April 27, 2009
In response to a unanimous request
by Republicans on the Water and Power Subcommittee, the Subcommittee will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow to examine how the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey will spend more than $1 billion in stimulus funds.
“The supposed purpose of the stimulus bill was to create jobs and immediately revive our economy. So one has to wonder why the Bureau of Reclamation is spending $1 billion on projects, yet cannot definitely state how many jobs will be created. There’s also no reform on reducing overhead costs or permit streamlining,” said House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Doc Hastings. “I hope tomorrow’s hearing will provide answers so we can ensure the American taxpayers and water and power ratepayers that their money is being used efficiently and appropriately.”
The Bureau of Reclamation recently released a project list on how it would allocate its stimulus funds. While many of the projects are worthwhile, several questions remain regarding this funding, including:
- Why has the agency failed to provide an estimate on how many jobs will be created?
- Were projects to promote ecosystem restoration and a green building given preference over projects to fix our nation’s aging infrastructure, even though we currently have $3 billion in aging water and hydropower infrastructure backlogs?
- Why didn’t the Bureau of Reclamation provide stimulus funds to directly help farming communities in California’s San Joaquin Valley where parts of the region are experiencing 40% unemployment due to water losses associated with flows for the Delta Smelt, a three-inch fish?
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