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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
Washington, D.O., March 20, 1964. Hon. WAYNE N. ASPINALL, Chairman, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, House of Representatives.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in reply to your letter of December 18, 1963, requesting the views of this Department on H.R. 3620, a bill "To provide for the optimum developments of the Nation's natural resources through the coordinated planning of water and related land resources, through the establishment of a water resources council and river basin commissions, and by providing financial assistance to the States in order to increase State participation in such planning."
This bill is almost identical to S. 1111 on which this Department submitted comments to the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs on September 27, 1963. The views of this Department have not changed on the original wording of S. 1111. A copy of our comments to the Senate committee on S. 1111 is enclosed, and these comments also apply to H.R. 3620.
Your letter also offered an opportunity to make additional comments regarding S. 1111 as passed by the Senate. Earlier comments on this bill included the statement, “This Department recommends enactment of the bill if amended as set forth below."
The revision of subsection (a) of section 202 and subsection (d) of section 203 removed our objections to the bill in its previous form. We favor enactment of S. 1111 as passed by the Senate and referred to your committee on December 5, 1963, if amended as recommended by the Bureau of the Budget in its letter of March 12, 1964, to you. Sincerely yours,
(S) ORVILLE L. FREEMAN, Secretary.
SEPTEMBER 27, 1963. Hon. HENRY M. JACKSON, Chairman, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, U.S. Senate.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in reply to your letter of March 20, 1963, requesting the views of this Department on S. 1111, a bill to provide for the optimum development of the Nation's natural resources through the coordinated planning of water and related land resources, through the establishment of a Water Resources Council and river basin commissions, and by providing financial assistance to the States in order to increase State participation in such planning.
This Department recommends enactment of the bill, if amended as set forth below.
S. 1111 provides in title I for the establishment of a Water Resources Council to be composed of the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, Army, and Health, Education, and Welfare. The Council would, among other things, establish, with the approval of the President, principles, standards, and procedures for Federal participants in the preparation of comprehensive regional or river basin plans and for the formulation and evaluation of Federal water resources projects. The President would designate the Chairman. Title II provides for the establishment of river basin commissions for the conduct of comprehensive planning within the major river basins of the United States. Title III would authorize Federal grants of a total of $5 million per year for 10 years to aid States with comprehensive water resources planning.
The Department of Agriculture strongly supports the objectives of the proposed legislation. This Department has primary concern among the Federal agencies with the conservation and development of our Nation's land and water resources on privately owned rural lands which comprise some 70 percent of the area of the 48 contiguous States. In addition, it has responsibility for the multiple use-sustained yield management of the 186 million acres of national forests and national grasslands.
This Department has a 100-year record of effectively cooperating with the States and local organizations in research, education, conservation, and development. No department has been more careful to respect the rights and responsibilities of the States and State laws in carrying out its responsibilities.
This Department believes that accomplishment of the objectives of the bill will be more effectively attained and working relationships among the Federal and State agencies will be facilitated if the following amendments are incorporated in the provisions of the bill :
1. Amend subsection (a) of section 202 by inserting in line 5 of page 9 between “1949” and “may' the following: “or a retired civilian employee of the Federal Government,” in order to make it plainly evident that both civilian and military retired employees may be appointed.
2. Amend subsection (d) of section 203 to clarify what we understand to be the intent by specifically providing for the presentation of alternative plans in the event the Chairman and the Vice Chairman fail to reach agreement. Also, where two or more States are involved, situations could arise in which the interests of the States are divergent and the State members might not all agree. Provision should be made so that the minority members could have alternative plans submitted in such cases. This can be accomplished by adding to the subsection the following: “In the event a commission fails to reach agreement upon a plan for water and related land resources development in the area for which it is responsible, alternative development plans shall be submitted. Also, in the event State members are not in agreement, alternative development plans shall be submitted on behalf of the disagreeing members."
The Bureau of the Budget advises that there is no objection to the presentation of this report from the standpoint of the administration's program. Sincerely yours,
ORVILLE L. FREEMAN, Secretary.
COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES,
Washington, D.C., December 31, 1963. B-138605. Hon. WAYNE N. ASPINALL, Chairman, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, House of Representatives.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN : Your letter of December 18, 1963, requests our comments on S. 1111, as passed by the Senate.
The desirability of the proposed legislation involves a matter of policy for determination by the Cor ess and, therefore, we make recommendation as to its enactment. However, we offer the following comments for your consideration.
Section 201 (a) of the bill would authorize the President to establish river basin water and related land resources commissions requested by the Water Resources Council created under section 101, or under certain conditions, upon the request of a State addressed to the Council. This proposed authority to create Federal river basin commissions without limitation is very broad and would, in effect, substitute the considerations of the State and Council for otherwise necessary deliberations and affirmative action of the Congress Commissions of this type in the past (some of which have reported their findings and are now defunct), have generally been created by specific statutory authority. We note that in the present Congress there have been introduced various bills dealing with the planning for and development of water and related land resources. For example five bills (H.R. 4019, H.R. 4207, H.R. 4226, H.R. 4442, and H.R. 5247) have been introduced in the House of Representatives to grant consent and approval of the Congress to the northeastern water and related land resources compact. Article III of the compact would create the Northeastern Resources Commission which would be concerned with the planning of water and related land resources in the States of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Likewise, House Joint Resolution 296 would approve the Susquehanna River Basin compact and create the Susquehanna River Basin Commission for the primary purpose of planning, development and utilization of the water and related natural resources in the basin States of Pennsylvania, New York, and Maryland.
