Colorado received $6.7 million from 11 earmarks in the 2008 Interior Department appropriations legislation. About 40 percent of the total, $2.8 million went to Rocky Mountain National Park for unspecified purposes.
For the first time, the member who requested the earmark is identified in the legislation. Only one member of Congress, Republican Marilyn Musgrave, is credited with an earmark in this bill, $150,000 for water treatment improvements in the town of Eckley.The rest of the earmarks were requested by President Bush. They were:
$187,000 Confluence River Access
$396,000 Colorado Canyons National Conservation Area
$222,000 Penitente Canyon Rehabilitation
$146,000 Grand Junction Trailhead and Overlook Improvements
$856,000 Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area
$2,817,000 Rocky Mountain National Park
$150,000 The Town of Eckley for Water Treatment Improvements
$305,000 Medicine Bow/Routt National Forest, Harm’s Peak Lake Campground Rehabilitation
$808,000 Montrose Bunkhouse
$250,000 Arapaho/Roosevelt National Forest, Administrative Site Acquisition
$533,000 Island Lake Recreation Area
According to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense:
The House FY2008 Interior appropriations bill contains 321 congressionally disclosed member and administration earmarks worth a total of more than $329 million. As is invariably the case, the spoils went to the majority party, and especially to members of the Interior appropriations subcommittee.
Chairman Norm Dicks (D-WA) was the biggest winner with $5.85 million in projects, including $150,000 for the Bremerton Public Library. In total, a full fifty percent of the earmarked dollars go to the 66 members of the Appropriations Committee. The split between the parties also follows the usual pattern, with Democrats pulling down 61 percent of the total earmark dollars.
The National Parks Conservation Association says that at least two Colorado national parks — Mesa Verde NP (which received no earmark) and Rocky Mountain NP — are in critical need of additional funding. The group says current staffing levels at Rocky Mountain are insufficient to protect the parks resources and maintain visitor services.