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The Buffalo River watershed, at an estimated cost of $2,581,400, there has been appropriated $191,000.
The Middle Colorado River watershed, at an estimated cost of $2,693,000, there has been appropriated $308,000.
And for the Washita River watershed in Oklahoma, at an estimated cost of $11,243,000, there has been appropriated $250,000.
Mr. WILL. $2,507,000.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; $2,507,000. Thank you. So that the sums for the watersheds that were authorized, covering these 11 projects at an estimated cost of around $85,000,000 to $90,000,000, there has been appropriated for these works, up to and including the fiscal year 1949, approximately $12,213,417, in the break-down that I have before me. Mr. WILL. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any further questions by members of the committee
Mr. PICKETT. Yes; Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PICKETT. As I understand it, Mr. Will, you coordinate the floodcontrol activities with all the other conservation, forest, soil, and so on that are allied to the program that you are carrying on. Specifically I am interested at the moment in the Trinity River watershed for which there has been authorized some $32,000,000, of which there has been appropriated some $2,058,000 to carry on the work. It is my understanding that the flood control and the soil conservation work that is being carried on now is in something like 30 counties in the upper end of the watershed, and that the program stops at about the middle point of the stream just above the town of Palestine, in Anderson County. Is that generally a correct statement ?
Mr. WILL. Mr. Chairman, if it is agreeable to the committee I believe a question of that kind can best be answered by Mr. Dykes of the Soil Conservation Service.
The CHAIRMAN. He represents the Soil Conservation Service?
Mr. PICKETT. Very well; if I might I would like to ask Mr. Dykes to answer that question yes or no, and then I will ask you a question you can answer.
Mr. DYKES. That is correct.
Mr. PICKETT. What did the House allow and what did the Senate allow in the appropriation bill for this next fiscal year in reference to your
flood-control program? Do you have those figures, Mr. Will? Mr. WILL. We have those.
Mr. PICKETT. I mean, what did the House allow for the Department of Agriculture flood-control work, and what did the Senate committee allow?
Mr. WILL. The House allowed
Mr. WILL. That is for flood control; that is recommended for the works of improvement and survey phases.
Mr. PICKETT. And the Senate allowed how much?
Mr. WILL. The full amount of the budget, $10,000,000.
Mr. PICKETT. Then somewhere between the $8.975,000 and the $10,000,000 will be the figure that will eventually come out of the conference between the two committees in passing the bill.
Now in the House bill how much was allowed for flood-control survey and how much has the Senate allowed for flood-control survev!
Mr. WILL. In the Senate bill there is in round numbers 2.5 million dollars—about $2,400,000 for surveys.
Mr. PICKETT. Yes.
Mr. PICKETT. What does the House bill allow in total for flood control and survey?
Mr. Will. In round numbers the House allowed $1,400,000.
Mr. PICKETT. Then somewhere between $1,400,000 and $2,400,000 which the Senate has allowed will be the figure that will come out.
Mr. Will. For surveys.
Mr. PICKETT. Yes. Now, has there been any difference of opinion as to how the money should be spent for food control-survey, by your Department as the result of language that was inserted in the conference report on the bill for the current fiscal year?
Mr. Will. I am not sure I understand. You mean would there be a difference in the Department of Agriculture?
Mr. Pickett. Between your department and the Congress, or within the Department either, or both.
Mr. WILL. So far as I know we are quite clear on how the money should be spent for flood-control surveys. We have certain procedures set up, and certain methods of operation for getting the job done.
Mr. PICKETT. Yes. As I understand the effect of the conference report that was adopted by the two houses in dealing with flood-control survey, for the current fiscal year, the effect of it was that your department was not to spend any money allocated for any new surveys, but to complete surveys that were then in congress. Is that correct?
Mr. WILL. That is correct. It is our policy, however, to complete surveys that are in progress and not to interrupt our work on proposals that are already underway and not to undertake new work until re have the current work well in hand.
