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What Else Could Taxpayers Get For $165 Million?
Wednesday is Tax Day. Across the country, millions of Americans are sitting down and taking stock of exactly how much we owe the IRS.
Most Americans don’t want the federal government to take our money and spend it on a project that will drain an area of wetlands larger than the District of Columbia, eliminate the most important backwater fisheries habitat in the Middle Mississippi River, and threaten the safety of communities along the Mississippi River.
But that’s exactly what the $165 million New Madrid Floodway project would do. While a small number of landowners will benefit from the project, the rest of us will lose.
The project is opposed by the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Missouri Department of Conservation, 90 conservation organizations, 26 community leaders, and more than 20,000 members of the public. In fact, the Washington Post editorial board called the levee “a bizarre waste of taxpayer money and an ecological disaster that a few members of Congress refuse to drop.”
Fortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency has the power to stop this project by issuing a Clean Water Act veto. EPA would be doing the environment and taxpayers a great service by stopping this project once and for all.
If EPA issues a veto, here are just a few things that we could do with that $165 million:
- Enroll as many as 58,928 acres of Missouri in the Wetlands Reserve Program. (Source)
- Help 28,795 college students pay their tuition for one year through the federal Pell grant program. (Source)
- Pay medical care costs for one year for 20,173 veterans though the Veteran’s Administration. (Source)
- Send 6,679 Missouri high school students to the University of Missouri for one year. (Source)
- Hire 3,385 firefighters for one year. (Source)
- Hire 2,903 elementary school teachers for one year. (Source)
- Improve water quality by funding all needed wastewater treatment upgrades for the 185 Missouri communities with less than 1,000 people—and still have $43 million left over. (Source)
- Build eight new high schools (Source).
- Operate nine crown jewels of the National Park System for one year by paying the full discretionary budget for: Everglades National Park, Glacier National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Yosemite National Park. (Source)
- Feed more than 1 million homeless dogs and cats for one year. (Source)