Federal funds for Walla Walla-area projects move ahead

A bill that is making its way through the Senate would pay for work on a dam and a Walla Walla Community College program.


WASHINGTON D.C. -- Funds to replace a critical lock on a Snake River dam as well as train local workers for the wind energy industry moved ahead in the U.S. Senate this week.

In a release, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said the money is included in the 2011 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill.

The bill passed the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday. It will now go to the full Senate Appropriations Committee, of which Murray is a senior member, before going to the full Senate for consideration.

The bill includes $4.7 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to start work to replace the downstream lock gate at Lower Monumental Dam. The lock has been undergoing annual repairs for stress fractures and installation of a new gate is scheduled to start in December.

Walla Walla Community College is slated to receive $500,000 to establish a program to train technicians for the wind energy industry. The program will address the need to fill more than 250 job openings projected in the industry over the next five to seven years, according to the release.

A third appropriation for $500,000 would go to the Corps' Walla Walla District to aid plans to restore instream flows in the Walla Walla River basin. The flows would protect threatened species such as the Chinook salmon and steelhead trout as well as provide a stable water source for agriculture.


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