Page images
PDF
EPUB

proved on June 12, 1948. Similar equities were involved in the said bill favorably passed by the Congress and approved by the President as stated on June 12, 1948. There was also passed in the Eightieth Congress on April 21, 1948, Private 259 in the same county. Moreover, the provisions of the bill are similar to those of H. R. 9943 introduced in the Seventy-sixth Congress on which a favorable report was made and which was enacted into law (54 Stat. 1385). The enactment of H. R. 4261 without amendment is unanimously recommended by the Committee on Public Lands.

AUTHORIZING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A FEDERAL

INTERAGENCY COMMITTEE ON RECREATION

Mar 16, 1949.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the Stato

of the Union and ordered to be printed

Mr. PETERSON, from the Committee on Public Lands, submitted the

following REPORT

(To accompany H. R. 892)

The Committee on Public Lands, to whom was referred the bid (H. R. 892) to authorize the establishment of a Federal Interagency Committee on Recreation, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.

The amendments are as follows:

Page 1, line 6, following the word "programs” insert the words “pertaining to public recreation”.

Page 1, line 7, delete the comma following the word “law” and insert the word "and”.

Page 1, line 7, delete the comma following the word “research”. Delete the words "and to” and all of line 8 and insert in lieu thereof the words "pertaining to those authorized programs”.

EXPLANATION OF THE BILL

The purpose of this bill is to grant specific statutory authorization for the establishment and functioning of a Federal Interagency Committee on Recreation.

Such a committee has existed unofficially since the fall of 1946 by mutual agreement of the various agencies concerned with public recreation functions. The present committee includes representatives from the Corps of Engineers of the Department of the Army, the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior, the Extension Service and the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture, the Office of Edueation and the Children's Bureau of the Federal Security Ageney, and the Public Housing Administration of the Housing and Home Finance

Agency

H. Repts., 81-1, vol. 372

All of the Departments concerned feel that the committee serves & useful purpose and believe that it should be given a legal status. Official recognition will enable the committee to request and obtain nominal funds for its continuing operation and even more effective action.

Certain clarifying amendments have been made by the committee.

At hearings held before the committee, representatives of the interested Departments testified that the bill should be enacted into law in order to promote a closer coordination of their respective programs, to permit the Departments to engage in joint recreational research, and to encourage the exchange and dissemination of information

Pertinent comments from the favorable report of the Department of the Interior are set forth below:

This Department recommends the enactment of H. R. 892.

Because of the many varied problems concerning public recreation which have come to our attention in connection with the exercise by this Department of functions dealing with public recreation, and because of the interest of certain other Federal agencies and departments in related problems, there was organized in the fall of 1946 by mutual agreement of the agencies concerned s Federal Interagency Committee on Recreation. The committee was organized under the sponsorship of the Secretary of the Interior. The committee has functioned well, and, we believe, serves a very useful prupose. However, it is desirable to give the committee a statutory basis in order that nominal funds for its continuing operation may be requested and obtained.

The present committee includes representatives from the Corps of Engineers of the Department of the Army, the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior, the Extension Service and the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture, the Office of Education and the Children's Bureau of the Federal Security Agency, and the Public Housing Administration of the Housing and Home Finance Agency. The committee serves as a clearinghouse for the exchange of information on policies, plans, methods, experiences, and procedures among the agencies; considers current agency problems and projects presented to it and recommends basic principles which might well be followed in these and similar projects and problems; and endeavors to facilitate the provision of information about the recreation activities of Federal agencies. The committee discusses the responsibilities of the Federal Government in the recreation field in an effort to discover existing gaps in Federal recreation programs and services. The member agencies of the committee cooperate in stimulating and assisting State agencies in the development of needed recreation facilities and services, in accordance with cooperative plans developed by the committee, so far as resources make this possible.

The Department of Agriculture reported as follows:

Two agencies within the Department of Agriculture, the Forest Service and the Extension Service, have for some 2 years been meeting with other agencies in Government on an informal basis to coordinate the recreational work being sponsored by each of them. Based on our experience to date, we feel that much good has come from this cooperative effort. It has improved the work of the established agencies and helps coordinate the recreational work done by the several agencies.

Since H. R. 892 would give congressional recognition to the committee, its passage should enhance the efforts of the several agencies working in the field of recreation to systematically coordinate their work.

The Department of Agriculture recommends that the bill be passed.

Practically no additional funds, if any, will be required as these functions are now being performed informally by personnel in the Departments involved.

