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Bill to allow Richland development passes committee

Legislation that would remove federal government restrictions on Richland land owned by the Port of Benton has been approved by the House Armed Services Committee.

The legislation, introduced by Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., was included in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

“Inclusion … is a positive step forward for commonsense legislation to release the remaining restrictions that have inhibited the Port of Benton’s ability to develop this parcel of land for the economic benefit of the Tri-Cities region,” Newhouse said in a statement.

The 71.5 acre parcel is former Hanford land owned by the port since 1995, but with Maritime Administration deed restrictions, even though the land is not on the Columbia River. It is between George Washington Way and Stevens Drive and south of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory campus.

The restrictions have limited business interest in the land and prevented construction of new buildings there.

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