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Senator METCALF. That is correct. It would seem to me that with modern technological relays and transformers and so forth, and with regional systems, under such a bill as this a regional system would be stronger than any local system.
Senator MONRONEY. Yes. Thank you very much. We appreciate your appearing here.
The CHAIRMAN. Is the situation as you have related it, as to TVA, similar to the Bonneville?
Senator METCALF. Bonneville would be another admirable example. The CHAIRMAN. Of regional interconnections?
Senator METCALF. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Of private PUDs, municipals, and the Federal generating units?
Senator METCALF. Up in the Bonneville system, we have all kinds of power suppliers, and they necessarily would all have to be included. We would have to have the Federal Government of course, because of the ownership of most of the hydro.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Metcalf, there has been some suggestionsand I have heard it several times in different places, very informallythat all of the people involved in this matter, private, the Power Commission, Bonneville, TVA, all of the rest of them, establish some kind of a research laboratory on interconnection matters, and transmission of power. Have you heard anything about that?
Senator METCALF. Yes; and I think it would be an admirable thing. The CHAIRMAN. We don't have one I know of. Each of them now do their own research.
Senator METCALF. We have done outstanding research in our Federal agencies, both at Bonneville and TVA. And the investor-owned utilities have a research group that has contributed a great deal to the advancement of the technology. But I think a commission such as you suggest would be almost as valuable as the kind of integration that is suggested in the bill here.
The CHAIRMAN. What would be found out would be available to everybody, to make the transmission of electric power better.
Senator METCALF. Certainly. If one of the investor-owned utilities found out something we could put it into operation at Bonneville.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. All right, if there are no further questions, we thank you, Senator.
The Senator from Maryland, Senator Tydings, is here and he introduced one of the bills, S. 2227. We will be glad to hear from you, Senator.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOSEPH D. TYDINGS, U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF MARYLAND
Senator TYDINGS. That is correct, Mr. Chairman. I appear this morning to testify in favor of effective Federal legislation to protect places of national significance from defacement by electric power transmission lines. I have introduced one of the bills, S. 2227, upon which this committee is holding hearings this morning and have cosponsored three others-S. 1834, S. 1835, and S. 1934. All of these bills seek to assure the preservation of areas of national significance from unnecessary scarring by powerline construction. S. 1834, S. 1835,
and S. 1934 all vest the conservation responsibility in the Federal Power Commission.
These three bills have as their major purpose, however, the assurance of an adequate power supply. Conservation is a secondary and not always clearly stated purpose.
My bill, S. 2227, which Congressman Reuss has introduced in the House, is more specific in its conservation purpose.
Mr. Chairman, I hope that whatever bill this committee reports contains a strong, effective guarantee of the public interest in preserving the natural state of our national parks, battlefields, monuments, and landmarks. Such a guarantee need not preempt the State interest and authority in safeguarding the interests of its own citizenry. But a guarantee for the public interest is essential.
At the present time nothing prevents a public utility in many States, including my own, from ravaging the beauty of, our national parks and historic sites with electric transmission towers. In my own State of Maryland, for example, power companies unfortunately, almost inconceivably to me, have a blanket power of condemnation for their powerline rights-of-way, without review by Federal, State, or local authorities. This is an intolerable situation which our State legislature hopefully will rectify next year. In the meantime though, we have a great monument, the battlefield of Antietam, which needs protection. The Potomac Edison Power Co., which is not a Maryland company but is controlled by a holding company out of New York, which has no interest in Maryland, and has no clear interests in protecting the beauty of the Antietam battlefield, is planning to build a series of huge transmission towers adjacent to the historic Civil War battlefield of Antietam in Washington County as part of a 150-milelong, 500,000-volt power transmission line which will pass through Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia.
