1988 Scorecard Vote
The vote is on the Gejdenson (D-CT) -- Petri (R-WI) -- Sharp (D-IN) amendment to cut $10 million from the fiscal 1989 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill. The money was earmarked in the bill for the Department of Interior's Bureau of Reclamation to begin construction on the $102 million Davis Creek Dam and Elba Irrigation Canal portion of the North Loup Project in central Nebraska.
Opposed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and sporting a benefit/cost ration of only 0.6, the irrigation project is designed to increase yields of corn on approximately 20,000 acres owned by 116 farmers who, on average, would realize a $1 million direct water subsidy per farm. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the total 1988 cost to the federal government of excess corn production through price supports and other payments will reach $12.2 billion. According to OMB, the 1985 Farm Bill has required or paid Nebraska farmers to take more than 2 million acres of corn out of production. Yet the House Appropriations committee seeks funding to begin projects like Davis Creek Dam, which work at cross purposes with other government agriculture programs.
The Davis Creek Dam project is located in the congressional district of Nebraska Congresswoman Virginia Smith (R-NE), a member of the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. The double subsidy issue (heavy water project subsidies for price-supported crops) is a rampant problem in the reclamation irrigation program. This is the first time the full House of Representatives has cast a vote that directly confronts this issue. YES is the pro-environmental vote. The amendment to halt the dams construction failed by a vote of 161-243 on May 17, 1988.