Mr. PICKETT. Yes; I can understand how that would be a sound policy, Mr. Will, and I think it ought to be followed insofar as it is necessary to make good operation, but now is there any difference of opinion between your department and the Congress on the effect of the language in that bill, and if so what is the difference?
Mr. Will Not to my knowledge, and if there is we would like to know of it.
Mr. PICKETT. Is there any difference of opinion within your department about how the money should be spent for flood-control surveys?
Mr. WiLL. No; I think we have worked that out, and it is well understood all the way around where we will spend the money. As a matter of fact, we are pretty well committed at the time of the appropriation hearings each year as to where this money will be spent. We take that position rather seriously, and even though it may not have the final effect of law we try to observe it just the same.
Mr. PICKETT. Getting right down to what I am directly interested in now: This committee last year passed a resolution directing your Department to make a survey of the lower part of the Trinity River at an estimated cost of about $88,000. The appropriation for that work for the next fiscal year, if allowed, would enable the Department to carry on the work. Now, with the amount of money that you asked for in the budget, if it is granted by the Congress, will you be able to initiate the work in the next fiscal year?
Mr. Will. In the next fiscal year, that is, in the fiscal year 1950, we intend to initiate the work if the amount asked for in the budget is secured, which would be the amount in the Senate bill.
Mr. PICKETT. With the amount allowed, of $1,400,000, that the House granted, and if the bill is passed in that form, would that permit you to initiate any work at all?
Mr. WILL. Well, Mr. Pickett, we would necessarily have to restrict our activities and under our existing policy we would continue existing surveys before we attempt new ones. There might be exceptional cases where because of the urgency of the situation it would be desirable to start new work even with the old. That would be an exception.
Mr. PICKETT. I would like to meet with you before final decision is made, because I think this is a very urgent project, especially in view of the fact that in the upper part of the river they are now engaged in carrying on a very fine program, the people in the lower half are anxious to get started, and if I might be permitted to do so, before you make a final determination I would like to appear before your group.
Mr. WILL. We would be glad to have you do so.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you have a copy of the report in connection with it?
Mr. PICKETT. Yes; I have the report.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee's communication with the Secretary of Agriculture, telling him that we would be glad to have any information he desires to submit with respect to additional reports, and asked him specifically about the Missouri Basin and his opinion, with the result that you have stated, that the matter is now before the budget. Of course, we cannot consider either at the moment. The committee has a letter from the Secretary of Agriculture dated May 25, 1949, and I am going to ask Mr. Phillips to read that into the record, if you will do so rather rapidly, because the committee is short of time this morning.
STATEMENT OF GEORGE R. PHILLIPS, OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
Mr. PHILLIPS. Mr. Chairman, I have copies of this letter from the Secretary for each member of the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
Washington, Jay 25, 1949. Hon. Will M. WHITTINGTON, Chairman, Committee on Public Works,
House of Representatives DEAR MR. WHITTINGTON : In connection with the hearings now being held by the House Committee on Public Works looking toward the preparation of an omnibus flood-control bill, we should like to call to your attention the monetary
authorization situation regarding the 11 watersheds for which improvement programs were approved by the Flood Control Act of December 22, 1944, as amended. It may be summarized as follows: Original estimated cost of approved programs.
$89, 624, 400 Present estimated cost of approved programs.
152, 094, 700 Total monetary authorization to date--
35, 000, 000 Estimated cost of work completed and planned (including work planned for fiscal year 1950).
19, 923, 500 Funds appropriated to date (including amount in appropriation bill for 1950)---
19, 923, 500 You will note that the estimated cost of the approved programs has increased from approximately $90,000,000, as of about 1940, to over $152,000,000 as of the first of 1949. These increased costs reflect the increased costs of construction work and of furnishing assistance to carry out the same programs. The proposed amendment to the presently approved Santa Ynez watershed program which we understand is being considered by the committee will, if approvel, increase the total estimated cost of that watershed program by $1,158,500 and this amount is included in the foregoing summarization under the item "Present estimated cost of approved programs.”
