Washington, Jul 27 – Today, Congress approved $44 million for interim measures to strengthen the Howard Hanson Dam and protect the Green River Valley. Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), who has consistently been a leader in coordinating efforts to fix the dam, played a critical role in ensuring that the funding was included in the final version of the bill. The funding, included in the Fiscal Year 2010 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill, will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to complete a set of interim repairs to the dam. The bill will now be sent to the President to be signed into law.
“This money is critical to our efforts to prevent flooding in the Green River Valley. It will put in place interim measures to buy us time until a permanent, long-term solution is put in place,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “My priority is to achieve a permanent fix to the Howard Hanson Dam and restore long term flood protection, but until this can be achieved we must make every possible effort to protect the residents, homes, businesses, and the economy of the Green River Valley. This money is vital to that effort.”
Engineers from the Army Corps continue to closely monitor the dam and have identified interim repairs that will allow the dam to store higher levels of water and protect the Green River Valley during severe rain events. The Fiscal Year 2010 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill contains $44 million in emergency funding for these critical repairs to the Howard Hanson Dam. Smith worked diligently to ensure these resources were contained in the final version of the appropriations bill.
Tens of thousands of people are at risk if the Green River Valley were to flood. In addition to the threat to peoples’ lives, the Green River Valley would suffer enormous negative economic impacts as it is home to the second largest industrial park on the West Coast, and is the fifth largest in the nation. Over 95,000 jobs in the area make up approximately 8 percent of all jobs in King County. This represents $107 million per day in total economic output – 12 percent of Washington State’s gross state product.