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Mr. Goss. Yes; in this particular case.
Mr. Goss. Even in Coulee and Bonneville, on which I have appeared before this committee, we have felt that the question of power was a question which should be left to the States. If the States of Washington and Oregon objected to the development of power, we do not think that it is a matter that the Federal Government should interfere with. We believe in States' rights in matters of that kind.
We do recognize the difference in the matter of flood control, where the waters will affect other States.
In this particular area we believe that it is a very different situation, Mr. Chairman, from the Atchafalaya and the Boeuf floodway, as pointed out by Senator Burton. The flood control we believe can be accomplished by lesser dams and possibly more of them without flooding this farm land. And this point I want to make particularly clear -We have a very high regard, with you, Mr. Chairman, for the work of the Army engineers. I have been familiar with it in the Coulee and in a number of places, but I would say, just as I have said to the Army authorities, that we think they are very apt to do the thing the quickest and the shortest way, and not to give sufficient consideration to the value of farm land. We have found that in the establishment of camps, we found it in dams; and in New England, where farmland is scarce, the economic value to New England for the long term of years cannot be measured in dollars and cents as the real-estate value in a sale of that land today. You might buy much of that land for from $50 to $100 an acre, but the destruction of that land would mean to New England far more than can be measured in dollars and cents.
In fact, the time is coming, gentlemen, when good farmland in America is going to be considered our greatest asset and the greatest need, and we think we should look a long, long time before we permanently destroy good farmland; and if there is any place in America where we should follow that policy, it is in New England.
So our attitude is that even though it may cost more money to build the flood-control dams up in the upper reaches—I do not know that it would cost more; I am not familiar with it—but as a matter of general policy we think that the future of New England, the future of America should be such that we do not destroy good farmland; and we are greatly concerned as to what the effect would be even though it might be but 2,000 acres.
In looking at the map, I think that the acreage would probably be considerably more than the 2,000 acres mentioned. I would point out this, however, that in New England much of the farming is done in connection with hill land which becomes practically valueless if you take out the bottom land. You, Senator Burton, are familiar with that, in Ohio. You do not have that, Mr. Chairman, down in Louisiana; but where you have a farm, where you run cattle or possibly sheep, the bottom land raises the feed and supports the farm unit, and if you take out the bottom land you have destroyed far more than just the bottom land itself, you have destroyed the farm, and made the rest of it practically valueless for agricultural purposes; so all I wanted to say is, look very carefully into the possibility of controlling
the floods there by alternative means rather than destroy that land; and do not figure it purely on a dollars-and-cents basis, because the future of New England will depend very largely on maintaining the little farmland they have got—they haven't got too much—and these valleys are of great worth to them.
That is all. Senator OVERTON. Thank you, very much. Mr. TIER. Mr. Chairman, I would just like to make the correction of an error that I think was made here on the population. This matter of the low dam and the high dam seems to be very confusing to everyone. This estimate that Mr. Bush made was on a high dam. Now, on a low dam, or with any dam, in fact, West Dummerston would be inundated, and there are about 300 people comprising that population. It would affect Newfane, probably not wholly, but there are 850 people there.
Senator CORDON. How many?
Mr. TIER. Eight hundred and fifty. That would not affect the whole village. Brookline would be flooded out-about 150 people. Harmonyville would be flooded out, on either dam—150.
Senator CORDON. What portion of Brookline would be flooded out, would you say? What proportion of the population would be rendered homeless?
Mr. Bush. On the high dam it would be all gone except one or two. Senator CORDON. And on the low dam?
Mr. Bush. On the low dam there would probably be five or six houses left.
Senator CORDON. The low dam then would substantially obliter. ate it.
Mr. Bush. Yes.
Senator OVERTON. Now, General Wadhams is here, is he not, from
General WADHAMS. Yes, sir.
(Whereupon, at 12:50 p. m., the subcommittee recesed until 2 p. m.)
The subcommittee reconvened at 2 p. m., upon the expiration of the recess.
