Serving Central Washington as Committee Chairman
Feb 1 -
In addition to serving as Central Washington’s representative in Congress, I have the honor of Chairing the House Committee on Natural Resources.
This Committee oversees numerous matters that directly impact Washington state and the Pacific Northwest, including the Columbia Basin and Yakima irrigation projects, federal hydropower dams on the Snake and Columbia Rivers, our region's low-cost energy from the Bonneville Power Administration, federal forests and national parks, firefighting on federal lands, fisheries management, and more.
As Chairman of this Committee, my focus is on job creation and growing the economy through the responsible use and protection of our natural resources, and reducing costly and burdensome government red tape.
A top priority is encouraging an all-of-the-above approach to American energy production that includes nuclear, hydropower, geothermal, biomass, solar and wind, along with clean coal and American oil and natural gas.
It’s vital to families, small businesses and farmers that we continue harnessing our own American energy resources in order to lower prices, promote economic growth, and reduce our dependence on hostile foreign countries.
Those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest already know one of the most efficient ways to generate American energy is through the production of hydropower. This clean, renewable energy accounts for 70 percent of electricity generated in our state and is a reliable source of energy for millions of American consumers across the country.
Last year, I introduced legislation to protect our dams and promote development of new low-cost hydropower, and I plan to build upon these efforts this Congress.
Water is the lifeblood of our agricultural-based economy in Washington. While federal budgets are tight, I will continue to work with local stakeholders to move forward workable solutions that ensure that our growers in both the Yakima River Basin and the Odessa region have access to the water they need.
This Congress, reviewing the Endangered Species Act will continue to be a key priority. This law is opening Central Washington farmers, energy producers, and other job creators to endless lawsuits that delay and threaten economic activities ranging from responsible timber management to the use of vital crop protection tools in our state. We must update this law so that it is driven by science instead of the courts, and works for both species and people.
I’ll also continue to work to advance several local initiatives and bills for Central Washington. This includes legislation that allows public access to the summit of Rattlesnake Mountain in Benton County, a bill that allows for the rebuilding of the Upper Stehekin road to restore greater access for residents and tourists, legislation that ensures the long practice of fish stocking continues in the Upper Cascade Mountains, a bill to establish a Manhattan Project National Historical Park featuring the historic B Reactor at the Hanford site, and more.
As Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, I have the opportunity to work on behalf and seek to make a real difference for families and small businesses in Central Washington. Representing you in Congress is a great honor and I will continue working to ensure the issues important to our communities are made a priority.