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SEC. 404. If any provision of this Act, or the applicability thereof to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the remainder of this Act, and the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances, shall not be affected thereby.
SEC. 405. This Act shall cease to be in effect on July 1, 1971.
FELTON M. JOHNSTON, Secretary. Mr. JONES. I hope we can proceed in this fashion, that we will let the witness conclude his statement before we propound questions or interrogatories, so that we may have an orderly procedure.
Yesterday the subcommittee had a briefing, in which we heard Mr. Sweeney, Chairman of the Federal Development Planning Committe for Appalachia, in a review of the bill; and he has gone over its contents and made explanations of the various sections. We will begin by hearing Mr. John L. Sweeney who has worked with this bill for 18 months, now.
Mr. Sweeney, we will be most appreciative of your attention to all our questions and problems in relation to consideration of this bill.
It is with great pleasure that we have you here this morning. Mr. Stuart Feldman, who is the assistant to the Chairman, is in Mr. Sweeney's company and questions may be directed to either of them.
STATEMENT OF JOHN L. SWEENEY, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL DE
VELOPMENT PLANNING COMMITTEE FOR APPALACHIA; ACCOMPANIED BY STUART FELDMAN, ASSISTANT TO THE CHAIRMAN
Mr. SWEENEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I did bring with me a prepared statement which I would like to insert at this point in the record. I will not read it in full.
Mr. JONES. Without objection, the statement will be received and placed in the record at this point.
(The document follows:)
STATEMENT BY JOHN L. SWEENEY, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL DEVELOPMENT PLANNING
COMMITTEE FOR APPALACHIA Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of this special committee, it is a privilege for me to testify on the provisions of H.R. 4, the Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965.
The action that we hope will be taken by the members of this committee, by the full Public Works Committee, and by the House of Representatives will represent the culmination of almost 2 years of careful study and preparation by 11 State governments, a dozen Federal agencies and the U.S. Congress. The economic development of the Appalachian region has received the close personal attention of both President Kennedy and President Johnson.
Within the past year President Johnson has paid several visits to Appalachia, has met with the Governors of the Appalachian States, and has submitted the legislation which we are considering today. As evidence of his acute concern about the present-day blight of Appalachia, he has given this bill the complete support of the administration and has assigned the highest priority to it.
All of the provisions in H.R. 4 focus upon one overriding objective which is the acceleration of economic development in the Appalachian region. Much of the poverty that afflicts Appalachia can be attributed directly to some very basic deficiencies of the region. These deficiencies include difficult access, uncontrolled water resources, poorly managed physical resources, and a geueral shortage of the type of public facilities which stimulate econoinic activity. In short, the problem of underdevelopment in Appalachia must be attacked in order to raise the standards of human existence in the region, and this is the very problem which the Appalachian Act identifies and attacks.
This committee has made substantial and worthwhile contributions to the Appalachian program. The House Public Works Committee report on H.R. 11946, the Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1964, and the accompanying volume of testimony contain much useful and valuable material about the Appalachian region. The bill which we are considering today closely resembles last year's bill; however, there are a few significant changes which will be dealt with in the course of this testimony.
This bill's greatest merit lies in the sound relationship which it establishes between the Federal Government and the governments of the 11 Appalachian States. In the final analysis, the Appalachian region presents a special problem because of its high proportion of poverty and unemployment. But it also presents a special answer because of the demonstrated willingness of 11 States to work together in solving those problems. Since 1960 the Appalachian Governors and their staffs have cooperated with one another in recognition of the needs and solutions which are common to the Appalachian States.
So strong has become the conviction among the Appalachian States that the region's economic deficiencies must be corrected that the original concepts of the Conference of Appalachian Governors have survived innumerable changes of State administrations during the past 5 years, and, in fact, have been strengthened through the accumulation of more and more experience. The concern and support of the Appalachian Governors for this legislation was clearly demonstrated before this committee last summer and will again be indicated in statements to be submitted to you this week.