The Committee on Public Lands unanimously recommends the enactment of H, R. 892.

O

PROVIDING FOR RETURN OF REHABILITATION AND

BETTERMENT OF COSTS OF FEDERAL RECLAMATION PROJECTS

Mar 16, 1949.—Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State

of the Union and ordered to be printed

Mr. Regan, from the Committee on Public Lands, submitted the

following

REPORT

[To accompany H. R. 1694)

The Committee on Public Lands, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 1694) to provide for the return of rehabilitation and betterment of costs of Federal reclamation projects, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.

The amendments are as follows:

Page 2, line 1, strike out the word "may" and insert in lieu thereof the words "shall, to the fullest practicable extent,”.

Page 2, line 1, strike out the words "in whole or in part".

Page 2, line 11, add the following sentence: Such rehabilitation and betterment work may be performed by contract, by force-account, or, notwithstanding any other law and subject only to such reasonable terms and conditions as the Secretary of the Interior shall deem appropriate for the protection of the United States, by contract entered into with the organization concerned whereby such organization shall perform such work.

EXPLANATION OF THE BILL

The purpose of this bill is to permit the repayment of rehabilitation and betterment costs of Federal reclamation projects to be scheduled in accordance with the repayment ability of the water users.

H. R. 1694 would not authorize any work on reclamation projects since the performance of necessary maintenance is already authorized by law. It merely authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to make the necessary repayment arrangements with the water users.

This legislation is needed to relieve an emergency situation existing on many of the older reclamation projects. Deferred maintenance

work has accumulated because of the economic depression preceding World War II and because of the scarcity of material and labor during and immediately following World War II. Therefore, many reclamation project facilities have deteriorated rapidly in recent years. Also, engineering techniques have improved in recent years and extensive rehabilitation work is needed.

The expense of major rehabilitation and betterment work is often beyond the immediate repayment ability of the water users. This bill will permit the Secretary of the Interior to extend the time within which repayment can be made.

Clarifying amendments recommended by the Department of the Interior have been adopted by the committee. Pertinent comments from the Department's favorable report are as follows:

Subject to the minor amendments hereinafter suggested being made, we recommend the enactment of legislation along the lines of H. R. 1694.

Primarily because of labor and material shortages immediately prior to and during World War II, many items of irrigation project maintenance were of necessity deferred. Immediately after the war, a portion of the funds appropriated to the Bureau of Reclamation for general investigations was used for a survey of all existing Bureau projects in order to determine, with estimates of costs, the work necessary to place each project in first-class operating condition. The high level of present-day farm commodity prices and the favorable financial condition of some water users' organizations have enabled some organizations to finance a portion of the necessary rehabilitation and betterment work through increased assessments for operation and maintenance. There are many cases, however, where this has not been possible where the work contemplated includes major repairs which, if included in the annual operation and maintenance assessments, would result in charges beyond the repayment ability of the water users.

The enactment of legislation along the lines of the enclosed draft is not required to authorize the rehabilitation and betterment work in question, since that work is already authorized by law. It is required only to permit, in those cases where current financing of the necessary rehabilitation work is beyond the means of the irrigation water users, the deferral of payment therefor to the extent necessary. In other words, it would permit the repayment of those rehabilitation and betterment costs to be scheduled in accordance with the repayment ability of the water users.

The following amendments are suggested for the consideration of the committee:

(1) In line 1 on page 2 of the bill strike the word "may"; substitute "shall, to the fullest practicable extent,”.

(2) In line 1 on page 2 of the bill delete: "in whole or in part".

(3) In line 11 on page 2 after the period following the citation of the Reclametion Project Act of 1939, insert the following: "Such rehabilitation and betterment work may be performed by contract, by force-account, or, notwithstanding any other law and subject only to such reasonable terms and conditions as the Secretary of the Interior shall deem appropriate for the protection of the United States, by contract entered into with the organization concerned whereby such organization shall perform such work."

The amendments suggested above were worked out in conference with the legislative committee of the National Reclamation Association with which this proposed legislation was discussed. The first two amendments are designed to implement à policy of collecting these rehabilitation and betterment costs as soon as practicable. The last amendment is designed to authorize suitable arrangements between the Government and the irrigation district and other water users' organizations where those districts or organizations have staff and machin. ery or other practical means of accomplishing the required work and where it would seem to be more economic to have them do the work or arrange for its performance.

The Committee on Public Lands unanimously recommend the enactment of this legislation.

O

« PreviousContinue »