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U.S. House passes $3 million of desired $15 million growth subsidy

Every time the neocons say that global trade is simply about letting the free market do its magic, ask them why, if it's free, it has to be so highly subsidized, and why taxpayers like you and me have to keep footing the bill for it?
Eastern Oregon, Washington and Idaho farmers divert water away from salmon to their fields, the process of doing so subsidized already, then the Columbia River gets dredged at Oregonian taxpayer expense so that the ships can haul their grain out to distant shores. But farmers (and how many of them are small and not corporately-owned these days?) are not the only ones who benefit from the giveaway. The corporate traders shipping junk back and forth from Asia also benefit big time. As a result of the dredging, salmon habitat is further destroyed and sea fishers by the Columbia's mouth are endangered by the huge waves the dredging produces. In the meantime, there's no money for health care, physical ed, music, and art in schools, as well as other services.

Can we say trickle-down economics, children?

Bear in mind, it's the Dems as well as the Reps who are behind this scam.


Ore. House panel budgets $3 million for dredging

07:11 AM PDT on Thursday, June 10, 2004

Associated Press

The plan to deepen a 103-mile stretch of the Columbia River could be delayed after a House panel budgeted only $3 million of the $15 million needed to start the project.

Ship traffic on The Columbia River. (AP File Photo)

Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said two months ago that they need at least $15 million to start work on the shipping channel next summer.

But the energy and water appropriations subcommittee approved only 20 percent of that amount. The Oregonian reported Thursday that the smaller amount of money was approved despite a lobbying effort by legislators from Northwest states.

Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, the only subcommittee member from the region, told the newspaper that the subcommittee set an important precedent by targeting the money exclusively for dredging.

"Once you have that money started, the next year it's easier to continue that flow of money," Simpson said.

The corps plans to deepen the channel by three feet to open the river to the latest models of deep-draft container ships and grain vessels, helping Portland and five downriver ports compete for Pacific Rim business.

Wednesday's vote was the first in a lengthy process to set funding for navigation projects on the Columbia and elsewhere included in a $4.8 billion total for corps civil works. The Senate also must set a funding level for 2005 and then reconcile with the House, probably in the fall.

Matt Rabe, a spokesman at the corps' regional headquarters in Portland, said that until President Bush signs a spending bill with a final amount, the corps is going ahead with plans to start construction next summer.

"Until we see what the final balance is on this project, it is hard to say what the effect will be," Rabe said.

In Senate testimony in April, Lt. Gen. Robert Flowers, the corps' chief of engineers, said $15 million was the minimum needed to begin dredging in 2005 and finish by 2007.
U.S. House, not Oregon 10.Jun.2004 22:45

George Bender

The Oregon legislature is not in session. This is federal money. Not that that makes it a good idea.

Oops! 10.Jun.2004 23:14

M. Scott Jones

Of course, the U.S. House. My thinking got screwed up by the AP/KGW headline. Oregon government does spend lots on this effort, as well. The year before, the Port of Portland spent $400,000 of taxpayer money to advertise to Oregonians that the dredging would be a good thing. Add to that staff time and materials spent by the governor's office, the PDC and other agencies to lobby for this project through the years.