WASHINGTTON – Lawmakers hardly missed a beat after Hurricane Katrina in trying to grab money for local projects in the Army Corps of Engineers' budget.
The Energy and Water spending bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee last week contains dozens of home-state earmarks that the agency didn't request. The House took up its version of the bill last month but hasn't yet released its earmarks — pet projects sought by lawmakers — because committee leaders said they were inundated with requests.
Many of the projects fall within the Corps' scope of work: fortifying levees, restoring river habitats and upgrading river locks. But with limited funding, they didn't make it into the budget that the agency submitted to Congress.
Among the items that made it into the Senate bill, according to legislative language and lawmakers' press releases:
— Nearly $16 million inserted by Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, for improvements to various harbors in Alaska, plus another $5 million for coastal erosion.
— $200,000 for mosquito control and $950,000 for improvements to boat ramps and docks on North Dakota's Lake Sakakawea, by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.
— More than $11 million sought by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., for nearly two dozen studies on the need for various dam, shoreline and river projects around her state.
— $3 million sought by Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., for dredging the Cocheco River in Dover, N.H., to allow more boat traffic to enter the city and boost the local economy.