Since the Appalachian Act emphasizes regional economic development, the full participation and cooperation of the State governments becomes especially essential to the success of the program. The Appalachian program is not intended, and was never intended, to provide independent assistance to 11 separate States, each going its own way and excluding the mutual interests of its neighboring States. The States themselves have recognized the necessity for interstate cooperation and have insisted upon the specific provisions for such cooperation as contained in title 1 of this act, creating the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The Appalachian Regional Commission is not designed as an operating agency. It will have no authority over any other agency of government at any level. Existing Federal programs will continue to be directed by the appropriate Federal agency. The Commission's job in this area will be to coordinate existing programs with new programs and with the needs of the region as a whole.
Some of the specific duties of the Commission include: making initial recommendations on each phase of the programs contained in the bill; operating as a clearinghouse for expert opinion which can be shared throughout the region; sponsoring research and demonstration projects upon which it will base its recommendations; recommending revisions of existing laws; and adapting project requests to the principles of overall regional development.
The Appalachian Regional Commission will be truly regional in its composition. It will include representatives of each of the 11 Appalachian States and a representative of the Federal Government, appointed by the President. The Federal member of the Commission shall serve as the Federal cochairman. His counterpart, the State cochairman, shall be selected by the States sitting on the Commission.
The Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965 contains some new language which clarifies even further the responsibility of the States than did last year's legislation. These additions have been written into the statement of purpose and read as follows: "The public investments made in the region under this act shall be concentrated in areas where there is the greatest potential for future growth, and where the expected return on public dollars invested will be the greatest. The States will be responsible for recommending local and State projects, within their borders, which will receive assistance under this act."
The procedures that shall be used in the approval and implementation of programs are spelled out in fuller detail in sections 223 and 303 of the act. The essence of these procedures is simply this: that an application for assistance under the Appalachian Act may originate from any source in a State's eligible counties, but the application can reach the Commission through only one channel--the State representative sitting on the Commission.
This means two things: 1. The Commission, or the Federal cochairman cannot tell a State what projects it should recommend to the Commission, nor can the Commission bypass the State representative by approving projects and programs submitted to it by a local government. 2. The States will have greater control over the relationship of individual projects to overall economic development in their Appalachian portions.
The Appalachian program, if it is to be successful, must take full advantage of the considerable amount of knowledge and experience that exists at the State level of government. This bill properly establishes the procedures which will ensure the continuation of responsible State participation under the Appalachian Act. The Appalachian States have already demonstrated their capacity for responsibility during the studies and discussion which have contributed to this legislation.
Since the primary aim of the Appalachian Act is to stimulate economic growth in the Appalachian region, it is only proper for the Commission to be guided by the criterion in section 224, stressing the potential for future growth. Here again, the Commission will rely most heavily upon the advice of the Appalachian States who possess the greatest knowledge about the locations of potential growth and how the Appalachian program can best be used to stimulate economic development.
The remaining duties and responsibilities of the Commission are the same as those contained in the bill which this committee examined last year. The affirmative vote of the Federal cochairman is required before any project can be implemented, and a State, if it so desires, can refrain from accepting a project that it does not want.
Foremost among the responsibilities of the Appalachian Regional Commission will be the administration of the programs authorized by this legislation. These programs, covering a variety of activities, are all designed to promote economic development in as comprehensive a manner as possible. They include the development and improvement of access into the region, improvement of Appalachia's water and physical resources, and the upgrading of human resources—all necessary to stimulate economic growth and create more opportunities for the people of Appalachia.
The first of these developmental needs, better access for the region, is provided for by the Appalachian development highway system under section 201 of the bill. Lying between two great population centers of the Nation, the Midwest and the eastern seaboard, Appalachia represents a potential market and a source of raw materials, as well as a major recreational area for these enormous concentrations of population. Yet none of this potential will be realized until the isolation of the region has been overcome, and the Appalachian Mountain barrier can only be eliminated by a modern highway network.
