A report documenting how the U.S. government came to own 34 miles of Columbia River shoreline behind the McNary Dam in the ’40s and ’50s is being reviewed by the Army.
The report, which was included in notes attached to the National Defense Authorization Act signed into law late last year, is part of a larger process that could theoretically lead to Congress returning the land in Benton and Franklin counties to the cities of Pasco, Kennewick and Richland.
Supporters argue that the cities are better equipped to manage the shoreline for economic and recreational use, while critics fear over-commercialization of the waterfront.
The report was due March 1. The Army Corps of Engineers, which holds the shoreline, finished its work in February and forwarded it up the chain of command.
A Pentagon spokesman said it was received by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works on March 8 and is under review.
While no release date was given, advocates are encouraging the cities to make plans for the land, saying a transfer could happen this year.
Former Rep. Doc Hastings of Pasco, along with former Kennewick Mayor Brad Fisher and Gary Petersen, former vice president for federal affairs for the Tri-City Development Council, are pushing the plan, which has widespread local support.