U.S. Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler voted with a bipartisan majority of her colleagues late Thursday night to advance a responsible spending bill that secures funding for waterway maintenance on the Pacific Coast and Columbia River, as well as Hanford cleanup.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve the FY 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, legislation that funds U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Hanford cleanup efforts under the Department of Energy.
“Our region is uniquely positioned on the Pacific Ocean and the Columbian River, and we need to maintain our waterways so that they remain an incredible asset to our economy. The funding in this bill for maintaining ports like Chinook and Ilwaco is essential to growing jobs in our economy,” she said.
Southwest Washington priorities included in this bill:
– Funding for dredging and harbor maintenance:
- $1.1 billion in harbor maintenance from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) (Background: The HMTF was created with the purpose of waterway and port maintenance and is funded by a tax importers pay when using U.S. ports. Historically the fund takes in millions of dollars more each year than is expended);
- $42 million of the HMTF designated specifically for small ports like Ilwaco, Chinook and many other along the Columbian River;
- Over $25 million for the mouth of the Columbia River, including critical jetty rehabilitation.
Press Release, July 17, 2014