May 15, 2000
Pipeline safety update
As you know, last month I hosted a forum to address the safety concerns that many residents have regarding the pipeline that runs though our communities. The intent of the forum was to give residents who live near the pipeline the opportunity to express their concerns to the federal Office of Pipeline Safety and the Olympic Pipe Line Company.
Featured guests included Chris Hoidal, the Western Region Director for the federal Office of Pipeline Safety; and Craig Hammett, the Engineering Supervisor for Olympic Pipe Line Company. I am continuing my efforts to require Olympic Pipe Line Company's 16-inch line to be hydrostatically tested and internally inspected before it is allowed to restart.
You can read comments that attendees submitted during the forum at www.house.gov/inslee/pipelineforum.htm.
Improving our educational system
Our children need to learn respect for rules, in a safe, orderly environment. Small classes help teachers provide a disciplined learning environment and improve student performance. I commissioned a study on the size of our local classrooms in grades K-3; unfortunately, few are meeting the national goal of eighteen students or less per classroom.
One obstacle to reducing class size in our area is a severe teacher shortage. Within the next few years, many of our local teachers plan to retire, but there are not enough new teachers to take their place. I support legislation to place 100,000 new teachers in America's classrooms.
Ensuring that you get your IRS refund
At my request, the IRS released a list of taxpayers in our district who are owed federal tax refunds for the past three years, but who the IRS could not find to deliver the refunds. My staff was able to locate several individuals who the IRS overlooked--yet there are still many on the list that have a check waiting for them.
You can view the list online at www.house.gov/inslee/unclaimed.htm. The IRS does not currently furnish this information on their website!
Saving our salmon
In our own community, we are experiencing the real threat of losing our salmon to extinction. To address this issue in our area, I introduced the Puget Sound Initiative (HR-3882). This bill authorizes $125 million for the Army Corps of Engineers to aid local communities and counties in salmon habitat restoration efforts. The loss of high-quality habitat is one of the principle reasons for the decline of Puget Sound salmon.