Highway construction in most sections of Appalachia is expensive. For example, in West Virginia and Kentucky, the east-west roads which cut directly through the mountains will cost more than a million dollars per mile for a high type two-lane primary road. This can be contrasted to an average cost of between $300,000 and $500,000 for such a road on flat terrain. This bill recommends that the Appalachian highway program be constructed with moneys from the general fund, for to use the highway trust fund would discriminate against the other 39 States. The Appalachian States have put a disproportionate amount of their highway funds into the Appalachian portions of their States. This general fund investment will enable them to build the highway system which is the key to future economic growth.
The only change that has been made in this section of the bill since last year has been an increase in the mileage of local access roads, from 500 miles to a total of 1,000 miles. The development highway system remains the same, 2,350 miles, and the Federal share of the entire program remains at $840 million. The additional access road mileage will link even more areas having development potential with the development system itself and with the interstate highways that cross the region.
The Appalachian Regional Commission will, as previously understood, recommend the basic corridors through which the development highways will pass. But before the Commission makes such a recommendation, it must have obtained the recommendations of each State highway department. Once the Commission's recommendations have been submitted, the present system of cooperation between the Secretary of Commerce and the State highway departments will take over, as in the case of every other federally supported road building program.
The proper management of Appalachia's water resources is the purpose of section 206 of this bill which authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a comprehensive water resource survey for the region and prepare a comprehensive plan for water resource development. Appalachia's water resources, fed a steady and abundant annual rainfall, are one of the region's most precious assets. With sufficient control and management, this resource can provide the essential base for industrial, residential, commercial and recreational development. Without adequate control a combination of flooding, draught, and polluted water will further retard the Appalachian effort to achieve greater economic growth.
The water resource survey authorized by section 206 will be conducted by the Army Engineers in cooperation with the Appalachian Regional Commission, and all appropriate Federal and State agencies. The procedures for comprehensive water resource planning as set forth in H.R. 4 are similar to the procedures used for comprehensive river basin studies throughout the country, including some that have been completed or are now underway in the Appalachian region. Such work has already been done or is in process in several Appalachian river basins, including the Delaware, Upper Ohio, Susquehanna, and Potomac. The timely completion of studies now in progress and the initiation of studies in additional river basins will help insure the fullest use of the region's water resource potential.
Sections 203, 204, and 205 of this bill deal directly with the most valuable physical resources of Appalachia. The fuller utilization of these resources is necessary if they are to be tied in with the improvements in highways and water resources as a means to a more desirable rate of economic growth.
Land improvement and erosion control are made possible by section 203 which attempts to correct the neglect and misuse of much of Appalachia's land. The hilly topography of the Appalachian region has long been a deterrent to the successful farming of vegetables or grains in any large quantity. The Appalachian terrain has also discouraged mechanization on the region's farms necessary for profitable farming operations. Over the years the steeply sloped Appalachian farms have remained largely unproductive and have undergone severe erosion which has only helped to clog the region's streams.
The principal emphasis of this program is to prevent further erosion on as much land as possible out of a total of 8.6 million acres of land requiring erosion control. This can be done by establishing an adequate vegetative covering on some of the land or by turning it into pastureland capable of supporting economical livestock operations. Under H.R. 4, section 203 will provide to eligible farms, grants covering the cost of 80 percent of the improvement of up to 25 acres of land which either has no protective covering or which needs improve ment in order to make it economically feasible for livestock production. This legislation authorizes $8.5 million for each of the fiscal years 1966 and 1967 for this program, to be administered by the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service which already operates similar grant programs for conservation practices. The program of grants would be carried out through the State and county committees in a manner similar to the existing programs. Specifically, the funds would be used for land preparation, seed and seeding costs, fertilizer and lime costs, and in some cases brush removal, pond construction, and fencing costs. This program at the same rate of investment could by 1971 improve 3.3 million acres.