To avoid the possibility of duplication or repetition of planning effort within a river basin for which such planning is currently or has heretofore been authorized by law the committee may wish to consider amending the bill to restrict the establishment of commissions to those areas within which a commission is not presently established under statutory law or water resources and related planning and development studies have not already been made.
Section 203(a) of the bill would provide that upon termination of a river basin commission, all property, assets, and records of the commission shall thereafter be turned over to such agencies of the United States and the participating States as shall be appropriate in the circumstances. This provision is ambiguous and
could be subject to many different interpretations. Hence, we suggest that your committee may wish to provide some criteria for the equitable distribution of such commission property, assets, and records, to the parties concerned. Also, in section 203(a), it appears that the word "not" on line 21 page 10, and the words "less than one-half” on line 22, page 10, should be deleted.
Section 207(a) of the bill would provide for each commission to determine the proportionate share of its expense which shall be borne by the Federal Government and each of the States. This provision apparently would leave to the discretion of each commission the amount of expense chargeable to the Federal Government and may be subject to controversy. We suggest the Congress may wish to provide some guidelines for determining the proportionate share of commission expenses between the Federal Government and each State.
Section 207(c) would require that each commission keep accurate accounts of all receipts and disbursements. To assure adequacy of financial control and proper record maintenance on a uniform and consistent basis we suggest that the Congress may wish to amend this subsection to require each commission to keep such records and maintain such a system of accounts as the Water Resources Council shall prescribe, including records relative thereto as will facilitate an effective audit. Also for purposes of clarity we suggest the word “independent” be inserted in section 207 (c) before the word "licensed” on line 9, page 18.
As a protection against the improper use of Federal grant funds we suggest that there be added to title III the following section :
“SEC. 308(a) Each recipient of a grant under this Act shall keep such records as the Chairman of the Council shall prescribe, including records which fully disclose the amount and disposition of the funds received under the grant, and the total cost of the project or undertaking in connection with which the grant was made and the amount and nature of that portion of the cost of the project or undertaking supplied by other sources, and such other records as will facilitate an effective audit.
“(b) The Chairman of the Council and the Comptroller General of the United States, or any of the duly authorized representatives, shall have access for the purpose of audit and examination to any books, documents, papers, and records of the recipient of the grant that are pertinent to the grant received under this Act."
Similar authority relating to loans and grants is contained in section 25 of the Area Redevelopment Act (Public Law 87–27, 75 Stat. 63), section 908 of the Housing Act of 1961 (Public Law 87–70, 75 Stat. 191), and in other proposed legislation for grant programs.
Section 404 authorizes the Council to utilize Federal officers and employees. Since section 105(d) authorizes the detail to temporary duty of Federal personnel to the Council on a reimbursable basis, we believe it desirable to insert the phrase "on a reimbursable basis” after the word "agency" in line 9, page 25. Sincerely yours,
JOSEPH CAMPBELL, Comptroller General of the United States.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE,
Washington, D.C., March 24, 1964. Hon. WAYNE N. ASPINALL, Chairman, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This letter is in response to your request of December 18, 1963, for a report on H.R. 3620 and S. 1111, as it passed the Senate, bills to provide for the optimum development of the Nation's natural resources through the coordinated planning of water and related land resources, through the establishment of a Water Resources Council and river basin commissions, and by providing financial assistance to the States in order to increase State participation in such planning.
Title I of the bills would establish a Water Resources Council, composed of the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, the Army, and Health, Education, and Welfare (and, under S. 1111, the Chairman of the Federal Power Commis
sion), the Chairman to be designated by the President. The Council would be directed to maintain a continuing study of the water resources needs throughout the Nation. The Council would establish, with the approval of the President, principles, standards, and procedures for Federal participants in the preparation of comprehensive regional or river basin plans. On receipt of such a plan from a river basin commission, the Council would review it, recommend changes which it considers desirable in the national interest, and transmit it to the President, with the comments of other Federal and State officials concerned, for his review and transmittal to the Congress with his recommendations in regard to authorization of Federal projects.
The Council, as the body to which each river basin commission would submit its comprehensive plan, would be able to assess the merits of each plan in relation to the others and to the overall needs of the Nation. It should have adequate power to bring that knowledge, and the experience of the major water resources departments represented on the Council, to bear on the river basin plans submitted to it by the commissions. S. 1111 authorizes the Council to revise the plans for Federal projects intended to be proposed in any plan or revision thereof being prepared by a river basin planning commission, a provision not included in H.R. 3620. We view this authority as minimal if the Council is to give effective support to the objectives of the proposed Water Re sources Planning Act.
