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Reclamation Safety of Dams Act of 1978 Statement on Signing S. 2820 Into Law.

November 02, 1978

I am signing today S. 2820, the Reclamation Safety of Dams Act of 1978, a bill that provides much-needed aid to preserve the structural safety of dams under the stewardship of the Bureau of Reclamation.

The act provides that the costs of construction and maintenance needed as a result of simple aging and normal deterioration will continue to be shared with beneficiaries under terms of current contracts and agreements.

I do note, however, that the bill exempts from normal cost-sharing requirements any upgrading undertaken as a result of new hydrologic or seismic data or due to changes in state-of-the-art criteria. This could apply even when a project may have vendible outputs and the beneficiaries are normally required and able to share the capital costs. I am concerned that in these cases, the Federal taxpayer is assuming a cost which is generally a normal expense for project beneficiaries.

However, dam safety is a very important matter that needs attention now. Therefore, I am signing this act.

I also believe the public interest demands that we reform cost-sharing policies for future projects. We need a more uniform and equitable balance between the Federal Government and the projects' direct beneficiaries. I announced such an initiative in my water policy message last spring, and I plan to propose to the next session of Congress a more coherent and fair policy. That proposal would ensure that the public's safety is protected, that the Federal taxpayer does not pay the entire cost of safety repairs, and that project beneficiaries pay their fair share of the costs.

Note: As enacted, S. 2820 is Public Law 95578, approved November 2.

Jimmy Carter, Reclamation Safety of Dams Act of 1978 Statement on Signing S. 2820 Into Law. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243811

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