Under the Senate version, as amended, of the Appalachian Act, section 203 has been changed to deal more directly with the problem of land stabilization and erosion and sediment control and to provide for a more closely coordinated program of related land and watershed development. The new section is patterned after the Great Plains program which has been carried out successfully in recent years in the Western States. It retains the provision of the original bill limiting the Federal assistance to SO percent of the cost of the proposed treatment, but it raises the limitation on acreage which each farmer can propose for assistance from 25 acres to 50 acres. The Senate-passed bill also retains the 10-year contractual plan for cost-sharing development provided for in the original bill.
Section 204 provides for the establishment of timber development organizations in Appalachia in order to improve the potentially valuable timber resource of the region. Appalachian hardwoods are famous throughout the Nation and comprise 80 percent of both forest area and timber volume in the region. Timber growth in Appalachia has fallen far short of its potential, and much growth that has taken place has been low in quality. Because over 70 percent of the region's total forest acreage is in small private stands, sound timber management practices have not been applied to substantial portions of Appalachian timberland.
The primary responsibility for promoting the concept of timber improvement through timber development organizations will rest with the U.S. Forest Service, working with State foresters, although the implementation is designed to be carried out under private auspices.
A TDO, depending upon the circumstances, might take one of several forms. It might, on the one hand, be patterned after the New England Forestry Foundation—a purely service organization requiring no long-term commitment on the part of the landowner-which has been so successful in the northeastern section of the country. On the other hand it might have a nonprofit corporate structure with long-term commitments from each landowner and receipts from the sale of timber shared among the landowners pursuant to agreement. A detailed feasibility study of the area proposed for a TDO would be necessary to determine the structure and organization most appropriate to each organization. But in any case, the objective would be to develop forest management units that would protect and restore the timberland to full productivity and provide a return to the landowner either in the future or on an annual or periodic basis.
TDO's should concentrate on providing technical assistance on the lands within the organizations, such as the establishment of better tree cutting and timber practices. But in order to accomplish this goal, the TDO is permitted to seek the physical consolidation of landholdings important to the maximum management of the designated land. This may also include the purchase of taxdelinquent lands and property of nonresident owners wanting to dispose of their holdings. There is no intention, nor is there authority in the bill, for the acquisition of land under eminent domain.
Under an amendment adopted by the Senate, the authority to purchase lands would be restricted to those TDO's established as demonstration projects.
In the initial period, emphasis should be placed on demonstration TDO's and research assistance and on marketing assistance for research products.
The TDO, like the individual landowner, will be eligible for technical and management assistance under existing programs operated by State foresters and State extension forestry units in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service.
However, it is anticipated that the major portion of assistance to a TDO for technical guidance, direct management and organization will come from private foresters. That is to say, the TDO once established, will hire the independent forester as a consultant, or on a part-time or full-time basis. It is intended that from the beginning, the Federal employee will have only a minimal role in the affairs of the TDO.
The principal role of the Federal Government in establishment of TDO's will be in providing a loan (not a grant) for one-half the initial capital requirements of the organization. The Appalachian Regional Development Act will authorize $5 million for fiscal 1966 and fiscal 1967 for these loans, which will be administered by the Farmers Home Administration.
However, it is intended that the loans be granted by FHA only after plans have been submitted to the Appalachian Regional Commission showing a man. agement and program outline for the proposed TDO which has been prepared by State and private foresters and individuals, as opposed to Federal personnel.
It is further intended, as specifically stated in the bill, that no Federal funds, that is, the FHA loan, shall be used to set up manufacturing for forest products. Federal funds can be used for construction of facilities necessary for improving the timber stand within the TDO, such as construction of access roads and installation of boundary markers.
The remaining 50 percent capital requirements of the TDO would be achieved through donations, loans, purchases of stock or pledges of land by private sources or State or local governments.
Section 205 provides for several programs of restoration in the mining areas of Appalachia. Much of the Appalachian landscape has been damaged by the mining of coal. Both strip mining and deep mining operations have eroded the