Pork Barrel Spending - Bussiness as Usual
Thursday, May 7, 2009 2:01:50 PM
To qualify as pork-barrel spending, a project must meet at least one of the following criteria, though most instances in their report satisfy at least two:
1. Requested by only one chamber of Congress
2. Not specifically authorized
3. Not competitively awarded
4. Not requested by the President
5. Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding
6. Not the subject of congressional hearings
7. Serves only a local or special interest
The passage of the economic bailout bill in October 2008 was viewed as a necessary evil by many reluctant politicians on both the left and the right, but the subsequent revelation of earmarks legislators stuffed in it at the last second only gave them more reservations.
The 2008 book listed 11,610 projects that totaled $17.2 billion. 2009 is not a record year for pork barrel spending but you would think that after Obama harped on it so much in the elections, things would at least ease off a bit.Then again we must remember that no matter how many times he used it in his campaign, Barack Obama, then senator representing Illinois, sponsored 53 earmarks in 2007 that totaled $97 million.
These projects aren't necessarily unworthy of taxpayer support, but they are inserted into spending bills by members of Congress with little or no debate, and without significant scrutiny on merits.
$2 Million for Children's Wooden Arrow Makers
Under this particular provision, proposed by Oregon Sens. Democrat Ron Wyden and Republican Gordon Smith, manufacturers of certain wooden arrows designed for use by children would get an exception from an excise tax, which could save them up to $2 million over 10 years.
$1.9 million for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service
It's been dubbed the "Monument to Me" — a planned $30 million academic center supported by longtime New York Rep. Charles Rangel and named, not so surprisingly, for Rep. Charles Rangel. The Harlem Democrat raised hackles after securing a $1.9 million earmark for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York.
$1 Million for New York Woodstock Museum
Clinton and fellow New York Sen. Charles Schumer requested a million bucks to put towards a project in their state, backed by a major Democratic Party contributor, commemorating the 1969 music festival.
$192 Million for U.S. Territories' Rum Industries
Another product of the pork-stuffed economic bailout bill, this earmark slipped into the Senate version of the legislation renews an expired rebate against excise taxes charged on rum imported from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands until the end of 2009.
$188,000 for the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine
Maine's lobster industry generated close to $300 million in 2006, according to its trade group. But the University of Maine's Lobster Institute still deserves taxpayer funding, according to the state's lawmakers. Maine's two Republican Senators and Rep. Thomas Allen, a Democrat, lined up $188,000 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to launch the Lobster Health Coalition at the institute, whose other accomplishments include developing a live Internet "Lobster Cam" and devising lobster treats for dogs, called "Bisque-its."
$98,000 to Develop a Walking Tour of Boydton, Virginia
Congress spent more than $200 per resident to help develop a historic walking tour of the tiny southern Virginia town of Boydton, not even one square mile in size.
$50,000 for the National Mule and Packers Museum in Bishop, California
America's pioneers didn't settle the west alone — they relied on the help of mules. So, argued California Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, it's only natural that $50,000 in federal money help establish a museum honoring the pack animals.
$583,000 for the Montana World Trade Center
Headquartered in Missoula, population 64,000, the center clearly has grand ambitions — its Web site can be read in five languages, and its logo includes a stack of hundred-dollar bills in front of a globe. Not a bad goal for a place with less than a third the foreign exports of tiny Delaware.
$460,752 for Beer Ingredient
The federal earmark mostly goes to the Northwest Hops Research program, allowing experts to investigate "critical issues" in the industry. Another plus: The research is also expected to produce new hop varieties that are disease and pest resistant.
$150,000 for "Rat Island"
Sen. Ted Stevens has a rat problem up north — and he made sure federal dollars were enlisted to help clean it up. The Alaska Senator was able to pass a $150,000 earmark in the FY 2008 agriculture appropriation legislation in order to improve rodent control on the Aleutian Islands to help the seabirds whose nesting habitats have been disrupted.
The list goes on:
$107,000 to study the sex life of the Japanese quail.
$1.2 million to study the breeding habits of the woodchuck.
$150,000 to study the Hatfield-McCoy feud.
$84,000 to find out why people fall in love.
$1 million to study why people don't ride bikes to work.
$19 million to examine gas emissions from cow flatulence.
$144,000 to see if pigeons follow human economic laws.
$219,000 to teach college students how to watch television.
$2 million to construct an ancient Hawaiian canoe.
$20 million for a demonstration project to build wooden bridges.
$160,000 to study if you can hex an opponent by drawing an X on his chest.
$800,000 for a restroom on Mt. McKinley.
$100,000 to study how to avoid falling spacecraft.
$16,000 to study the operation of the komungo, a Korean stringed instrument.
$1 million to preserve a sewer in Trenton, NJ, as a historic monument.
$6,000 for a document on Worcestershire sauce.
$10,000 to study the effect of naval communications on a bull's potency.
$100,000 to research soybean-based ink.
$1 million for a Seafood Consumer Center.
$57,000 spent by the Executive Branch for gold-embossed playing cards on Air Force Two.
