« PreviousContinue »
I also submit for the record a report by the Honorable Leland Olds, Chairman of the Federal Power Commission, with reference to the pending bill [reading]: REPORT OF FEDERAL POWER COMMISSION ON H. R. 4485, A BILL AUTHORIZING THE
CONSTRUCTION OF CERTAIN PUBLIC WORKS ON RIVERS AND HARBORS FOR FLOOD CONTROL, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
Enactment of H. R. 4485 will provide congressional authorization for muchneeded public works for the improvement of navigation, flood control, and for related purposes. This, with the preliminary examinations and surveys directed by the bill, will clear the way for construction of the projects as soon as war conditions permit and a post-war program of construction can be gotten under way.
The bill, in section 7, contains a provision for the installation of penstocks and other similar facilities adapted to possible future use in the development of hydroelectric power when approved by the Secretary of War on the recommendation of the chief of engineers and the Federal Power Commission. A similar provision has been inserted in recent flood-control acts.
Section 9 of the bill contains an additional authorization of $1,500,000 for examinations and surveys by the Federal Power Commission provided for in the bill or in any acts of Congress. This is similar to the authorization in section 9 of the 1938 Flood Control Act.
The first section of the bill, which places Federal investigations and improvements of rivers and other waterways for flood control and allied purposes hereafter under the War Department, and Federal investigations of watersheds and measures for run-off and water-flow retardation and soil-erosion prevention on watersheds under the Department of Agriculture, excepts those cases where other provision is made by act of Congress. This exception protects the jurisdiction of the Federal Power Commission as to these matters. However, to preclude any possibility of misunderstanding as to the effect of the bill upon the Commission's jurisdiction in other respects it is recommended that a proviso be added to the bill that nothing therein shall be construed to limit the authority and functions of the Federal Power Commission as provided by acts of Congress.
It is also recommended that the bill be amended to make the provisions of section 10 (f) of the Federal Power Act relative to the assessment of headwater benefits by the Commission apply to the projects covered by the bill.
With these recommended amendments, the Commission reports favorably on H. R. 4485.
FEDERAL POWER COMMISSION,
By LELAND OLDS, Chairman. MAY 27, 1944.
I also submit for the record a letter from Paul H. Appleby, Acting Director, Bureau of the Budget, addressed to the Secretary of War, with reference to the pending bill [reading]:
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
BUREAU OF THE BUDGET,
Washington, D. C., May 20, 1944. The Honorable the SECRETARY OF WAR
(Through the budget officer for the War Department). MY DEAR MR. SECRETARY: I have received your letter of May 15 in response to my request of April 27 for your comments on amendments proposed by the Secretary of the Interior to the bill (H. R. 4485) authorizing the construction of certain public works on rivers and harbors for flood control, and for other purposes.
Your expression of views is appreciated, and there is enclosed for your information a copy of my letter of this date in reply to the Secretary of the Interior. There is also enclosed for your information a copy of my letter of April 27 to the chairman, Committee on Flood Control, House of Representatives. Very truly yours,
PAUL H. APPLEBY, Acting Director.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
BUREAU OF THE BUDGET,
Washington, D. C., May 20, 1944. The Honorable the SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.
MY DEAR MR. SECRETARY: I have your letter of April 10 and 21 in reference to the pending flood-control bill, H. R. 4485, and those of March 15 and May 3 in reference to the river and harbor bill, H. R. 3961. Sir the interest of the Interior Department in the two bills is pretty much the same and is pointed up in the proposed amendments to the flood-control bill, enclosed with your letter of April 21, I am considering all four letters together,
In my letter of April 15 to Chairman Mansfield of the Committee on Rivers and Harbors, House of Representatives, copy of which was sent to Senator Bailey, chairman of the Committee on Commerce, United States Senate, I suggested the omission from river and harbor law of the section which would remove the application of excess-land limitation provisions of reclamation law as to the Central Valley of California. I am not convinced that the limitation on the size of holdings, which has been set by Congress in the reclamation laws, should be invariably enforced under all circunstances. However, as I have already said, I think the issue should be considered by the committees dealing with reclamation and irrigation matters and should be excluded from river and harbor legislation.
You have proposed an amendment to section 3 (a) of the flood-control bill which would give the National Park Service certain jurisdiction over dam and reservoir areas under the control of the War Department. Enactment of the proposed amendment might lead to conflicts, in that two agencies, the National Park Service and the Corps of Engineers, would have jurisdiction over the same areas for different purposes. Under existing law moreover, the services of the Interior Department can be utilized by the War Department in connection with the development of the areas in question for public park, recreational, or fish and wildlife purposes. For these reasons, the proposed amendment should not be considered to be in accord with the President's program.