Title II of the bills would provide for the establishment of joint Federal-State commissions to plan the comprehensive development of the water and related land resources of river basins, regions, or groups of related river basins in the United States. (S. 1111 refers to "areas" rather than “regions," and clarifies the status of certain subbasins for purposes of the act.) H.R. 3620 would provide that voting on a commission be only by the chairman, acting in behalf of the Federal members, and by the vice chairman, on instruction from the State members. S. 1111, as it passed the Senate, states that every reasonable endeavor shall be made in the work of a commission to arrive at a consensus of all members on all issues, but if that fails, full opportunity shall be afforded each member for the presentation and report of individual views. When a commission fails to act by reason of absence of consensus, the position of the chairman, for the Federal members, and the vice chairman, on instructions of the State members, shall be set forth in the record. Differing viewpoints in the development of comprehensive river basin plans can best be resolved through discussion and compromise. The alinement of interests required by the voting provision of H.R. 3620 would tend to foment and perpetuate dissension, and seems singularly unsuitable for developing or arriving at a constructive consensus. We view the provision of S. 1111, encouraging consensus and affording the opportunity for the presentation of individual views, as far more conducive to the attainment of the proposed act's objectives than the voting procedure set out in H.R. 3620.
Additionally, we prefer the provision of S. 1111, which would authorize grants to States "to assist them in developing and participating in the development of comprehensive water and related land resources plans.” The comparable provision of H.R. 3620 would appear to limit the use of such grants to assist State participation in the development of those comprehensive river basin plans authorized in title II.
We fully agree with the statement of policy set forth in section 2 of the bills that the conservation, development, and utilization of the water and related land resources of the United States should be planned on a comprehensive and coordinated basis with the cooperation of all affected Federal agencies, States, local governments, and other concerned. The formulation of desirable and appropriate patterns of coordination in water resource planning are of major concern to this Department in the discharge of its responsibilities for the preparation and development of comprehensive programs for water pollution control. The improved provisions of S. 1111 afford, in our consideration, an appropriate and desirable vehicle for these purposes. We would, therefore, favor the enactment of S. 1111, as it passed the Senate, in preference to H.R. 3620.
We are advised by the Bureau of the Budget that there is no objection to the presentation of this report from the standpoint of the administration's program. Sincerely,
ANTHONY J. CELEBREZZE, Secretary.
FEDERAL POWER COMMISSION,
Washington, D.C., March 23, 1964. Re H.R. 3620 and S. 1111, 88th Congress, Water Resources Planning Act. Hon. WAYNE N. ASPINALL, Chairman, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN : In response to your request of December 18, 1963, there are enclosed 40 copies of the report of the Federal Power Commission on the subject bills.
It is contemplated that this report may be released by the Commission to the public within 3 working days from the date of this letter unless there is a request that its release be withheld. Sincerely,
JOSEPH C. SWIDLER, Chairman.
FEDERAL POWER COMMISSION REPORT ON H.R. 3620 AND S. 1111, 88TH CONGRESS
Bills to provide for the optimum development of the Nation's natural resources through the coordinated planning of water and related land resources, through the establishment of a Water Resources Council and river basin commissions, and by providing financial assistance to the States in order to increase State participation in such planning.
H.R. 3620 and S. 1111 are similar but not identical bills now pending in the House. S. 1111 passed the Senate on December 4, 1963, with amendments, particularly of section 101, which the Federal Power Commission favors. If enacted, the legislation would be known as the Water Resources Planning Act.
The purpose of the proposed legislation is to establish policies, procedures, and machinery designed to facilitate and encourage the most effective execution and coordination of Federal and State water resources planning activities. To implement this objective and to promote orderly resolution of common problems in the water resources field the bills provide for the creation of a Water Resources Council, and authorize the setting up of joint Federal-State river basin commissions and a program of Federal financial assistance to States for water resources planning work.
The Water Resources Council would be an interagency coordinating group charged with studying regional water resources requirements; recommending principles, standards, and procedures applicable to Federal planning studies; and reviewing and making recommendations with respect to river basin plans. Under S. 1111, section 101, the Council would be composed of the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, and the Chairman of the Federal Power Commission as regular members. The President would designate the Chairman of the Council, who in turn may name certain ad hoc members to the Council. (H.R. 3620 does not include the Chairman of the Federal Power Commission as a regular member.)
The river basin commissions authorized by the bills would be brought into being by action of the President pursuant to the procedure specified, and would be responsible for coordinating regional or area planning and for preparing coordinated, joint plans for water and related land resources development. Each such commission would have a chairman appointed by the President and would include one member from each Federal department or independent agency determined by the President to have a substantial interest in the work to be undertaken. These members would be appointed to the heads of the departments or agencies. Each affected State and interstate compact agency would be entitled to a member, and these members would select the vice chairman.
Under H.R. 3620, voting on the river basin commissions would be by the chairman acting on behalf of the Federal members and by the vice chairman acting upon instruction from the State members. In place of this block voting arrangement, S. 1111 would charge each commission with making every reasonable endeavor to arrive at a consensus of its members on issues. Failing this, full opportunity would be afforded each member for the presentation and report of individual views.
The need for and desirability of formally establishing an effective coordinating entity in the field of water resources planning and development has been generally recognized in recent years by various groups concerned with studying