1983 Scorecard Vote
Environmentalists have been fighting Garrison for years, as one of the most wasteful and destructive water projects in the country. At the time of the vote, the project would have cost over $1 billion, and would have flooded nearly as much productive farmland as it would irrigate, providing an $800,000 subsidy to each farm that benefited. It would have caused more damage to the National Wildlife Refuge system than any other project in history, destroying or damaging 12 wildlife refuges. Many of these are major breeding grounds for waterfowl and an important part of the Mississippi flyway for migratory birds. The project would also have destroyed a lot of native prairie and prairie wetlands, and polluted rivers flowing into two other states and into Canada. The Canadian government claimed that the project violated the U.S. - Canadian Boundary Waters Treaty.
The vote was on the Hatfield motion to kill the Humphrey amendment. The Humphrey amendment would have eliminated the $22.3 million in construction money for Garrison in fiscal 1984.
Hatfield motion agreed to, 62-35; June 22, 1983. NO is the pro-environmental vote. (Hatfield motion to table Humphrey amendment to the fiscal 1984 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, H.R. 3132.) The Reagan Administration supported the Hatfield motion. Although this money was appropriated, Congress later set up a special commission to study less costly and extensive versions of the project. The Administration has now accepted the commission's compromise plan, which dramatically reduced the scale and the environmental damage done by the project.