You have proposed as section 3 (b) to the flood control bill essentially the same provision as to the disposal of electric power and energy generated at projects under control of the War Department as you set forth in your proposed report to the Senate ('ommerce Committee on the river and harbor bill. The President has approved the general purpose of the amendment. It can therefore be considered as not in conflict with his program to amend either or both the river and harbor and flood control bills by the addition of language which would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to dispose of electric power and energy generated at dam and reservoir projects under the control of the War Department and not required in their operation. Any such amendatory language, however, should not, it seems to me, provide for the elimination of the Federal Power Commission activities in connection with such projects or for the duplication of the Commission's functions by the Interior Department. Likewise, language which could be interpreted to make one department subservient to another and at the same time eliminate budgetary control should not be considered to have the President's approval. In this connection, I think that the third sentence in the draft of section 3 (b), enclosed with your letter of April 21, might well be revised to read:
"At dam and reservoir projects under the control of the War Department which, in the opinion of the Secretary of War, upon the recommendation of the Chief of Engineers and the Federal Power Commission, are suitable for the production of electric power and energy, the Secretary of War is authorized, with funds specifically appropriated therefor, to provide, construct, operate, maintain, and improve such structures, machinery, equipment, facilities, and supplies as the Secretary of the Interior may deem necessary to develop power and energy for existing and potential markets and for the proper reception, handling, and dispatch of electric power and energy; and operations of all such machinery and facilities shall be scheduled in accordance with the requirements of the Secretary of the Interior so far as consistent with requirements for the use or control of water for the other purposes of said projects as may be determined by the Secretary of War."
In connection with your proposed amendments to sections 4 and 6 of the flood-control bill, I note that the House of Representatives has, since you wrote, amended section 6 by the insertion of the words "under existing reclamation law" to define the regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior in connection with the use of storage for irrigation at War Department dam and reservoir projects. It would seem to me that this change would give the Department of the Interior all the authority necessary. Since this section in the flood-control bill would apply to any dam and reservoir under War Department control, the prorision of similar authority in the river and harbor bill, as you have recommended, would not be necessary. As with the question of disposal of electric power, the President has given his approval to the enactment of legislation which would make the Secretary of the Interior responsible for the regulation of irrigation storage and the disposal of irrigation water from multiple-purpose projects built under authority of river and harbor and floodcontrol law.
You also propose provisos relevant to the Missouri River Basin projects included in both bills. In my letter of February 16 to the Secretary of War, copy of which was sent you and which is included in House Document 475, I pointed out that I had taken the proposed report up with the President, that the authorization of the improvements recommended therein by the Chief of Engineers would not be in accord with the program of the President, at least at the present, and that further advice as to the relationship to the program of the President of the improvements considered therein would be given after the review and consideration in the Bureau of the Budget of, among other data, your report which was received on May 1. The reports of the two agencies are still under review in this office and I can give you no further advice at this time. Of course, in the drafting of any proviso consideration must be given to the views of the President as expressed in his veto message of April 2, 1942, to the Republican River compact bill, and any such proviso should not serve to diminish any of the rights and responsibilities which the United States now has in the use and control of the waters of the basin.
You have also recommended the elimination from the flood-control bill of the projects for the Kern, Kings, and lower San Joaquin Rivers which would be adopted in accordance with the recommendations of the Chief of Engineers contained in House Document 513, Seventy-eighth Congress; House Document 630, Seventy-sixth Congress; and Flood Control Committee Document 2, Seventyeighth Congress. The views of the President as to the proposed works in the Central Valley of California have been adequately expressed in his letters on the subject, particularly that of March 7, to Representative Whittington, chairman of the Flood Control Committee, House of Representatives.
While, of course, you may make such report to the committees concerned as you would deem appropriate, my views as to the relationship with the program of the President of the various proposals you have made are set forth in the foregoing. There is enclosed for your information a copy of my letter of April 27 to the chairman, Flood Control Committee, House of Representatives. I am furnishing copies of this letter to the chairmen of the appropriate coinmittees and to the Secretary of War, Chairman, Federal Power Commission, and the Secretary of Agriculture. Very truly yours,
PAUL H. APPLEBY, Acting Director. General Reybold, will you come forward ? General REYBOLD. Yes, Mr. Chairman.
Senator OVERTON. As usual, we shall begin consideration of the general flood-control bill by a statement from the Chief of Engineers of the United States Army. General Reybold, we will be pleased for you
to make such statement as you desire.
STATEMENT OF MAJ. GEN. EUGENE REYBOLD, CHIEF OF ENGI
NEERS, UNITED STATES ARMY, WASHINGTON, D. C. General REYBOLD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be with you this morning to discuss the work of the Corps of Engineers in connection with the existing and proposed flood-control programs of our country.
While my personal attention now must necessarily be divided between our war program and our civil-works program, I am as keenly interested as ever in the improvement and development of the water resources of the country. In my opinion, flood control is one of our greatest needs in the field of public works, and it is the desire of my department to fill this need as rapidly as practicable.
