Newhouse Fights for Central Washington Priorities in Energy and Water Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) delivered opening remarks during the markup for the FY 2023 Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, highlighting the importance of cleanup for the Hanford Site, support for PNNL’s groundbreaking research, emphasizing how critical the operations of the Four Lower Snake River Dams are for Central Washington, and urging more support for a domestic supply chain of High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU), the primary fuel for Advanced Nuclear Reactors.

“Many components of this bill are integral to our way of life in Central Washington—and I truly appreciate the attention that my priorities have been given on behalf of my district,” said Rep. Newhouse. “I am grateful this bill includes robust support for so many innovative energy technologies, from nuclear to hydropower, which are especially important this year given the current energy crisis that we face, as well as ensuring the federal government maintains its commitment to the Hanford cleanup effort. I will continue to advocate to ensure these priorities are protected in this legislation.”

Watch Rep. Newhouse’s Opening Remarks

Rep. Newhouse’s remarks as prepared can be read below.

Madam Chair,

It is an honor to serve on the Energy & Water Subcommittee again this year. Many components of this bill are integral to our way of life in Central Washington – and I truly appreciate the attention that my priorities have been given on behalf of my district. Progress is being made at the Hanford Site each day and the robust support in this bill will continue the progress at the WESF facility, the pivotal work that began this year with the Tank Side Cesium Removal processing, and the upcoming commissioning of the long-awaited Vit Plant – all of which are crucial for us to make great strides in addressing our nation’s environmental cleanup responsibilities. While I am encouraged by the funding levels provided in this bill, it is worth looking ahead beyond FY 2023 about the greater needs at the Hanford site and the balance between all of the DOE cleanup sites.

New this year, the bill includes language on greater coordination between the Office of Environmental Management and the DOE Isotope Program on issues related to Strontium-90, material that is currently in storage at the Hanford site. I am encouraged by the innovative solutions that have been brought forward on this matter and am encouraged by scientific developments to turn these waste products, like Strontium-90 – which are liabilities – into opportunities for usable fuel for other proven applications.

I am also grateful for the continued support and funding for activities at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where groundbreaking research continues every day by world-class scientists. The work at PNNL has widespread reach and impact across the United States and the world – and I was delighted to bring several of my Western Caucus colleagues to the Lab recently to showcase this critical work – and I am proud this bill provides strong funding to continue to meet their needs.

The bill also supports the important work of both the Bureau of Reclamation and Army Corps of Engineers – including water storage, conservation, and hydropower priorities throughout Central Washington and the entire Pacific Northwest. Specifically, I am pleased to see robust support for the Army Corps, who handles the critical operations of the four Lower Snake River Dams and serves as a model for efficient hydropower generation with some of the highest fish passage rates in the nation. Our region depends on these projects – and the Army Corps – for the stabilization of our energy supply, the success of our agricultural and transportation sectors, and the economic vitality of our region.

I am also grateful this bill includes robust support for the DOE’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program to continue progress towards deployment of two demonstrations, including the one in my district. Energy security is national security – and our nation’s nuclear capabilities and development will continue to help us achieve critical innovation for a clean energy future. This is especially important this year given the current energy crisis that we face.

This bill also includes critical funding for High-Assay, Low-Enriched Uranium, or HALEU, which is a crucial component needed for the success of advanced reactor projects domestically. While I appreciate the funding levels provided in the bill, I am concerned that the numbers fall a bit short of what is needed to address this issue. At present, the only global supplier of HALEU is Russia – whose war on Ukraine has highlighted that it is more important than ever to ensure that the United States, and the Department of Energy, engage with the private sector to quickly develop a domestic commercial supply chain of HALEU in order to meet our nation’s demands.

I would like to thank Chairwoman Kaptur as well as Ranking Member Simpson, along with majority and minority staff, for your tireless work on behalf of the Members of this Committee and our constituents. I would like to personally congratulate Jaime Shimek on her years of dedication to this Committee and wish her the best of luck in her new endeavor back home in Central Washington – we are lucky to have you, Jaime. With that, Madam Chairwoman, I yield back.


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