Friday, May 18, 2007

Federal Water Funds

Very good news, and we await the appropriations bill to see what projects the money actually wind up funding.

Boxer gives California a shot at big federal bucks
Senate passes bill with $1.4 billion for state water projects
Edward Epstein, Chronicle Washington Bureau
Thursday, May 17, 2007

05-17) 04:00 PDT Washington -- Sen. Barbara Boxer of California is giving her constituents a textbook example of the power a single senior senator can wield, using her new post chairing the Environment and Public Works Committee to add generously to the amount of money the state stands to get for water and flood control projects.

In all, California accounts for about $1.4 billion of the estimated $13.9 billion in projects authorized under the Water Resources Development Act passed 91-4 Wednesday by the Senate. At about 10 percent of the total, California ranks second only to flood- and hurricane-ravaged Louisiana, which accounts for 25 percent of the total.

For California -- a state whose leaders complain regularly about sending far more to Washington in federal tax dollars than the state gets back -- the experience in the water legislation represents a positive reversal of fortune.

By the time the bill, the first such water program legislation to get this far in Congress in seven years, was wrapped up in Boxer's committee, hundreds of millions of dollars for specific California projects had been added. What's more, many other projects in the state were added to the bill without specific funding totals, making them eligible for future appropriations. And the bill called for federal studies of several other potential water projects.

"We have a lot of important projects in here because we have so many needs," said Boxer, who has served on the committee in the minority and the majority since coming to the Senate in 1993. She became chairwoman after Democrats took control of Congress in November.