« PreviousContinue »
Representative RANKIN. They have just brought in one well of a thousand barrels a day. That is the largest well that has ever been brought in east of the Mississippi River.
Colonel FERINGA. The latest estimated reserves, according to the American Petroleum Institute, are 209,011,000 barrels in Mississippi and 317,000 barrels in Alabama. In 1944 Mississippi produced i6,337,000 barrels and Alabama 43,000 barrels of crude oil.
Local interests desire the construction of a waterway connecting the Tombigbee and the Tennessee River. They claim that the growth of industry in the Mobile and Birmingham districts and the favorable prospect for much greater development justify the need for water transportation.
Other benefits claimed for the waterway were that it would shorten the distance by water from the Tennessee Valley to the Gulf of Mexico, thereby lowering transportation charges; that it would offer an alternate slack-water route for northbound Mississippi River traffic destined to points upstream from Cairo and Paducah on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers; that it would be an asset for national defense in that it would give additional access by water to the interior of the country. That was the claim made by local interests, and although in our previous reports the national defense value was given some consideration, in this report we have carefully stayed away from making any evaluation of that, feeling that it was somewhat imponderable. We have dealt in this report only with ponderables.
Senator OVERTON. Do you have any recreation included ?
Colonel FERINGA. No, sir; not in this report. We realize that it will give recreational benefits, but we do not evaluate them in dollars and cents.
Senator OVERTON. It does not enter into the factor of economic justification
Colonel FERINGA. Not in this report.
Senator BILBO. Colonel, since the construction of the Oak Ridge atomic plant, wouldn't national defense be a justifiable item?
Colonel FERINGA. Senator Bilbo, I believe waterway traffic is a great asset to national defense. I believe, for instance, if this crossFlorida waterway had been built prior to the last war we would have saved untold damage. I believe this inland waterway will be a great factor toward future national defense, but we have not evaluated it in dollars and cents. We do not take cognizance of it as such in this report.
Representative RANKIN. Mr. Chairman, may I ask the colonel, isn't it a fact that this has put the Oak Ridge project, which covers 70 square miles—that is the atomic-bomb plant-put it 807 miles closer to the Gulf of Mexico by water?
Colonel FERINGA. Yes, sir; absolutely.
Senator OVERTON. I don't like to take you from the thread of your thought, but I would like right now, because I have to leave in a few minutes and I may not be here when you explain it, the counteraction between the Tennessee and the Tombigbee. I have heard statements made that this is an effort to move water up
hill? Colonle FERINGA. No, sir.
Senator OVERTON. Well, I want that explained for the record, anyway.
Colonel FERINGA. Let me go to this map a minute, may I, Mr. Chairman?
Senator OVERTON. All right.
Colonel FERINGA. The Tennessee Valley, as you know, has been developed according to our basic three-way plan by the Tennessee Valley Authority. There is now at Pickwick a pool formed by a dam at this location. It has a normal water elevation of 413 feet. That water is there constantly,
Now, from that elevation the water will flow into the navigation pools of the Tombigbee waterway.
Senator OVERTON. That will come down Yellow Creek?
Colonel FERINGA. It will go down the Tombigbee by gravity, natural flow. There will be no pumps. It will be just the normal gravity flow of water from a high point of 413 feet to a lower point. I have asked the TVA
Senator OVERTON. Water is not being backed up the Tennessee River-I mean it is not being backed up the Tombigbee River to connect with the Tennessee River?
Colonel FERINGA. No, sir. It will not be pumped up from the Tombigbee into the Tennessee. It will flow down by gravity from the Pickwick pool down to the Tombigbee River. We were a little concerned what the attitude of the TVĂ might be toward taking that much water, I have forgotten the number of cubic feet per second.
Senator ÖVERTON. They gave their consent over a year ago.
Colonel FERINGA. Yes, sir; but we wanted to be sure they still gave their consent. They have given their consent in their letter which is in the report. They state that they realize the value of water for power, but they believe it will be more valuable for this waterway and therefore they endorse the project.
Senator OVERTON. Does this project deprive the Tennessee Valley of water necessary for generating electricity?
