1982 Scorecard Vote
The vote is on the Bonior (D-MI) - Evans (R-DE) amendment to the Continuing Appropriations bill (H.J. Res. 631) to block funds for the construction of this project on the Niobrara River in Nebraska. The O'Neill project would destroy the Nature Conservancy's largest preserve at the biological crossroads of North America, a place where many northern, southern, eastern, and western species meet and reach the extreme limit of their range. This project threatens the habitat of whooping cranes and bald eagles, both endangered species.
This $364 million project would cost taxpayers $2,800 an acre to irrigate 77,000 acres, while destroying another 30,000 acres of farmland outside the irrigation district. The objective of the project is to grow more corn in a state where farmers in 1982 plowed under 400,000 acres of corn because there was a surplus and prices were too low. The beneficiaries of the project will pay back only 25% of the total cost, and only after 100 years. Amendment adopted 245-144; December 14, 1982. YES is the pro-environmental vote. The O'Neill project was funded by the Senate, and was included by the House-Senate Conference Committee in the bill sent to the President. Environmentalists will try again to kill this project in 1983.