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water conservation. Local interests have been unanimous in their statements that they are willing and able to pay for the irrigation benefits received and that they desire that the project be constructed and operated by the Corps of Engineers, since its dominant purpose is flood control.
On the Kings River project:
The committee has heard extensive testimony from local interests and has questioned the Chief of Engineers and the Commissioner of Reclamation at length in hearings in 1941, 1943, and 1944. Local interests have all impressed the committee with the seriousness of the flood hazard and their desire that the proposed works be constructed as soon as possible. They are practically unanimous in their statements that the dominant interest in the project is flood control with irrigation of secondary consideration. Such irrigation benefits as would result would accrue to land now developed without bringing into production additional arid land. Local interests are so strongly in opposition to a project built under reclamation law that they have stated that rather than have the project built by the Bureau of Reclamation they prefer no Federal project at all.
We would like to point out that the local interests are far from unanimous since, as mentioned previously, the local granges, C. I. O. councils, and the A. F. L. are all in opposition.
In the 1941 hearings on these projects, Mr. Ralph Abel, representing the views of the Kern County Pomona Grange and the Kern County Central Labor Council, entered a strong protest against placing such projects in the hands of the War Department instead of the Department of Interior because of the irrigation features and power possibilities of these projects. In comparing the advocates of one agency against the other, Mr. Abel said:
There is a conflict of interests there and it is not a question of injustice one way or the other necessarily. It is a question of where our interests are in conflict with the interests of these other people. It is a question that these canal companies being controlled by—I will say all of them are controlled by— these two corporations, the Kern County Land Co. and the Miller & Lux Co. I am not being unfair to anyone by saying there has been very considerable controversy over this last quarter of a century over the water rights and the distribution of the water and the method of distribution and the charges. feel on the whole it is possible that revenues from the sale of electrical energy could be used to reduce that price.
And in stressing the need for Federal assistance in the area, he went on to say:
I would like to enter into the record some statistics. Our position there is very definitely one of irrigation and cheaper power. We have no reason for wanting otherwise because that is to our interests. And we certainly are in a position where we need that help. We are not a very plentiful or very rich county, but I would like to enter into the record here some statistics about our county. We have had an increase in the cultivated acres between 1935 and 1940 of better than 75 percent in the amount of acreage under cultivation. And the value of products have jumped from $17,000,000 to $32,000,0000—better than 80 percent. And in the United States census we have 423 less farmers than we had in 1935. We had an increase of 48 percent in population during that period, an increase of over 60 percent in the 10 years. We are in a position where we need all the help we can get.
The "local” interests who cry the great need for flood control on the one hand and on the other say they would rather have no project at all than one under the Reclamation Bureau are typified by the spokesmen of the Kern County Land Co., owning 380,000 acres of which 40 to 50 thousand are under cultivation. The company is owned by 4,500 stockholders scattered all over the country, with the principal interest in the hands of a dozen people, who own about half
the stock, with the ownership largely nonresident. This company also owns a considerable number of the companies operating Kern River irrigation canals.
The large landowners have been trying ever since the reclamation laws went into effect to avoid the acreage limitation. Oregon and California delegates to the National Irrigation Congress of 1905 put forward arguments similar to those recently advanced that acreage limitation did not fit economic conditions in certain areas, that they should not be made to apply to private land, particularly, land which would receive a supplemental water supply. They introduced a resolution for the repeal of the acreage limitation in the Reclamation Act. After full discussion, with other Californians leading the fight for the preservation of the acreage limitation clause, the resolution was overwhelmingly defeated.
The sole motivation behind present arguments that the Kern and Kings River projects are predominantly flood control in character is to prevent the application of the 160-acre limitation. As reported in Business Week of May 13, 1914, when hearings on the amendment to the Rivers and Harbor's bill to remove the 160-acre limitation from the Central Valley projects were being held:
If the big landowners in the valley, lose out in this particular fight, they have several other proposals to accomplish their end. One of them is a House bill which would authorize the Army to add irrigation and power development to its present navigation and flood-control powers. The legislation also would call for construction of a series of irrigation and power projects throughout the cuntry, especially in Central Valley. This would circumvent the 160-acre rule, since the Army is not bound by that restriction.
