committee is aware of the Integrated Plan that has been developed by the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project Working Group, including the Bureau of Reclamation, to address water storage and water supply needs for agriculture, fish, and municipalities within the Yakima River Basin in Central Washington. The Committee is supportive of the Plan and encourages the Bureau to move forward on implementing authorized components of the Plan.”

Bonneville Power Administration Cost Competitiveness

“The Committee encourages the Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation to work with the BPA on efforts to drive down costs and promote BPA’s long-term competitiveness. Assuring BPA competitiveness is important not only for BPA’s operation, but to ensure Treasury repayment and assist the Corps and Reclamation in meeting their core functions (including navigation, flood control, water supply, and irrigation).”