CONNECTICUT RIVER BASIN–Resumed
Is General Wadhams here? General, will you take a seat right there?
STATEMENT OF MAJ. GEN. S. H. WADHAMS, CHAIRMAN OF THE
CONNECTICUT STATE WATER COMMISSION, HARTFORD, CONN.
Senator OVERTON (chairman of the subcommittee). General, for the record will you give your name, your residence, occupation, and whom, if anyone, you represent.
General WADHAMS. S. H. Wadhams, Hartford, Conn., chairman of the Connecticut State Water Commission.
Senator OVERTON. You represent the State of Connecticut Water Commission? General WADHAMS. Yes, sir; and the Governor of Connecticut.
Senator OVERTON. Very well, you may proceed to make such statement as you desire.
General WADHAMs. It will be a very brief one, Mr. Chairman. I wish to point out first that Connecticut, because of its location in the Connecticut River watershed, is very much interested in flood protection. All of the flood waters from a 10.000-square-mile watershed above the city of Hartford have to pass through the State of Connecticut to get to the sea. Therefore we are very deeply concerned with anything that has to do with flood protection. We have suffered very severely in the past.
Following the disastrous flood of 1936, under the provisions of the Flood Control Act we united with the other States in the basin to formulate a compact of those four States for flood control. Such compact was drawn up and was approved by the legislatures of the four States and as required by that bill each of the four States passed an act appropriating their share of the money. At that time these projects were cooperative Federal-State projects.
As has been mentioned already, that compact, while approved all the way up to the Congress, and I believe was approved by this committee and the Rivers and Harbors and Flood Control Committees of the House, never was acted on by the Congress, and therefore did not become law. Following that, the law was changed in 1938 removing from the States any control of any kind over flood-control programs.
Our early studies made by the engineers up to that time showed that we required a certain number of food-control reservoirs, plus local protective works, at various places along the river. One of those places was Hartford, Conn., and the other East Hartford, Conn. Those works have been completed. They were carried out as a joint Federal-State program, the localities bearing a considerable part of the expense, and the Federal Government the balance. I am very happy to say that the closest cooperation between the State and the Federal agencies maintained throughout that undertaking. It has been completely satisfactory.
However, when it comes to the flood-control reservoirs, much as we need protection, we feel there is a price too high to demand of the neighboring States. The program of flood reservoirs calls for a considerable number, 20 or thereabouts, to be constructed, to be located in Vermont. Vermont gets very little benefit, but Massachusetts and Connecticut get a very great deal of benefit, a very high degree of flood protection. But much as we need that protection, as I say, we feel that there is a price too high for us to expect of our neighboring States, and that is our attitude on this Williamville Reservoir which we have heard discussed so fully this morning.
Governor Baldwin of Connecticut submitted to this committee a letter a short time ago, dated May 1, which was handed in to the committee by Senator Maloney of Connecticut, in which he outlined his views on this whole question and in which he made the suggestion or recommendation of an amendment to the rivers and harbors bill, but it is equally suitable and probably equally desirable for the flood-control bill now under consideration, because it suggests cooperation between the Federal Government and
Senator OVERTON. What amendment did you say that was?
General WADHAMS. It was submitted to this committee as an amendment to the rivers and harbors bill earlier this month, which you were then considering, but the rivers and harbors bill and the flood-control bill are so overlapping it is applicable to either of them. If one is amended, the other should be, it would seem to me; otherwise it would be ineffective. The gist of that amendment was that works or improvements proposed shall be authorized for construction only after the Secretary of War has made an investigation thereof, in cooperation with the governments of the States affected thereby, and after approval by Congress of a report by the Secretary of War based on such cooperative investigation. Such report shall set out, among other things, the views and recommendations of the affected States with respect to the proposed works. That in no wise abridges or curtails the authority that the Secretary of War now has.
Senator OVERTON. That is correct, but may I interrupt you. As I understand, in all these projects, the Corps of Engineers, beginning with the district engineer, does consult with and undertake as far as practical to cooperate with the local interests, as well as with other agencies of the Government. That didn't happen in this case? I don't mean that they adopt the views of the States. General WADHAMS. No. I understand that.
