1984 Scorecard Vote
The federal government constructed several huge dams in the West in the 1930s and has been selling the water and electrical power generated by these dams at depression era prices ever since. Now the 50 year contracts for this incredibly cheap water and power are starting to expire. The prices charged in the future will have a tremendous impact on energy and wind conservation practices in the West. Artificially low electrical rates for federal power will discourage energy conservation and create pressure for more fossil fuel and nuclear power plants and power generating dams. The combination of cheap prices for water and for electricity also makes irrigation unrealistically cheap and encourages the waste of precious western water resources by agribusiness.
The Senate debated a bill to extend the current low price of power from the Hoover Dam for another 30 years. Senator Metzenbaum offered an amendment to extend these pricing policies for only 18 months, to allow time for hearings and a study as to what the price of this federal power should be and which customers should have access to it.
The vote is on the Cranston motion to kill the Metzenbaum amendment. Motion agreed to 56-38; July 26, 1984. NO is the pro-environmental vote. (Cranston motion to table Metzenbaum amendment to Hoover Dam Power Allocation Authorization, S. 268.) The Reagan Administration supported the Cranston motion, and Congress passed a 30 year extension for power rates at the Hoover Dam. Decisions on other federal dams must be made by Congress in the next few years.