$18,000,000 for Army Corps of Engineers construction in rural Nevada.
$18,000,000 for middle Rio Grande restoration.
$17,048,000 for the Army Corps of Engineers Lake Sakakawea construction project.
$10,000,000 for environmental infrastructure in N.D.
$9,452,500 for bike paths and trails in Illinois, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Indiana and Ohio.
$9,050,000 for Army Corps of Engineers constructions in Indiana.
$8,000,000 for the Bay Area regional water recycling program.
$7,925,000 for the International Fisheries Commissions.
$7,100,000 for NOAA for the conservation and recovery of endangered Hawaiian sea turtle populations.
$7,000,000 for the James Campbell Wildlife Refuge.
$700,000 for wastewater improvement projects in Reading and Milford, Pa.
$5,600,000 for two projects at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
$5,000,000 for San Francisco Bay restoration grants.
$5,000,000 for lighthouse improvements at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
$4,780,000 for Truckee Meadows.
$4,757,500 for the Center for Nanoscale Energy.
$4,757,500 for climate change modeling capability.
$4,545,000 for wood utilization research in 10 states - 19 senators and 10 representatives.
$3,828,000 for New Mexico environmental infrastructure - then-Rep. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.)
$3,500,000 for the Glatfelter Tree Farm - Sen.Arlen Specter (R-Pa.)
$3,000,000 for Tahoe Basin restoration - Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
$2,871,000 for San Ramon Valley recycled water - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
$2,749,000 for Bureau of Reclamation water projects in North Las Vegas - Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
$2,677,000 for Army Corps of Engineers investigations on the South San Francisco shoreline.
$2,600,000 for NOAA for the conservation and recovery of the critically endangered monk seal population and conservation of Pacific crustaceans - Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii)
$2,500,000 for Snow Mountain Ranch - then-Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.)
$2,446,000 for three earmarks for Monongahela National Forest trails, roads, and facilities - Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.)
$2,400,000 for a green armaments/rangesafe program - Rep. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)
$2,250,000 for the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge - Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.)
$2,192,000 for the Center for Grape Genetics in Geneva.
$2,000,053 for biomass utilization at the Energy and Environmental Research Center - Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.)
$2,000,000 for environmental infrastructure at Springfield Hospital - then-rep. David Hobson (R-Ohio)
$2,000,000 for Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park - Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.)
$2,000,000 for Henry’s Lake - then-Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho)
$2,000,000 for the CheQuamegon-Nicolet National Forest - Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.)
$1,914,000 for Army Corps of Engineers construction of the Acequias irrigation system - then-Rep. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.)
$1,903,000 for a clean power energy research consortium .
$1,903,000 for the La Samilla Solar Through Storage Project - then-Rep. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.)
$1,903,000 for the Center of Excellence and Hazardous Materials - then-Rep. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.)
$1,762,000 for a honey bee lab in Weslaco.
$1,750,000 for the West Virginia University Environmental Center in Morgantown - Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.)
$1,750,000 for the International Pacific Research Center at the University of Hawaii to conduct systematic and reliable climatographic research of the Pacific region - Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii)
$1,600,000 for conversion of municipal solid waste to renewable diesel fuel.
$1,500,000 for NOAA to create and implement an integrated system-wide ocean science education program piloted in Hawaii’s schools - Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii)
$1,500,000 for telecommunications and roads at the National Conservation Training Center - Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.)
$1,500,000 for exhibits, trails, and the amphitheater at the California National Historic Trail Interpretive Center - Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
$1,250,000 for two projects along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail - Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.)
$1,250,000 for Uncompahgre National Forest - then-Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.)
$1,250,000 for the Angel Island Immigration Station - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
$1,250,000 for the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research at the University of Hawaii to conduct research on open ocean fisheries in the Pacific Ocean - Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii)
$1,200,000 Army Corps of Engineers investigations projects in New York - Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)
$1,189,375 for Solar Energy Windows and Smart IR Switchable Building Technologies in Pennsylvania - Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Reps. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) and Michael Doyle (D-Pa.)
$1,189,375 for the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation’s Alternative Energy School of the Future in Clark County - Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
$1,100,000 for the Drew University Environmental Science Initiative - Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.)
$1,000,000 for the University of Maryland College Park for its Advanced Study Institute for Environmental Prediction to study climate impacts and adaptation in the Mid-Atlantic region - Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)
$1,000,000 for the Ohio River Sanitation Commission for organic detection system improvements - Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.)
$1,000,000 for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area - Sen.Arlen Specter (R-Pa.)
$951,500 for the biorefining for energy security project at Ohio University-Lancaster - then-rep. David Hobson (R-Ohio)
$951,500 for the Purdue Calumet Inland Water Institute - Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.)
$951,500 for DIRECT Methanol Fuel Cell in Indiana - Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.)
$951,500 for Adaptive Liquid Crystal Windows in Ohio - Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)
$951,500 by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and House appropriator Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.) for downtown Detroit energy efficient street lighting. That’s the least of the city’s problems.
