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Citizens Against Government Waste’ Pork Fest

April 15, 2009

Yesterday, the Citizens Against Government Waste published their 2008 Pig Book of Congressional Porkers.  Boy, there is a lot of bacon in this book.

Here is a sampling:

$11,808,756 for 12 projects by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), including:  $3,829,008 for the Lost River Watershed Project; $3,226,257 for the GIS Center of Excellence; $1,529,220 for the Appalachian Fruit Lab; $521,325 for aquaculture product and marketing development; and $112,209 for feed efficiency research.

$146,708,000 for 63 projects by CJS Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), including:  $5,640,000 for the Marshall Space Flight Center; $470,000 for a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Maritime Museum in Mobile; $329,000 for American Village Citizenship Trust Montevallo for character programs in at-risk areas (the group’s website boasts that its mission is to “…to strengthen and renew the foundations of American liberty and self-government through citizenship education.”  In addition to these lofty goals, young lovers can rent out the chapel and the barn to get married for $2,650.); $235,000 for the Foley Police Department for communications upgrades; and $235,000 for West Alabama Marine Shrimp and Fish Aquaculture to develop new methods and find efficiency in the development of marine shrimp and fish aquaculture using ponds and the salinic water of West Alabama. 

$173,200,000 for 25 projects by Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), including:  $25,000,000 for the Hawaii Federal Health Care Network; $23,000,000 for the Maui Space Surveillance System operations & research; $10,000,000 for the National Defense Center of Excellence for Research in Ocean Sciences;  $5,000,000 for the Maui High Performance Computing Center; $3,500,000 for Army conservation and ecosystem management; $3,000,000 for the Hawaii National Guard Counter-Drug Program; and $2,000,000 for Brown Tree Snakes.

$92,033,216 for 25 projects by Senate appropriator Mary Landrieu (D-La.), including $1,850,000 for the removal of aquatic growth and $1,180,800 for materials and energy research at Tulane University in New Orleans.

$2,400,000 by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) for renovations to Haddad Riverfront Park.  On February 1, 2008 The Charleston Gazette quoted Chairman Byrd as saying, “Maintaining and improving Haddad Riverfront Park is a top priority for the city of Charleston.”  If it is so important, the 51,342 residents of Charleston could each pay $46.75 to the city instead of forcing the price tag on the hundreds of millions of Americans who probably will never visit the facility.

$51,131,119 for 95 projects airdropped into the conference report for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Predisaster Mitigation by 72 members of the House of Representatives, spread among 31 states.  That equals 76.7 percent of the number of projects and 17.3 percent of the dollar amount in the bill.  According to FEMA’s website, the purpose of the Predisaster Mitigation Program is to provide funds to states, territories, Indian tribal governments, communities, and universities for hazard mitigation planning and implementation of mitigation projects prior to a disaster.  The recipient of the grant decides based on applications what is most deserving within its jurisdiction.  In fiscal year 2008, the program had a budget request of $100 million.  Many members of Congress have criticized FEMA for its mismanagement of numerous programs over the past several years.  However, they are making the agency’s job harder by forcing staff to administer projects that may not meet the competitive program’s criteria and usurping the agency’s authority.

$32,391,682 for 10 projects by Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), including:  $9,844,000 for the San Joaquin Valley and South Coast Air Quality Management Districts for targeted emission reduction grants and $7,875,200 for Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard cleanup.  According to a January 12, 2007 article in The San Francisco Chronicle, Hunter’s Point may be an option for a new football stadium: “Feinstein has also been involved in renewed stadium talks between the 49ers and Mayor Gavin Newsom’s administration, which recently offered an alternative stadium site at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.”

$93,416,000 for 35 projects by Senate appropriator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), including:  $33,907,000 for the Alaska Native Educational Equity Education Act; $6,875,000 for the Denali Commission for job training activities under the Denali Commission Act of 1998; $243,000 for the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage for a partnership with Koahnic Broadcasting for a Native Values project; $243,000 for a marine ecosystem education program at the Alaska Sealife Center in Seward; and $243,000 for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District to expand the PLATO learning program.

$150,000 by Senate Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee member Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee member Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), and House appropriator Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.) for the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, which seeks to inspire Lincoln observances until his bicentennial birthday in 2009.  In Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, he said “all men are created equal.”  When it comes to earmarks, appropriators are not equal to other members of Congress.  Since 2001, $2.5 million in pork has been spent at the federal level for Lincoln’s birthday celebration.  In addition, eight states have created commissions honoring the former president with countless millions in state tax dollars.

$36,900,000 for four projects funding chapels, including:  $11,600,000 by Rep. Nancy Boyda (D-Kan.) for phase I of the chapel complex at Fort Leavenworth; $10,400,000 by Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) for a chapel at Fort Leonard Wood; $9,000,000 by Senate Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee member Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House appropriator Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), and Rep. Edward Whitfield (R-Ky.) for a chapel center at Fort Campbell; and $5,900,000 by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) for a unit chapel at Fort Lee.

$16,700,000 added by the Senate for the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC).  The IBWC’s mission is “to provide binational solutions to issues that arise during the application of United States-Mexico treaties regarding boundary demarcation, national ownership of waters, sanitation, water quality, and flood control in the border region.”  One particular project, a proposed sewage treatment plant in Tijuana, raises questions about the IBWC’s effectiveness.  According to an op-ed in The San Diego Union Tribune on February 14, 2007, “Formed in 1944, the IBWC in 1999 built a treatment plant in San Ysidro.  But it was late and over-budget, and its discharge still violated the Clean Water Act.  This created an opening for Bajagua, a group of North County investors with a bold proposal to build a larger, better and cheaper plant in Tijuana.  The IBWC quickly rejected the idea, because the agency wanted more money from Congress to upgrade its new plant.”

$37,681,000 for 23 projects by Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), including:  $2,940,000 for bus and bus facilities at the Coast Transit Authority; $2,940,000 for expansion of a section of Highway 9 to four lanes; $1,470,000 for the Statesman Boulevard and Trail; $196,000 for the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation in Vicksburg for renovation of the Southern Cultural Heritage Center Auditorium; $196,000 for construction of a multipurpose facility in Marietta; and $196,000 for the Taylor Hall Renovation Project in the city of Grenada.

As you can see the pork was requested by BOTH Democrats and Republicans.  And that IS WHY tea parties will be held all over the country today.

Here is the link to the CAGW Pig Book: http://www.cagw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reports_pigbook2008

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