The local interests represented by sueh men as Mr. Abel, however, are perfectly straightforward in their continuing support of the provisions of the reclamation laws. They are the small farmers, members of local granges, and the townspeople—who rarely get to the halls of Congress--but who should certainly be taken into account when weighing the desires of the local interests involved.
The operation of the reclamation law does not impose undue hardships upon the large landowners. It is not confiscatory or punitive in character. As the Appropriations Committee stated in reporting the 1945 appropriation for the Interior Department to the Senate:
It (the reclamation law) does not require sudden or precipitate breaking up of real-estate holdings but, in an orderly and gradual way, it prevents land monopoly and speculation in benefits created by the expenditure of Federal funds. Most of all, it assures that there will be opportunities for men to secure farms and make homes and livelihood for themselves and their families without incurring a ruinous debt because of the wild gambling of land speculators.
The Appropriations Committee also found with regard to the Kings River project a difference of $5,040.000 between what the landowners would pay under operation by the Corps of Engineers and under the Reclamation Bureau. The increased revenue to the Government and the operation of the reclamation law caused the committee to state:
Under these circumstances, the committee is of the opinion that the Kings River project should be constructed as now authorized under the reclamation law. A similar increase in revenue is forecasted in the Reclamation Bureau's interim report on the Kern River project.
Organized labor in California has seen the consequences of monopolistic land practices in the antilabor activities of such an organization as the Associated Farmers. This organization was shown by a Senate investigating committee to consist largely of a paper membership and to be financed by the large corporate interests in California, both industrial and agricultural. Local officials were drawn from the managers of such outfits as the Kern County Land Co., and strongarm squads were drawn from the employees of such companies. The C. I. O. does not want to see these groups reentrenched in any part of California, and it fears that allowing reclamation projects to operate outside the provisions of the Reclamation Act will tend to allow that to happen.
We do not feel that much can be gained from arguing percentagewise as to the division of the value of these projects between flood control and irrigation. It is obvious that the irrigation value will be substantial. What is important is the principle under which the Central Valley is to be developed through the expenditure of public funds. We believe that an orderly development under the terms of the reclamation laws and under the jurisdiction of one bureau offers tremendous possibilities for the prosperity and well-being of a great many individuals and the community as a whole. We believe Congress owes it to the servicemen and war workers of this country, many of whom look forward to settling down on a small farm capable of sustaining a family in comfort, to insure as far as possible the conditions under which their desires can be realized. We do not want to see them the victims of speculation on the part of large landowners. The breaking up of monopolistic land practices and the formation of family-sized farms could be an important factor in helping California solve the post-war problem inherent in the great influx of workers to her war plants.
We therefore urge this committee seriously to consider removing the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Basin projects from H. R. 4485.
We would like to make one other brief point before concluding testimony on the bill. Our organization, 'locally and nationally, stands for the public distribution of publicly generated power. We would like to see this bill amended to provide that any power generated from the projects authorized by the bill shall be turned over to the Secretary of the Interior who shall dispose of such power in a manner to encourage its most widespread use at the lowest possible rates to consumers consistent with sound business principles, with preference in the sale of such power given to public bodies and cooperatives. We greatly regret that the committee considering the rivers and harbors bill did not follow this principle but instead in the amendment to section 6 prohibited the Secretary of the Interior from constructing or acquiring any transmission lines which would be in direct or indirect competition with any existing company operating transmission lines for the sale of electric power.
Senator OVERTON. I thank you very much.
Senator OVERTON. Any questions by members of the committee? Senator Millikin, any questions?
Senator MILLIKIN. NO.
Senator OVERTON, Senator Robertson?
Senator OVERTON. Now, is Mr. Montclair of North Dakota here! Mr. Floyd Montclair. Is he in? (No response.)
Mr. Macleay will be last, and then we shall put the engineers on. All right, Mr. Macleay. STATEMENT OF LACHLAN MACLEAY, PRESIDENT, MISSISSIPPI
VALLEY ASSOCIATION, ST. LOUIS, MO. Mr. MACLEAY. Mr. Chairman, my name is Lachlan Macleay. I am preseident of the Mississippi Valley Association. The Mississippi Valley Association is a voluntary nonprofit organization with members in 23 States in the midcontinent area, the Middle West and the South.
At a meeting of the association held in St. Louis last October, resolutions were adopted from which I would like to read some extracts into the record.
