Earlier this week, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) and Water & Power Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock (CA-04) sent letters to the Bureau of Reclamation and the Office of Management and Budget requesting information on the use of American tax dollars to pay for a controversial Department of the Interior (DOI) survey on the need to remove four privately owned dams on the Klamath River in Oregon and California.
In 2011, DOI distributed a nationwide survey with the questionable purpose of measuring the societal, non-economic value of removing the four dams. The survey consisted of several waves of mailings, some of which included a two dollar bill used as an incentive to respond and a letter stating that DOI will send an additional $20 if the completed survey is returned before a specific deadline. According to the Federal Register, an estimated 10,400 households were contacted about the survey. In questioning yesterday before the House Water and Power Subcommittee, the Bureau of Reclamation was unable to provide an accounting of how much had been spent on this survey.
"This is as maddening as it is wasteful. The Obama Administration literally mailed cash to random citizens across the country to find out their feelings on tearing down four dams that they've likely never heard of. Federal spending is out of control and this type of nonsense needs to stop. Our demand for documents and emails is aimed at finding out exactly how this ever happened," said Chairman Hastings.
"This so-called survey is yet another example of how out-of-touch this Administration has been on its quest to remove four perfectly good hydroelectric producing dams. Using taxpayer dollars on a slanted survey and the muzzling and eventual firing of its own scientist who disagreed with the Interior Department proves what many have been saying: dam removal is a pre-determined conclusion from this Administration. It simply ignores the destruction of jobs along with the cheapest and cleanest source of electricity on the planet," said Chairman McClintock.