In view of the recent downward trend in costs and the attendant possibility that the final installation cost may be somewhat less than the amount of the current estimate, we recommend additional monetary authorization to this Department at this time in the amount of $95,000,000 in order that we may proceed with the preparation of work plans and the installation of works of improvement on these watersheds in accordance with their physical needs and with the active interest of local cooperators. To this end we request consideration of a section for inclusion in the bill essentially as follows:
"SECTION — That the sum authorized to be appropriated, for expenditure by the Department of Agriculture for the prosecution of the works of improvement authorized to be carried out by that Department by the Flood (ontrol Act of June 22, 1936, as amended and supplemented, is hereby increased by $95,000,000."
The Bureau of the Budget advises that there is no objection to the submission of this recommendation, Sincerely,
CHARLES F. BRANNAN, Secretary. The CHAIRMAN. The amount of $89,624,400 refers to the estimated cost of the 11 projects.
Mr. PHILLIPS. At the time the survey reports were made.
Mr. McCREGOR. You give the figure of December 1944. Do you have any idea what the cost might be for 1949 or 1950 ?
Mr. PHILLIPS. $152,000,000, plus.
Mr. McGREGOR. You figured the total estimated cost for 1944 at what?
Mr. PHILLIPS. $89,000,000.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me say this with all deference to whoever prepared the amendment that this committee would certainly want an amendment which would include the increased authorization for each one of the authorized projects, because under the terms of the amendment as suggested, with all deference to whoever prepared it, the money might be used on one project. That language would be entirely too general.
STATEMENT OF RALPH R. WILL-Resumed. The CHAIRMAN. Now Mr. Will, I think it is fair to say that we have before us no report now for any new authorization. The only thing we have before us is for the increased authorization for these
11 projects contained in this language which I will read, as follows:
Los Angeles River Basin, at an estimated cost to the United States of $8,380,000.
Before this committee could authorize an increase of funds it would be necessary for us to have the facts and figures to show how much would be the increase for Los Angeles. But assuming for the sake of argument that the cost is substantially double, then I would say to you that under this language as heretofore interpreted it would not be necessary to secure increased authorizations. In other words, it is only in cases where we increase authorization, if you follow my language, where the committee approves a project and authorizes a certain amount for the partial accomplishment of the project. But wherever the committee authorizes a project as the estimated cost of that project, and where the cost increases 100 percent, on account of the increase in cost of labor and material, then it would not be necessary to have an increase in the authorization.
So that under this language here, and we will consider at 10:30 this morning another matter, in which a representative from North Dakota will have others with him, concerning a project where the estimated cost was $130,000,000. The now estimated cost is between $188,000,000 and $200,000,000. We would not have to increase the authorization on that project. It is only in cases where there was a limitation on the amount to be appropriated that you would have to have, but we would not have to have an authorization for the increased cost. As regards the Missouri River Basin these gentlemen want to present some matters in connection with the Missouri River Basin, which I understand is a rather large program, and if the costs have been doubled it might be that we would have to have an increased authorization.
In the act of 1944 we approved these projects, and my recollection is, Mr. Will, that we authorized the amounts necessary to complete them in the language of the 1948 act. If that is not correct I will ask you to remind us of that before you leave.
That you very much. We will hear next from the Forest Service.
Mr. DONDERO. Mr. Will, who selects these rivers and watersheds for survey; the Congress or the Department of Agriculture ?
Mr. WILL. The Congress authorizes them on the recommendation of the Department.
Mr. DONDERO. Who determines what rivers or watersheds are to be surveyed and the money spent?
Mr. WILL. The Congress ultimately makes the decision.
Mr. DONDERO. And does the Department of Agriculture cover the irrigation and reclamation, flood control, forestry under all of these watershed examinations and surveys?
Mr. WILL. All of those factors might enter in, depending upon the individual circumstances.
The Department recommends whatever measures are necessary to retard water run-off and control erosion which results in sedimentation, and that involves the physical structures; it may involve irrigation practices in irrigation areas, range practices in the livestock-grazing area, the crop practices in farming areas, and so on; anything that contributes to good land use measures for the protection of the watershed.