Colonel FERINGA. It will take some water but they are glad to offer that water because they feel the water will do more good on the Tombigbee connection than it would be for making power and that statement is made in the report, sir.
Senator BILBO. This story about water going up hill, that originated before the Pickwick Dam was built? .
Colonel FERINGA. I think you are right, Senator Bilbo, before the
Senator BILBO. This project has been under consideration for 50 years.
Senator OVERTON. You hear on all sides that this is an effort to make water run up hill. There is no where in the project that water runs up
hill? Colonel FERINGA. That is correct, sir. Neither by mechanical nor any
other means. Senator BILBO. That is just the railroads' statement.
Senator ROBERTSON. Out in the West where many of our districts are irrigated the water seems to be running up hill and we tell easterners that it is a water magnet that makes it do that. [Laughter.]
Senator OVERTON. You may proceed, Colonel. I have to leave now and Senator Bilbo will take charge.
Colonel FERINGA. The plan of improvement investigated for connecting the Tombigbee and Tennessee Rivers may be divided into
three sections, the river section, 180 miles in length; the canal section, 41 miles in length; and the divide section, 39 miles in length. I will point them out on the map in just a few minutes. There will be 18 socks. They will be standard size, 110 feet wide and 600 feet long with a depth of 13 feet.
The Board has given careful consideration to the facts revealed by surveys and public hearings relative to the cost of providing an adequate connecting channel through the territory to be traversed, and to the volume of tonnage physically and economically adapted to advantageous movement via the improvement. The Board is of the opinion that the construction of the proposed waterway is feasible from a structural viewpoint, and that the benefits which would accrue would be national in scope and character and of sufficient magnitude to warrant the undertaking of the project by the United States.
The Board therefore recommends that the United States undertake the construction of a waterway to connect the Tombigbee and Tennessee Rivers by way of the East Fork of the Tombigbee River, Mackeys Creek, and Yellow Creek, so as to provide a channel of not less than 9 feet in depth and a minimum bottom width of 170 feet.
Mr. Chairman, although we recommend a depth of 9 feet, a minimum depth, we realize that we frequently underestimate the depth that will be required eventually, so therefore although we will construct this waterway, if it is authorized, at 9 feet, the locks which will be the most expensive feature will be constructed to 13 feet right now, so that in the future should the traffic warrant, as I confidently expect, the waterway can be enlarged to the standard Gulf Intracoastal waterway depth of 12 feet without having to rip out the present locks—I mean the locks to be built-and incurring that extra expense. Similarly, in the divide section where the dredging will be somewhat more costly than the river section, the depth will be 13 feet. The waterway will have a minimum bottom width of 170 feet in the river and canal sections and 150 feet in the divide cut.
The Chief of Engineers concurs in the recommendations of the Board and Mr. Rankin-not that your statement needs substantiation—the Chief of Engineers makes no ifs, ands, or buts, about it, he is wholeheartedly in favor of it.
The improvement is recommended subject to the conditions that the local interests give assurances satisfactory to the Secretary of War that they will make and maintain at their expense the alterations as required in highways and highway bridges and in sewer, water supply, and drainage facilities; provide and maintain at their expense and as required suitable and adequate river and canal terminals in accordance with plans approved by the Secretary of War and the Chief of Engineers.
The cost to the United States for new work is $116,941,000. The annual cost, including amortization, interest, maintenance, and operation, will be $5,101,000.
Senator Bilbo. You mean they amortize the $116,000,000 ?
Colonel FERINGA. Including interest. We include interest during construction.
Senator BILBO. All right.
Colonel FERINGA. We find the benefits to be $6,251,000, giving a ratio of cost to benefit of 1 to 1.05.
I want to bring out one point that my good friend Mr. Prince or his associate brought out when we appeared before the House committee—a point that there was an error in our report. We used in table 31, page 38, the word “rice.” That should be corn. The item of 85,000 tons of south-bound rice shown in table 31, page 38, House Document 486, should read “corn." The error slid by when we were preparing the copy for the printer. Rice is included in all other items. Needless to say, I fussed considerable at the man responsible for the error.