$950,000 for Audubon Mississippi for a nature-based education facility - Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)
$900,000 for fish management at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab - Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)
$885,000 for deepening the main channel and the Port of Los Angeles - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
$866,000 for stable fly control in Lincoln - Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)
$850,000 Iowa State University surface winds research - Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
$800,000 for University of South Alabama oyster rehabilitation in Mobile, Ala. - Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)
$800,000 for Malaria and Dengue Fever mosquito born disease prevention - Rep. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)
$800,000 for a tunnel at Yosemite National Park - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
$800,000 for the Gig Harbor Fish Passage - Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.)
$800,000 for water quality in Eagle County - then-Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.)
$761,200 for a solar lighting demonstration project - Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
$750,000 for the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge - Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.)
$750,000 for the Consortium for Plant Biotechnology - Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii)
$750,000 for the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources for a stream restoration program - Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.)
$713,625 for Algal-Base Renewable Energy for Nevada - Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
$713,625 renewable energy research project at the Miami Science Museum - Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.)
$700,000 for NOAA for the Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative at the University of Hawaii to support monitoring and research activities on Hawaii’s coral reefs - Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii)
$700,000 Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green to complete a monitoring system that will collect real-time weather observations through a statewide grid of stations in Kentucky - Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
$682,778 for the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy; $475,750 for the Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization - Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
$670,000 for abandoned mine restoration - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
$550,000 for the NOAA Chesapeake Bay office for blue crab research - Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)
$500,000 for Ohio environmental infrastructure in Upper Hocking - then-rep. David Hobson (R-Ohio)
$500,000 for the NOAA Chesapeake Bay office for a network of environmental observation platforms - Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)
$500,000 for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration public education in Mobile, Ala. -Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)
$500,000 for NOAA's Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center in Mobile, Ala. - Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)
$500,000 Nature Conservancy of Middletown, Conn. and Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. for the southern New England seagrass research and restoration project - Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.)
$500,000 for wastewater infrastructure in Pueblo - then-Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.)
$500,000 for the Mississippi Forest Legacy Program - Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), including:
$500,000 for the Tacoma-Seattle Urban Forest - Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.)
$475,750 for research into long term environmental and economic impacts of the development of a coal liquefaction sector in China - Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.)
$475,000 for the JATRAN light rail feasibility study - Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)
$469,000 for a fruit fly facility in Hawaii - Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), and Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii)
$460,000 for the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
$427,500 for Natchez riverfront trails - Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)
$413,000 for peanut research - Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), then-Rep. Terry Everett (R-Ala.), and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.)
$386,000 for a carbon-neutral green campus - Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
$350,000 for the Minidoka National Historic Site - then-Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho)
$350,000 for the Appalachian Mountain Club Climate Change and Air Pollutant Impacts to New England’s Rare Alpine Zone - Judd Gregg (R-N.H.)
$303,000 for wild rice in St. Paul - then-Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.)
$300,000 for the University of New Hampshire for weather and air quality research - Judd Gregg (R-N.H.)
$300,000 for the Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center - Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.)
$270,000 for the Hood Canal Dissolved Oxygen Study - Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.)
$254,000 for the Montana Sheep institute - Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.)
$250,000 for the Idaho Sage Grouse - then-Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho)
$250,000 for the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout - Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
$250,000 for bluefin tuna tagging and research program at the Monterey Bay Aquarium - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.)
$245,000 for jointed goat grass, in Idaho and Washing - Sen. Patty Murray, Sen. Maria Cantwell, Reps. Norm Dicks, Brian Baird, Doc Hastings, Jay Inslee and Adam Smith (all Wash.)
$243,000 for floriculture in Hawaii - Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka, and Reps. Neil Abercrombie and Mazie Hirono (all Hawaii) for floriculture.
$239,000 for a Carpinteria shoreline study - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
$237,500 to acquire the remaining 62 acres of Keil Farm, a park in Toledo - Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio)
$206,000 for wool research in three states (Montana, Texas, and Wyoming) - Reps. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas)
$200,000 for continued weather technology and observation at Plymouth State University - Judd Gregg (R-N.H.)
$200,000 for the middle Rio Grande endangered species collaborative program - then-Rep. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.)
$150,000 Maine Department of Natural Resources lobster research - Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), then-Rep. Thomas Allen (D-Maine), and Rep. Michael Michaud (D-Maine)
$142,725 for a plug-in hybrid vehicle demonstration program in Las Vegas - Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
$139,000 for the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference - Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)
$125,000 for Fisherman’s Hall in Charles Town - Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.)
$115,000 for weather forecaster training at San Jose State University - Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.)
$110,000 for Coyote Dam - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
$100,000 to continue efforts to develop a comprehensive watershed management plan for Lake Winnipesaukee - Judd Gregg (R-N.H.)
$100,000 for the New Hampshire Lakes Association to prevent the spread of exotic aquatic weeds, such as milfoil, in the state’s lakes - Judd Gregg (R-N.H.)
$100,000 for the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation to provide economic relief to Maine lobstermen - Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), and then-Rep. Thomas Allen (D-Maine)
$96,000 for the Malibu Creek watershed - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
$90,000 for construction at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)
$50,000 for tree replacement in River Rouge - Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.)