Appearing on page 5 of the copy of the resolutions adopted by the membership in session, it says as follows:
Whereas it appears that the flood-control program should be considered to be a national program and one which should be under the control of one agency, and
Whereas it further appears that the United States Army engineers are preeminently qualified by training and experience to be that one agency;
Resolved, That Congress should give the United States Army engineers complete authority over the construction, maintenance, and operation, of all flood-control reservoirs and works, including control of all multiple-purpose dams primarily for flood control and navigation as approved by Congress. This resolution does not propose to interfere with the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Reclamation authorized by Congress.
This resolution does not propose to interfere with the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Reclamation authorized by Congress.
Under the heading of "Missouri River Basin" is the following paragraph:
We recommend adoption by the Congress of a plan for the comprehensive multiple-purpose development of the Missouri River and its tributary streams, designed to secure the fullest possible economic benefit from the conservation and use of the water of those streams, and to promote the maximum possible protection against the devastating effect of flood and droughts.
Furthermore, under the heading “Major citys”: Whereas designs are being made by the Corps of Engineers, necessary requirements of the Secretary of War respecting the rights-of-way will be met, and the 1943 flood has more fully demonstrated the immediate necessity for flood-protection works at the major centers of population such as the Kansas Citys, Omaha, and Sioux City, and because the improvements will protect very vital defense plants, airports, and utilities of many kinds, we therefore
Resolved, That insofar as possible, at the earliest practicable date, the necessary levees and flood-control works, including the Liberty Bend cut-off, be constructed to protect the major population centers in advance of, or concurrently with, the proposed reservoirs.
Furthermore, under "Reclamation": We recognize the rights of the several States for beneficial use of water originating in those States for irrigation and domestic purposes, and recommend that construction necessary to carry out those purposes be approved on the Missouri River and its tributaries.
There is a note in the resolutions in connection with that which reads as follows:
In the discussion of the resolutions at the time of adoption, a clarification of the above was asked by delegates. It was explained and agreed to by the author that no infringement or depletion of the flow of the river that might interfere with its full development and use for navigation was intended.
The author of that paragraph was Mr. Robert B. Hipple, publisher of the Daily Capital Journal at Pierre, S. Dak. I read that paragraph into the record in the House hearings, and I have a letter from Mr. Hipple commending me for having so well stated his views with regard to that.
I believe the Mississippi Valley Association is in complete accord with the statements made here by Governor Sharpe of South Dakota, by Harry Trustin, of Omaha; the statement of Walter Scott, member of the City Council, Kansas City, Mo., which was read into the record by George Catts, general manager of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce; Mr. Catts' statement; the statement of Mr. Milton Kinsey, president of the Board of Public Service of the city of St. Louis ; and by Mr. John B. Forsyth, president of the Upper Missouri Valley Association, a statement that was put in the record this morning by the chairman.
The primary interest of the Mississippi Valley Association in the Missouri Basin is in flood control. I want that to be distinctly understood. The secondary interest is navigation with us; our primary interest is flood control. The reason for that is found in the terrific flood losses, throughout our territory, and I am going to place in the record a statement of the losses for the past 20 years in all of the basins of the Mississippi system.
In the Missouri Basin the losses amounted to 244 lives, $163,936,428. That was 20 years.
In the upper Mississippi-and by that we mean the territory from Cairo, which is at the mouth of the Ohio, north-practically all of this loss is caused by the Missouri, especially when the Missouri comes into a full river and it happens that the Illinois is in flood when the Missouri comes down as it did last year. The losses in the 20 years in the upper Mississippi Basin were $97,383,536.
Senator MILLIKIN. Mr. Chairman, I am not challenging the figures, but I believe it would be helpful if the sources of them were put in the record.
Mr. MACLEAY. The source is here, and it is in the statement. It is prepared by the Mississippi Valley Association from data supplied by the United States Weather Bureau May 23, 1944.
That shows a loss over 20 years of approximately, in the upper Mississippi, which is the territory between St. Louis and the mouth of the Ohio-that is where we have had our most terrific losses, from Cape Girardeau to St. Louis along the main channel of the Mississippi and in the lower Missouri-amounting to about $13,000,000 a year average for the last 20 years. Those losses, as will be shown—I will give you a copy, too, Senator Millikin. I have other copies here.
Senator MILLIKIN. Thanks very much.