I would like to go over the project just briefly, Mr. Chairman. The statement was made that there was not sufficient water in the Tombigbee River to substantiate this project. I went over the project site myself, I think in January, and the river was then in such flood that I didn't want to take pictures. I am not a very good photographer anyway and the flood condition of the river would give an unreal picture. I asked the district engineer to have some pitcures taken along the site of the work. Although the river was high, these are the actual photographs made this spring and I would like to submit them, (handing photographs to Senator Bilbo, presiding].
Representative RANKIN. Originally steamboats went up the Tombigbee to then about 27 miles of the Tennessee; did they not? Colonel FERINGA. That is right.
Representative RANKIN. Even if there was a scarcity of water in the Tombigbee the connection with the Tennessee River would supply the deficit ?
Colonel FERINGA. That is right, Mr. Rankin. I am convinced, but I am anxious to pass my conviction on to some people who might not be, hence I had these pictures taken. They were also given to the Rivers and Harbors Committee of the House.
If I may sum up briefly, the Tennessee River has been improved, the normal elevation of the Pickwick pool being 413 feet. The divide cut, a comparatively long cut, will be 39 miles long through fairly soft material.
The first lock and dam will be about 43 miles below or south of the Pickwick pool. The normal water elevation of Pickwick pool will be maintained and ample water is available. From there the waterway steps down by a series of locks into a lateral canal along the East Fork of the Tombigbee. It will be easier to dig a lateral canal through this valley because it has soft soil.
Leavirg the lateral canal the waterway goes through the river section for a distance of 180 miles to Demopolis. Demopolis is on the presently authorized Warrior River system which is now in operation between Port Birmingham and Mobile. The Demopolis lock, which is the lower one shown here in red, has been authorized by the last River and Harbor Act and will back up water to the Gainsville lock and dam which is the first of those proposed. I have tried to summarize the project in a nutshell, Mr. Chairman, and I stand ready to answer any questions.
Senator BILBO. We thank you. Are there any questions?
STATEMENT OF GREGORY S. PRINCE, ASSISTANT GENERAL SOLICI
TOR, ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS
Senator BILBO. Kindly give your name and the railroad which you represent.
Mr. PRINCE. My name, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, is Gregory S. Prince. I am assistant general solicitor of the Association of American Railroads. I speak on behalf of the members of that association, and particularly on behalf of the carriers in the southeastern section which are particularly and directly affected by this project should it be approved.
I appeared before the House Committee on Rivers and Harbors, and in the interest of trying to conserve time I am going to try to avoid as much as possible a repetition of the testimony which I gave there. We have obtained quite a bit of new data which we expect to put in the record at this hearing, and I would like, first, to go over briefly some of the matters which I spoke of there.
The first question which I would like to deal with is really a question of policy which relates not only to this project but to all water projects, but it is particularly appropriate in connection with this one.
As you well know, Congress passed in 1940 the Transportation Act, and in that act Congress announced its transportation policy. That policy was stated to be to provide for fair and impartial regulation of all modes of transportation subject to the provisions of this act, so administered as to recognize nd preserve the inherent advantages of each.
Now, skipping part of the language, because I am certain you are familiar with it* * *
all to the end of developing, coordinating, and preserving a national transportation system by water, highway, and rail, as well as other means, adequate to meet the needs of the commerce of the United States, of the Postal Service, and of the national defense.
The agency of Congress which has delegated to it the duty of effectuating this policy is the Interstate Commerce Commission. It seems to me that, if the Interstate Commerce Commission is to carry out that policy when a question comes before Congress which directly affects the carrying out of that policy, they should be consulted about it. If they are not, it seems to me that they are not in a position to carry out that policy.
Senator Bilbo. In other words, you want us to go to the Interstate Commerce Commission and get a certificate of convenience and necessity? Is that what you are talking about?
Mr. PRINCE. In effect; yes. It is slightly different from that. I made a concrete suggestion as to the points on which I think it would be wise if Congress obtained the views of the Commission. It seems to me that, if you had a waterway system such as has been described here, you could not help but affect the transportation system of the country which is already serving that area.
I do not care about putting them into the record, but I have here some maps showing the principal lines of railroads serving that area. In addition to those railroad lines the Board of Engineers stated that there is a system of hard-surfaced roads which connect the principal centers of the region and good improved roads interlace the entire