Even though the federal government spent more $12 million in West Virginia alone last month to help the victims of flooding, President Clinton has proposed saving $1.21 million in his 1988 budget by eliminating 200 river gauges on rivers around the nation. If this isn't a case of penny-wise and pound-foolish, we'd like to know what is.
In the past seven years, 360 gauges were eliminated nationwide, and the next round will begin Oct. 1, if the Congress acts favorably on the president's proposal.
Is the president stupid? Doesn't he know, as American Society of Civil Engineers' President Edward Groff told The Associated Press, that without such monitoring, the nation would "experience increased losses from floods" in both life and property?
No, the president (or whoever wrote this budget line for him) is not stupid. Call us cynical, but as we look at the facts - a steady pattern of increased upstream development leading to increased downstream flooding - we believe that the executive branch knows very well how necessary such devices are.