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SCOTT JAGOW: Today, the U.S. Senate starts debate on the most expensive water projects bill in American history. It is a doozy — $32 billion for hundreds of projects around the country. That's double the money in the House version passed last month. And let me tell you, the watchdog groups are howling. Steve Henn reports from Washington.


STEVE HENN: The Senate's water resources bill has something for everyone. It authorizes billions for rebuilding levees in Louisiana, as well as millions more for pumping sand onto a Southern California beach.


STEVE ELLIS: This is the biggest pork-barrel water projects bill that we've ever seen.

Steve Ellis at Taxpayers for Common Sense says owners of oceanfront real estate in Imperial Beach, Calif., are in line to receive one sweet taxpayer-financed deal.

ELLIS: We spend $13 million pumping sand onto the beach and then $41 million over the next 50 years making sure it stays sandy.

But one man's pork project is another's economic priority.

Gary Brown is city manager for Imperial Beach.

GARY BROWN: Our community's only 28,000 people. It's very dependent upon tourism.

He says his town could never afford the beach project all by itself.

In Washington, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.

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