Republicans Request Hearing on Bureau of Reclamation’s Stimulus Funding, Call for Transparency and Fiscal Accountability


WASHINGTON, D.C., March 20, 2009 -

H.R.1 / Bureau of Reclamation Funding – “For an additional amount for `Water and Related Resources', $1,000,000,000.” (P.L. 111-5, Title IV)

Today, Republican members of the House Natural Resources Water and Power Subcommittee sent the attached letter to Chairwoman Grace Napolitano requesting a hearing on how the Bureau of Reclamation will prioritize and spend the $1 billion appropriated in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

This hearing request follows on a letter sent last week by Natural Resources Ranking Member Doc Hastings and eight House Republicans to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar asking for a detailed plan and monthly updates on how the Department would use this stimulus money.   The Department has not yet responded to the letter.

“Congress has a responsibility to hold the Administration accountable for this stimulus funding and ensure that it actually goes towards infrastructure projects that will grow our economy and create jobs.  There are numerous ‘shovel-ready’ projects that Reclamation could complete with this funding, including improving our current irrigation infrastructure and promoting clean, renewable hydropower. Most importantly, this hearing would be the first step in making this a transparent process so the public can see exactly how their dollars are being spent.” Subcommittee Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05)

“This funding should be spent on improving our water infrastructure, not on frivolous things like new hybrid cars for the Department of the Interior.” – Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-06)

“The Bureau of Reclamation’s irrigation projects have directly benefitted our western agricultural economy.   We want this success to continue, but we can’t afford to wait forever for Washington, D.C. bureaucrats to make up their minds on how they plan to improve our infrastructure.  Our questions have been met with silence and this hearing will help get some answers.” – Rep. Adrian Smith, (NE-03)

“My home State of California is facing an economic disaster partly because of a man-made drought caused by the Endangered Species Act and a long-term lack of adequate water storage.  The status quo is unacceptable.  This hearing will be an opportunity to press the Administration on what it plans to do to save and create jobs.” – Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04)

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Contact: Emily Lawrimore or Jill Strait (202) 226-2311

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