1983 Scorecard Vote
The vote is on whether to spend about $200 million on dam construction or on wastewater treatment plans to clean up pollution. The money is clearly needed more for pollution control. There are over 100,000 plants and factories discharging their wastes into our rivers, not to mention pollution from municipal sewage and runoff from city streets and farm lands. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that we need to spend $109 billion over the next 15 years to make our rivers "fishable and swimmable" as required under the Clean Water Act. To achieve this goal, environmentalists want to double current spending levels, which the Reagan Administration has cut in half and wants to phase our entirely.
By contrast, money spent on dams and canals often does more harm than good (see vote #10 for example). Billions are spent on projects in the states of powerful Senators, even when their benefits are outweighed by their costs. Many of these projects destroy free flowing rivers, wetlands, and other prime wildlife habitat. Some even increase water pollution.
The vote is on the Moynihan amendment, which would have transferred about $200 million of the $530 million in appropriations for water projects and spent the money on sewage treatment construction grants instead. Amendment rejected 45-51; March 15, 1983. YES is the pro-environmental vote. (Moynihan amendment to the fiscal 1983 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill, H.R. 1718.) The Reagan Administration opposed the amendment. In the end, this "emergency" bill provided $605 million for water projects, and nothing for sewage treatment construction.