Monday, April 18, 2011

McClintock on Auburn Dam

A strong statement—published by the Sacramento Bee—taking them to task for their misleading editorial of April 6th.

One objection the dam opposition has been using lately is that Auburn Dam cost too much, but using cost as an argument for not building Auburn Dam is like using cost as the reason not to build an army; for when the enemy—or the flood—is at the gates, it is too late.

An excerpt from Congressman McClintock’s article.

“Stripped of its adolescent vitriol, The Bee's editorial makes two substantive charges: first, that my proposals for renewed water projects like the Auburn dam would reduce water flows and harm fish populations; and second, that they would be cost-prohibitive, benefiting "wealthy San Joaquin Valley farmers" at the expense of local taxpayers.

“The first charge betrays a breathtaking lack of understanding of the contributions that dams make to stabilizing water flows, improving water quality, reducing river temperatures and improving habitat. Before the Folsom Dam, for example, the American River would shrink to a trickle in drought years and flood the entire Delta in wet ones. The Auburn dam would provide 400-year flood protection for the Sacramento Delta, store 2.3 million acre-feet of cold, clean water that can be released during hot, dry periods – enough water to fill an acre to a depth of 435 miles – generate enough clean, cheap and reliable electricity to power nearly a million homes and create a major new recreational lake for the region.

“The second charge borders on prevarication. The Bee's editorial board is well aware that as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Water and Power I have announced that all projects – including the Auburn dam – will first be evaluated under a uniform cost-benefit analysis that establishes the amortized cost of construction, and annual operations and maintenance balanced against the value of water, hydroelectricity, recreational leases and flood control protection afforded by these projects. It is also well aware that I have called for restoring the "beneficiary pays" doctrine to all future projects to assure that all federal dollars spent on these projects are repaid with interest by the users of the projects and thereafter provide a permanent revenue source to participating local communities.”