HOUSE JOINT MEMORIAL 4005
State of Washington 55th Legislature 1997 Regular Session
By Representatives Mulliken, Chandler, Hankins, Sheahan, Skinner, Lisk, Delvin, Clements, Honeyford, Schoesler, Mastin, Grant, Mielke and McMorris
Read first time 01/24/97. Referred to Committee on Agriculture & Ecology.
TO THE HONORABLE WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, AND TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE AND THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES, IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED, AND TO THE DIRECTOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY:
We, your Memorialists, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Washington, in legislative session assembled, respectfully represent and petition as follows:
WHEREAS, The area south of the Saddle Mountains in Grant, Franklin, and Adams counties, Washington, known as the Wahluke Slope, is one of the most productive agricultural areas in the Pacific Northwest; and
WHEREAS, The need for a large security and control zone around the Department of Energy's Hanford control zone on Wahluke Slope caused the forced relocation of citizens of Hanford, White Bluff, Wahluke, and the surrounding agricultural lands that had been settled prior to 1900; and
WHEREAS, Due to the decommissioning of all the production reactors along the Hanford Reach opposite the Wahluke Slope, and with the overall change of the Department of Energy's Hanford mission from plutonium production to environmental restoration, the need for a large security and control zone no longer exists; and
WHEREAS, The Wahluke Slope's topography and its proximity to the Columbia River make the area unique in terms of the economic feasibility of irrigation development; and
WHEREAS, Prior to its inclusion in the Hanford control zone, the Bureau of Reclamation purchased over twenty-seven thousand acres of the Wahluke Slope with the intent of future development in the Columbia Basin Project; and
WHEREAS, The balanced development of this land would achieve the long-awaited completion of irrigation on the Wahluke Slope and improved wildlife and recreational opportunities; and
WHEREAS, Based on current land prices, the sale of land to private owners could potentially cover a great deal of the cost of constructing water delivery systems, due to the suitability of topography and nearby water supply; and
WHEREAS, Resulting property tax and income tax revenues from this new farm land would be an immediate and significant benefit; and
WHEREAS, Farmland development would result in millions of dollars in capital investment for farm equipment of all kinds, the great majority of it manufactured in the United States by American workers; and
WHEREAS, The vast majority of crops presently raised on the Wahluke Slope have potential for export to the Pacific Rim and other nations; and
WHEREAS, Other than small grains, the crops grown on the Wahluke Slope are completely driven by the free-market economy and are not subsidized or supported by the federal government; and
WHEREAS, Broad support exists for the preservation of the natural beauty and topography of the Hanford Reach, including protecting the White Bluffs from sloughing into the Columbia River, prohibiting dredging and damming, and providing for a one-quarter mile buffer zone on both sides of the river including even wider zones depending on the terrain; and
WHEREAS, The Wahluke Slope contains significant areas of land not suitable for farming, but that are ideally suited for wildlife habitat and recreational uses; and
WHEREAS, The United States can no longer afford to hold idle public lands of this potential;
NOW, THEREFORE, Your Memorialists respectfully pray that, except for needed buffer zones, the present boundaries of the Department of Energy's Hanford control zone on the Wahluke Slope be reduced to the area south of the Columbia River and that the Wahluke Slope presently under the custody and control of the Department of Energy be transferred in total to the counties of Grant, Franklin, and Adams for the purpose of returning the land to its former agricultural use, as well as for wildlife and recreational areas along the Hanford Reach.
BE IT RESOLVED, That copies of this Memorial be immediately transmitted to the Honorable William J. Clinton, President of the United States, the Director of the Department of Energy, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and each member of Congress from the State of Washington.
--- END ---