I don't know if any of you gentlemen have been to Antietam, but unlike Gettysburg, it is the same as it was 100 years ago. You can still see Bloody Lane. You can still see where Jeb Stuart moved his horse cavalry and artillery up along a ridge and fired down in the cornfield, where, as they say, men fell like rows of corn. It is a magnificent area. It is just beautiful. It has been protected. And if General Lee were alive today, he would have no trouble locating his first northern invasion route. Unfortunately, if this transmission lines goes through, it will be highlighted by massive steel girders and electric powerlines on towers 11 stories high within a mile of the battlefield. The desecration of this historic landmark will be a national tragedy. Thirteen thousand men fell in that battlefield, gentlemen, in 12 hours. That is one of the battlefields where truly brothers fell against brothers, because boys from Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia in the same family were on opposite sides of that fight.
There were two future Presidents of the United States who fought in that battlefield. One was wounded.
I have spoken out frequently against Potomac Edison's plan. So have the local citizens groups, the county commissioners of Washington County, the Washington County Planning and Zoning Commission, and the Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall. Yet while Potomac Edison blithely goes ahead and files condemnation suits, the State can do nothing, Washington County can do nothing, Sharpsburg can do
nothing. No one has any power to stop them. I do not know how many other States are in the same position as Maryland, but this situation cannot be allowed to continue.
I am hoping that my own State legislature will enact laws next year to correct this situation. I understand that Maryland's Public Service Commission is now drafting such a bill for the submission to the next session of our general assembly. But whether or not such State laws are enacted, a Federal law complementing, not preempting State jurisdiction, should be enacted to prevent power companies from defacing our national parks, national forests, and national historic landmarks. After all, the taxpayers of the United States put up the money to preserve these great national monuments. They have a right to see them preserved.
My bill, S. 2227, would rectify this intolerable situation. Public utilities would be prohibited from constructing power facilities adjacent to land which has been determined by the Secretary of the Interior to have a national, historic, recreational, or scenic value to the people of the United States, unless the Secretary of the Interior determined that such construction is consistent with the national interest. The Secretary would be required to hold hearings prior to his decision, at which all interested parties would have the opportunity to testify.
As I understand their provisions, neither S. 1834, S. 1835, nor S. 1934 would protect the public interest in conservation as clearly as would S. 2227. I realize that the primary purpose of these other bills is to deal with the issue of power supply itself. Nonetheless, events of this summer in my own State clearly demonstrate the need for effective public protection of many areas of national significance where powerlines can now be built without regard to the public interest.
I urge this committee to include provisions for such effective public oversight in any bill it reports.
A nation which neglects its natural beauty and its national heritage bequeaths a sterile estate to its future generations. I don't know the laws of the States which you gentlemen represent, but if they are the same as my State, I am sure there are monuments or forests or parks in your own areas which some day might be threatened in the manner that Antietam is being threatened today.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator, for that statement and that very potent illustration of what can happen.
I would think this committee would look with favor-I am speaking only of myself-on taking the major portions of your bill and relating them to S. 1934 as an amendment or separate section to deal with this, once we get the other matters resolved. I am sure the committee would think that would be worthwhile doing.
Senator MONRONEY. Thank you, Senator Tydings, for calling our attention to this gap in the law protecting our historic sites. I wondered, in such a bill-certainly there would be no risk with the present Secretary of the Interior, as dedicated as he is to conservation. But we don't know who the following Secretaries of the Interior might be. We have had some good and some very bad ones. Since the Secretary of the Interior, I believe would be the controlling officer of all public powerlines, I wonder if it would be wise to put the private power people under the power of the Secretary of the Interior for
prohibiting invasion of these areas, since the areas might be permitted to be invaded by public powerlines.
Most of our Federal power authority, I think, is under the Secretary of the Interior.
Senator TYDINGS. You are getting into an area in which I do not have a great deal of expertise. As I indicated, my primary concern here is with the conservation of national parks, forests, and monu
My bill is identical with Congressman Renss'. We felt the power should lie with the Secretary of the Interior. However, I do not have any strong feeling that way. The chairman and the committee have a great deal more experience in this field, than I. To repeat, I am concerned in the main with the protection of our national heritage.
Senator MONRONEY. Any modification which would still vest the right in a government agency to prohibit the desecration of our historic sites would be consistent with this bill, however best it could be done?
