November 08, 2007

Veto Override Authorizes More Than $95 Million for Oregon Water Projects

Washington DC - U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) joined more than two-thirds of the U.S. Senate today in voting to override President Bush's veto of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (H.R. 1495), which includes authorization for more than $96 million in federal funding for water projects across the state of Oregon.

With both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives voting to override the President's veto, H.R. 1495 becomes law. This is the first successful veto override of President Bush's seven years in office.

"For Oregonians, today's override represents not only a kick-start for critical environmental restoration efforts, but a growing recognition in Congress that the nation is poorly served by the continued neglect of America's needs right here at home," said Wyden.

"Today's vote underscores the importance of these projects," Smith said. "Restoring healthy watersheds and meeting infrastructure needs are vital to the long-term health of Oregon's environment and economy."

The Water Resources Development Act authorizes:

  • $35 million the Research and Development Program for Columbia and Snake River Salmon Survival, which aims to promote healthy wild salmon populations in both rivers.
  • $35 million for a wastewater infrastructure project in Albany that will improve habitat restoration in the area.
  • $15 million for restoration of the Upper Willamette River watershed from Albany to the headwaters of the Willamette. The project includes restoration of the millrace in Eugene.
  • $5 million for ecosystem and fish passage improvements in the state of Oregon focused on ensuring safe passage of native fish over dams and other obstructions.
  • $1 million for an erosion control project at Westport Beach along the Columbia River in Clatsop County.

    The act also:
  • Authorizes the Confederated Umatilla Tribes to continue studying the Walla-Walla river basin for a planned reintroduction of salmon into the river.
  • Authorizes a transfer of land to the Lowell school district for the school district's use.
  • Authorizes land within Lowell to be considered for an affordable housing project by St. Vincent de Paul.
  • Authorizes studies of Johnson Creek in Gresham, Oregon to examine aquatic ecosystem restoration.