1981 Scorecard Vote
Metzenbaum (D-OH) and Heinz (R-PA) amendment to the fiscal year 1982 Budget targets to reduce funding for water projects by $300 million. In a year when an unprecedented $30 billion was cut from social programs, the Reagan Administration left the budget for water projects virtually intact, recommending only a $40 million or 2% cut in the $2.16 billion program. This amendment would have reduced the water project budget by an additional $300 million, a modest 7% reduction compared to most other budget cuts.
Many of these water projects destroy free flowing rivers, wetlands, rich farmland, and important wildlife habitat for very questionable benefits. They often cannot be justified economically except through the use of outmoded and unrealistic interest rates used for calculating their cost/benefit ratios. Often they benefit a select few at the expense of the general public. A 1981 U.S. General Accounting Office report found one project which was 94% federally financed, yet had only three users, one of them an oil company which would receive 86% of the benefits. The real cost of irrigation water is usually far more than farmers are asked to pay, and artificially low prices invite a waste we can ill afford when water tables are dropping dangerously. Rejected 39-52; May 11, 1981. YES is the pro-environment vote.