We know that floods, like wars, are great crises. We also know that when the crises are over and the excitement wanes, there is an all-too-rapid return to unwarranted complacency. Years of experience have taught us that in a flood our work does not slacken as the emergency passes; rather, it increases as the water recedes. For then, with sound judgment and an unyielding stand for honesty and fairness to all, we must collect data and formulate plans for the future. In the floodless years the work must be accomplished to protect life and property from the floods that will certainly occur in the future.
When it adopted the Flood Control Act of June 22, 1936, the Congress recognized that destructive floods constitute a menace to national welfare and that flood control is a proper activity of the Federal Government. That act placed investigations and improvements of rivers and other waterways for flood control under the jurisdiction of the War Department, to be prosecuted under the direction of the Secretary of War and the supervision of the Chief of Engineers. At the risk of repeating what I trust this committee well knows, I should like to review briefly the procedure from initiation to the adoption by Congress of a flood-control project.
In the first place, a project is initiated by the local people and their elected representatives in Congress. In my opinion that is exactly as it should be. By insertion of an item in a flood-control act or by resolution of an appropriate committee of Congress, a preliminary examination or review report is authorized. This authorization is in the nature of a directive by Congress to the War Department for a specific investigation and reoprt. The Chief of Engineers assigns the investigation to the district in which the stream is located. Available records in the district and division offices are supplemented by reconnaissance surveys, public hearings are held, and a preliminary report is prepared. This report is referred in turn to the division engineer and the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, and finally to the Chief of Engineers who may transmit the matter to Congress, through the Secretary of War, with an unfavorable recommendation, or, if he finds sufficient merit, he may call on the district for a thorough survey and the preparation of a plan of improvement. If an accurate survey and plan of improvement are made, the resulting report travels the same course followed by the preliminary examination and is finally transmitted through the Pureau of the Budget to Congress with a definite recommendation for or against the proposal. After passing through hearings before the appropriate committees of both Houses of Congress, final action by Congress is taken. Again and again throughout this process public hearings are held, at which times the proponents and opponents are given full opportunity and are urged to express their views and desires. These statements are carefully considered and correlated with the engineering factors. Public officials and other informed citizens are consulted at frequent intervals during the progress of the investigations and preparation of reports and they are asked for comment on the completed plans of
improvement. A considerable time may be required for this procedure, but it is evident that such a course will develop useful plans, weed out unworthy proposals, and place meritorious projects in line for adoption by Congress.
I wish to refer specifically to the interagency agreement of cooperation signed in December 1943 by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, the Chairman of the Federal Power Commission, the Land Use Coordinator of the Department of Agriculture, and the Chief of Engineers. This agreement is an extension of a similar agreement which has been in effect since 1939. Among other things, it provides for monthly meetings in Washington of these officials and their staffs. Free and open discussions take place on all subjects of mutual interest and on all sources of potential friction. Criteria for analyzing projects on comparable bases are being developed. Close cooperation in the field and elimination of duplication of effort in the field have already been attained. I believe that this interagency river basin committee, as the group is called, can and will work out in an efficient manner the multitude of problems arising as our river basins are developed
In the matter of correlating the views of State and local interests and in cooperating with other Federal agencies, I am confident that the administration of rivers and harbors and flood-control improvements as established by the Congress and practiced by the War Department has been generally satisfactory to the Congress and to the people.
Mr. Chairman, if I may pause for a moment, it may be of interest to the members of the committee to know that since the passage of the Flood Control Act in 1941 we have been called upon and have reported back to the Congress on 203 proposals; that of those 203, 78 or 38 percent have been favorable, and 125 or 62 percent have been unfavorable. As you probably know, the pending bill contains authorizations for future investigations in the number of about 30.
Since enactment by Congress of a national flood-control policy in 1936, many dams and a large number of local protection projects have been completed. The completed works are affording a high degree of flood protection at the localities for which they were constructed. In addition, many other projects begun, but now suspended during the war, are in partial operation and are furnishing substantial protection. However, there is much more to be done. Each spring, and sometimes throughout the year, we hear of floods in one or more parts of the country. Many may wonder, with the millions appropriated for flood protection, why large flood damages are still a perennial occurrence. The simple fact is that such flood damages occur where Federal works have not yet been authorized, or if authorized, have not been completed.
Looking back over the last 21,2 years I am impressed with the · fact that the Nation has suffered a series of widespread and severe floods. The floods that have occurred during the war emergency have emphasized more than ever before that the devastation and economic loss from such disasters can hardly be exaggerated. In my statement before the Committee on Flood Control of the House of Representatives in June of 1913, a full summary was given of what was called the year of floods. It will suffice to say here that the period May 1942