Senator TYDINGS. That is right.
Senator MONRONEY. I have no fear of the present Secretary of the Interior, but they do change as time goes on.
Senator TYDINGS. Of course my bill provides for public hearing and the right of appeal for any arbitrary or capricious decision of the Secretary, just as you have under the Federal Power Commission.
Senator MONRONEY. I feel it would be a point that a lot could be made of, if the Secretary's decision prohibited private companies or lines from going into one area, and perhaps failed to prohibit a public line which might be considered to be destructive of scenic beauty or something to go into another State simply because it was not a private company. I think it would be better to put both private and public under the same jurisdiction and then an impartial decision could be made.
Senator TYDINGS. I wouldn't want to get into the middle of a publicprivate power dispute.
The CHAIRMAN. But you want the authority to lie somewhere?
The CHAIRMAN. So someone can pass on it. I can think of a lot of people I would like to have pass on this and a lot of people I wouldn't. I am just thinking out loud now, but it might be the Federal Power Commission, which is a rotating body, as it were, although I hate to put them in the middle of this too, because if there is anything that causes controversy, it is the value of a national park. No one knows it better than the Senator from the State of Washington. But any way, I think we understand what you are trying to say.
Senator Moss. I appreciate the statement of the Senator from Maryland. And I think I understand the objective and I agree with that. Perhaps additional language might have to be worked out as to just how the standard would be applied.
As I understand in the case of Antietam, these towers do not go through the battlefield itself, but they are adjacent to it, and they are so high
Senator TYDINGS. Eleven stories; that is right.
Senator TYDINGS. Yes, and the position of the power company is that it would be more expensive to run it on an alternative route. Of course, since they have the absolute power of eminent domain, the Governor of the State can do nothing, the board of county commissioners can do nothing, the planning and zoning commission can do nothing, the Secretary of the Interior can do nothing. In short, everyone is helpless. Potomac Edison makes a decision and that is it.
Senator Moss. If this had been a smaller line, however, with lower towers, it might very well have gone on this route and not caused damage to the scenery?
Senator TYDINGS. That is right. It is a question of the construction of the line, the design. I am not an engineer and I am not expert in all phases of this. But I understand that there are economic factors which the power company and the holding companies which control it feel are persuasive here.
Senator Moss. But the point of your bill is there will be this intrusion on the historic sites and that there should be a way to regulate it so that the intrusion would not be made?
Senator TYDINGS. That is right. Where we have preserved the battlefield and the surrounding farms, the taxpayers of the United States have contributed funds and every State whose men died in that battlefield has a monument there, there should be some way to protect the area from intrusion by public utilities.
You might be interested to know that Hood's brigade from Texas lost 90 percent of the men in his division in 1 hour and a half, 90 percent casualties, fighting at Antietam. It was perhaps one of the turning points of the Civil War. Had Lee been able to continue his marchthis was his first invasion of the North so to speak-he would have been able to get supplies and produce and he would have thrown Washington into a panic, because he would have been able to flank the Capital. It was one of the decisive battles of the war.
The CHAIRMAN. We have some southerners on this committee but they are not here this morning. We could have a very interesting dis
Senator PEARSON. Senator, I am with you, I am a carpetbagger, I lived in Virginia much of my life and moved to Kansas about 1950. Is Antietam a Federal park?
Senator TYDINGS. That is right, it is a national battlefield. Seator PEARSON. Is the condemnation under the Maryland State law?
Senator TYDINGS. Yes: the Maryland Legislature years ago passed legislation which gave the power companies the power of eminent domain. The wisdom of this legislation was questionable then and I hope the legislature recognizes the situation next year and remedies it. I feel reasonably certain that they will. But I know there are other States in the same situation as Maryland. You know the history of the State legislatures during the latter part of the 19th and 20th centuries. Specialists, particularly power companies, dominated them.
Senator PEARSON. Usually under those powers of eminent domain, if you go to court, about the only thing the court will make a determination on is whether or not the power of eminent domain is used for the purpose for which the utility or the agency was created.
Senator TYDINGS. That is right.