Advertisement

Congress Panel OKs Funds for Hansen Dam and L.A. River : Environment: A total of $3.6 million is earmarked for revitalization and recreation. An additional $10 million is expected for Rockwell lab cleanup.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Key members of the House and Senate agreed Tuesday to spend $1.6 million for the long-awaited Hansen Dam restoration and $2 million for recreational projects at the Los Angeles River and Sepulveda Basin.

The Energy and Water Appropriations Act for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 also is expected to include more than $10 million to remove contamination at Rockwell’s Santa Susana Field Laboratory west of Chatsworth.

Funds for the San Fernando Valley projects are in legislation agreed upon in a House-Senate conference committee that reconciled spending levels adopted previously by each chamber.

The measure goes back to each house for final passage before going to President Bush for approval.

Advertisement

The bill earmarks $1.65 million to complete a master plan to revitalize the Hansen Dam Recreation Area in the northeast Valley as well as to begin construction of a $10-million, 15-acre swimming lake.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the site, is expected to begin the process later this year.

The figure includes $1.25 million from a 5-year-old trust fund generated by fees paid by a contractor who is selling silt from flood-control channels at Hansen Dam.

The contractor pays 15 to 25 cents into the fund for each ton removed.

Advertisement

Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Panorama City), who sponsored legislation creating the trust fund, secured $400,000 in additional funds, after seeking a total of $600,000.

“Our anticipation is that the city of Los Angeles will match those funds so, hopefully, this will enable us to begin construction of the swimming lake,” said Gene Smith, Berman’s administrative assistant. “And, of course, we’ll be after more next year.”

The master plan--which is awaiting final approval by the corps--also calls for construction of a 70-acre boating lake, ball fields and other facilities at the recreational site straddling Pacoima and Lake View Terrace.

The $1-million Los Angeles River study will assess potential recreation, transportation and water conservation uses.

Advertisement

Mayor Tom Bradley hopes to transform the river--which is used for flood control--into a greenbelt with bike paths and riding trails.

Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson (D-Los Angeles) obtained the funds after failing in attempts to do so last year.

“I look forward to the time when at least several miles of our river are returned to their original and natural state,” Beilenson said.

Beilenson was less successful in the Sepulveda Basin.

Advertisement

He had sought $2.5 million for restoration of Bull Creek and to develop additional acreage of informal park area.

The House included $2 million in its bill; the Senate zero.

The city of Los Angeles will match the $1 million contribution for the Sepulveda Basin under the terms of the continuing project to expand recreational facilities.

Aides said Beilenson will seek the additional $1.5 million next year.

Advertisement

John Frith, spokesman for Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley), said he anticipated that the committee’s action would result in the commitment of about $10.7 million--the figure in the House spending bill--for the Rockwell cleanup.

The Energy Department plans to use the funds to continue eliminating Rockwell’s chemical and radioactive contamination, found mostly at low levels in soil and buildings, and to upgrade pollution controls and equipment.

The appropriations bill does not specify separate amounts for individual DOE cleanups nationwide.

Instead, the department is given an overall anti-pollution allocation. It then decides where to use the allotment.

Advertisement


Advertisement