Senator OVERTON. Or municipalities, or local subdivisions, or local interests, but they do consult with them, according to the testimony by them in connection with this bill and the rivers and harbors bill, and get their views.
General WADHAMS. I think it is generally true, Mr. Chairman, but in the case of this particular reservoir, when it first came into the picture, it was 1 of 24 in the complete program which was laid out and presented to the States in 1936. It was called the Newfane Reservoir at that time and was a flood-control reservoir. It was cbjected to by the States at the time and it was left out of the program, as I recall, because of that objection. Other sites were to be found which would answer the purpose. It occured later under a different name, West Dummerston and Williamsville, and it grew over the years from a four- or five-million-dollar flood-control reservoir to a thirty- or thirty-five-million-dollar power reservoir.
Now, as to conferences with the State, I think there were conferences. Being in Vermont, I was not as closely connected with it. Senator Aiken could probably tell us better about that, but I do know when this bill came before the Rivers and Harbors Committee for hearing a short time ago, the chairman, Mr. Whittington, seemed very much surprised that this flood-control reservoir was now a very large power development, with 80 percent or more of the thirty or more million dollars for power development and only the balance for flood control. So, I think there must have been some slip there in the cooperation, Mr. Chairman. This would simply make it a joint endeavor with naturally the good will to be attained by full clarification of just what the project is to consist of.
Senator OVERTON. Now, the House passed a bill providing for a low dam, in so many words, without any definition of what a low dam is. First, are you in favor of a low dam at this West Dummerston site on the West River? That is the first question I wanted to ask you. Or, do you object to that dam?
General WADHAMS. Yes; unless no alternative site or sites are available.
Senator OVERTON. Have you an alternative plan of dams? General WADHAMS. I would not present that, sir, but I think the Vermont engineers have such a plan or have made surveys that would indicate there are feasible methods that would avoid the construction of a very large dam.
Senator OVERTON. Coming back to the Williamsville Dam, would it improve the provision to prescribe the height of that dam and say this committee agrees with the House version that it should be a low dam and then state what a low dam would be, of a height not to exceed 462 feet above sea level, which the record shows what is really meant by the low dam.
General WADHAMS. I would not be able to answer that because I don't know how much water would be impounded by a lower dam. The Army engineers, of course, can give you those figures. They would know whether by lowering that dam to 150 feet, say, that would give them enough storage of water to compensate and justify the cost of such a dam. That I would not know, sir.
Senator OVERTON. All right. General WADHAMS. I think, Mr. Chairman, that that is all I have to say. I think I have made Connecticut's position in this matter clear. We need flood protection urgently. We hope some method can be found of securing it and that it might be by an alternative dam to this Williamsville Dam which is so destructive to property values and sentimental values to the State of Vermont.
Senator OVERTON. Let me see if I understand clearly now. The opposition of the State of Connecticut is clearly to the construction of the Williamsville Dam. Is that as to whether it is a low dam or a high dam, or both?
General WADHAMS. I would say we would prefer to see no dam built there at all.
Senator OVERTON. No dam. All right. As to the other items in the series of dams that enter into the whole picture of the Vermont situation, is Connecticut opposed to the-over and beyond the Williamsville Dam-is it opposed to the series of dams now recommended by the Chief of Engineers ?
General WADHAMS. No, sir; I think not.
Senator OVERTON. Then its opposition is confined to the so-called Williamsville Dam?
General WADHAMS. I would like to state, Mr. Chairman, that is not the only ground of our opposition. We object very strenguously to any Federal agency coming into our State and taking our land without any consultation with us for any purpose whatsoever, except those authorized by the Constitution.
Senator Austin. May I ask the general a question, Mr. Chairman? Senator OVERTON. Yes, indeed.
Senator Austin. I noticed something in your reference to the letter of Governor Baldwin relating to an amendment, and I call your at