1985 Scorecard Vote
While some dams and canals are justified, others are pure "pork barrel" projects whose costs are much higher than their benefits. Often these projects destroy free flowing rivers, wetlands, important wildlife habitat, virgin bottom-land forests and fertile flood plains. If those who benefit from these projects had to pay a major portion of the costs, the political pressure to build many unneeded, expensive and destructive projects would disappear. But if a local community can get a dam built almost entirely at federal expense, the temptation to overlook alternative ways to meet water supply or flood control needs can be great.
Although Congress made a serious effort to develop cost-sharing requirements in 1985, an attempt was made in June to fund 31 projects which had never been examined by Congress for their environmental impacts, and for which no cost-sharing provisions had been made. This vote was on the Edgar (D-PA) Amendment to delete $100 million for these 31 projects. Edgar Amendment accepted 203-202; June 6, 1985. YES is the pro-environmental vote. (Edgar Amendment to H.R. 2577, the FY '85 Supplemental Appropriations bill.)
In 1985, Congress appropriated money for some of these projects, but withheld spending it until cost-sharing legislation was passed or federal/local cost-sharing agreements were signed. On November 17, 1986, President Reagan signed into law the first massive water projects authorization bill in 16 years, with cost-sharing provisions included.