Dam Safety Bill Introducedby Associated Press
San Francisco Chronicle, October 15, 2003
A measure authorizing nearly a fivefold funding increase to improve the safety of aging dams across the West has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.
The measure by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., would increase the authorized appropriation levels to $540 million annually for U.S. Bureau of Reclamation dam safety projects, up from the current $109 million a year. Appropriations committees would make the decision on how much money could actually be provided within that authorization.
"We need to increase funding for dam safety if the bureau is going to be able to ensure the safety and reliability of its dams," Domenici said in introducing the bill Tuesday.
A safety program to monitor dams is needed to catch problems before they become too dangerous, he said. The Bureau of Reclamation oversees 457 dams and dikes.
The bill would affect work in 12 states, he said -- Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming as well as New Mexico.
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