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Eye On Olympia

House approves Columbia River Initiative bill…

The House of Representatives late Monday night approved House Bill 2860, which sets the stage for a $200 million program to conserve and store massive amounts of Columbia and Snake river basin water. (Above, prime sponsor Rep. Bill Grant, D-Walla Walla, and other lawmakers watch the vote tallied.)

“I think it’s time to stop talking. It’s time to get going,” said Gov. Christine Gregoire. Lack of water in Eastern Washington is a real crisis and calls for a breakthrough, she said.

The bill passed overwhelmingly, 94 to 4. But many Republicans said that until the state approves the money, the vote was a big leap of faith for them.

“This is all promises. There’s nothing guaranteed in here,” said Rep. John Serben, R-Spokane.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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