1983 Scorecard Vote
The vote is on the Edgar (D-PA) Amendment to the Energy and Water Supplemental Appropriation bill (HR 3958), to remove $51.5 million for 20 unauthorized water projects. While some dams and canals are clearly in the national interest, many others have unfortunately become a "prime rib" in government pork barrel projects. Many water projects are constructed in the districts of the most powerful House members, even when their benefits are clearly outweighed by their costs. Frequently these projects destroy free flowing rivers, wetlands, important wildlife habitat, bottomland timber and fertile flood plains.
Environmentalists believe that those who benefit from federal water projects should pay a substantial part of their costs. Such a reform would do a lot to stop the many politically motivated and environmentally destructive projects that Congress funds each year.
As if the House's traditionally shoddy analysis of water projects were not bad enough, in 1983 it voted to fund twenty navigation and flood control projects which Congress had never had a chance to review, and which had never been requested by the government agencies responsible for building them. Putting on a pig mask to call attention to the pork barrel nature of the bill, Rep. Silvio Conte (R-MA), ranking minority member of the Appropriations Committee, said: "These Congressmen have their schnozzle right in the trough...slurping up the money." These twenty projects were not subject to normal requirements to minimize environmental damages. More importantly, they did not provide for any cost-sharing by local beneficiaries, which the Army Corps of Engineers has now very wisely begun to require for all the water projects it builds.
Edgar Amendment rejected 133-271; October 5, 1983. YES is the pro-environmental vote.