Almost six years after the passage of the stimulus package, taxpayer dollars have finally found their way into a shovel ready project: $60,000 to haul horse manure.
Sold as an opportunity to bring America into the "21st century," the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the stimulus, is now being used to remove wild horse manure off of public lands.
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According to a contract awarded last week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will pay $58,650 to load, haul, and dispose manure from a corral in Burns, Oregon. The facility holds wild horses and burros found on the Oregon range where they await adoption.
"Manure shall be wind-rowed, piled if necessary, loaded, and hauled to a site for a beneficial use," the BLM said in their solicitation outlining the project. "If there is no beneficial use for the manure, then it shall be legally disposed of in a landfill or by another approved disposal practice."
"Stockpiling of the manure shall not be permitted," they added.
The government anticipated that laborers would be paid $16.86 an hour plus fringe benefits for the job, which was awarded to ACW, Inc., a company in Hines, Oregon.
The contract is good through September 2015, with four option years; meaning stimulus funds could be spent on hauling horse manure until 2019.
Funds from the stimulus law, which totaled more than $800 billion, are still being spent, and recently have gone almost exclusively to the Department of Interior (DOI).
The latest contract for horse manure contradicts President Barack Obama’s remarks about the stimulus in 2011 that "shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected."