Much work done in Washington, D.C.

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From Tuesday, Feb. 15 through Thursday, Feb. 17, Placer County Supervisor Robert Weygandt, County Executive Office Tom Miller and I met in Washington D.C. with several high-level federal agency staff members and staff members of our congressional delegation regarding Placer County’s Federal Fiscal Year 2012 priorities. Those priorities include transportation projects, including Highway 28 improvements in Kings Beach and the future Placer Parkway, the Placer County Conservation Plan, wastewater infrastructure, the law enforcement technology project, the Placer County Biomass Utilization Project in the Tahoe Basin and a sustainable funding source for the Auburn State Recreation Area. We held five separate meetings with high-level staff members of both Senators (Dianne) Feinstein and (Barbara) Boxer. We held two separate meetings with staff members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Senate Water and Appropriations Subcommittee. We held two meetings with the U.S. Army Core of Engineers, one with the Deputy Chief Southwest Division and one with the Chief of Operations and Regulatory Communities of Practice. We also met with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Assistant Director for Habitat Conservation, the U.S. Department of Justice Senior Intergovernmental and Public Relations Specialist, two high-level U.S. Department of Energy officials in the Biomass Coordination Office, and no less than seven staff members of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation including the Chief of Staff of the Deputy Commissioner and two members who had a direct connection to the Auburn Dam and the North Fork Dam. On the afternoon of Wednesday, Feb. 16 we met with Rep. Tom McClintock to thank him for his strong support for identifying funding for the Auburn State Recreation Area in the Bureau of Reclamation budget. We also asked about his thoughts on the Transportation Reauthorization Bill. Understanding that Rep. McClintock and his staff were very busy working on amendments to the federal budget Continuing Resolution we did not speak to him about Placer County’s Federal Priorities but left him a binder that explained them. We understand that there is very limited funding available for our projects that have direct connection to requirements of federal legislation, including the Clean Water Act signed by President (Ronald) Reagan but we were also very encouraged by federal officials about our projects, particularly our Placer County Conservation Plan and our Biomass Utilization Project both of which have the ability to be come templates for other counties throughout the nation. Jim Holmes, Placer County Supervisor, District 3