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FLOOD CONTROL-RIVERS AND HARBORS
MONDAY, JULY 25, 1949
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 10 a. m., pursuant to adjournment, in room 412, Senate Office Building, Senator Sheridan Downey presiding.
Present: Senators Downey (presiding), Kerr, and Malone.
Also present: Senator Russell B. Long and Representative Overton Brooks, of Louisiana.
ARKANSAS-WHITE AND RED RIVER BASINS
Senator DOWNEY. The committee will please come to order.
Senator Kerr, do you prefer to wait until the other members are here!
Senator KERR. No; I think the matter of time is more important than the presence of the other members, if it is all right with the chairman.
Senator DOWNEY. The matter before this committee this morning is S. 1576, introduced by Senator Kerr for himself and several other Senators, which is properly pending here before the committee.
(S. 1576 is as follows:)
(S. 1576, 81st Cong., 1st sess.)
A BILL To establish the United States Study Commission on the Arkansas-White and
Red River Basins
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the purpose of this Act is (a) to provide for an integrated and cooperative investigation, study, and survey by a commission created pursuant to this Act and composed of representatives of certain departments and agencies of the United States, and of certain States enumerated herein, in connection with, and in promotion of, the conservation, utilization, and development of the land and water resources of the Arkansas-White and Red River Basins in the States of Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas in order to formulate a comprehensive and coordinated plan for
(1) flood control and prevention ;
(5) possibilities of hydroelectric power and industrial development and utilization;
(6) soil conservation and utilization ;
(8) preservation, protection, and enhancement of fish and wildlife resources ; (9) the development of recreation ;
(10) salinity and sediment control;
(12) such other beneficial and useful purposes not herein enumerater. (b) To formulate, within a time fixed herein, a basic, comprehensive, and into grated plan of development of the land and water resources within the area herein described for submission to, and consideration by, the Congress, and to make recommendations after adequate study for executing and keeping current such plan : Provided, That it is not the purpose of this Act to create any continuing or permanent instrumentality of the Federal Government or to take from or reassign, the duties and powers of any department or agency of the United States represented on the Commission, except as herein provided. SEC. 2. In carrying out the purposes of this Act it is the policy of Congress to
(1) recognize and protect the rights and interests of the States in de termining the development of the watersheds of the rivers herein mentioned and their interests and rights in water utilization and control, as well as the preservation and protection of established uses;
(2) protect existing and authorized projects and projects under construction whether public or private;
(3) utilize the services, studies, surveys, and continuing investigational programs of the departments, bureaus, and agencies of the United States; and
(4) recognize an important body of law affecting the public lands, Irrigation, reclamation, flood control, grazing, geological survey, national parks,
mines, and minerals. Sec. 3. (a) In order to carry out the purposes of this Act, there is hereby established a commission to be known as the United States Study Commission on the Arkansas-White and Red River Basins (hereinafter referred to as the "Commission”). The Commission shall be composed of thirteen members who shall be appointed by the President as follows:
(1) One, who shall serve as Chairman, and shall be a resident of the Arkansas-White and Red River Basins embraced within the States herein mentioned and not, during the period of his service on the Commission, an official or employee of the United States.
(2) Four consisting of a representative of and who is officially connected with each of the following departments or agencies: Department of the Army, Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, and the Federal Power Commission.
(3) Eight upon the recommendation and nomination of the respective governors of each of the following States: Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. (b) In the event of the failure of the governor of any of the said States to recommend and nominate a person or persons from whom a person satisfactory to the President may be named to serve on the Commission, pursuant to paragraph (3) of the preceding subsection, within sixty days after request by the President, the President shall then select and appoint a qualified resident from such State to serve thereon.
(c) In the event of the death, resignation, or removal by the President of ans member of the Commission, the vacancy thereby arising shall be filled in the manner herein provided for original appointments to membership on the Commission.
(d) Within thirty days after the appointment of the members thereof and funds have been made available by the Congress, under the authorization codtained in this Act, the Commission shall organize for the performance of its functions. (e) The Commission shall elect a Vice Chairman from among its members,
(f) Seven members of the Commission, of whom at least four shall have been appointed pursuant to subsections (a) (3), or (b) of this section, sbal constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
(g) Members of the Commission shall report from time to time to their respective departments or agencies, or to their respective governors ir ap pointed pursuant to subsections (a) (3), or (b) of this section, on the work of the Commission, and any comments and suggestions pertaining to such work from such sources shall be placed before the Commission for its com sideration.
(h) The Commission shall cease to exist within three months from the date of its submission to the President and the Congress of its final report as bere inafter provided. All property, assets, and records of the Commission shall thereupon be turned over for liquidation and disposition to such agency or agencies in the executive branch as the President shall designate.
SEC. 4. The Commission is authorized to hold such hearings, sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, and publish so much of its proceedings and the reports thereon as it may deem advisable; lease, furnish, and equip such office space in the District of Columbia and elsewhere as it may deem necessary; transmit in the mails, free of postage, under cover of a penalty envelope, matters which relate exclusively to the business of the Commission; have printing and binding done in its discretion by establishments other than the Government Printing Office; employ and fix the compensation of such officers, employees, and consultants as it may require; purchase or hire, operate, maintain, and dispose of such vehicles as it may require; request and obtain, upon such terins as shall be mutually agreeable, the assistance and advice of officers and employees of the executive branch of the Government, and employees of the departments or agencies from which persons have been appointed to the Commission pursuant to section 3 (a) (2) of this Act may be assigned upon request to temporary duty with the Commission without loss of seniority, pay, or other employee status; pay travel and other necessary expenses, incurred by it, or any of its officers or employees in the performance of duties vested in it; and shall bave such other powers as are consistent with and reasonably required to perform the functions vested in it by the Act.
SEC. 5. (a) Members of the Commission who are appointed thereto pursuant to section 3 (a) (2) of this Act shall receive no additional compensation by virtue of their membership on the Commission, but shall be reimbursed for travel, subsistence, and other necessary expenses incurred by them in the performance nf the duties vested in the Commission.
(b) The Chairman of the Commission and members of the Commission other than those covered by subsection (a) of this section shall each receive comi tation of $50 per day when engaged in the performance of duties vested in the ( ommission, plus reimbursement for travel, subsistence, and other necessary expenses incurred by them in the performance of such duties: Provided, That the aggregate compensation received by the Commissioners pursuant to this subsertion shall not exceed $12,000 per annum in the case of the Chairman and $7,500 per annum in the case of such other members of the Commission.
SEC. 6. In the formulation of a comprehensive and coordinated plan or plans for the control, conservation, and utilization of the waters of the ArkansasWhite and Red River Basins, for conservation and development of the land resources of such area; for flood control, navigation, reclamation, agriculture purposes, power, recreation, fish and wildlife, and such other needs as are set forth in subsection (a) of the first section of this Act, the ('ommission shall
(1) seek to secure maximum public benefits for the region and the Nation consistent with the specific directions contained in section 7 and elsewhere in this Act.
(2) utilize the services, studies, surveys, and reports of existing Government agencies and shall encourage the completion of such current and additional studies and investigations by such agencies as will further the purposes of this Act, and such agencies are directed to cooperate within the limits of available funds and personnel to the end that the Commission may carry out its functions as expeditiously as possible;
13) take into consideration the financial, physical, and economic benefits of existing and prospective Federal works constructed or to be constructed or to be constructed consistent with the purposes of this Act;
(4) include in its plan or plans estimated costs and benefits; recommendations relating to the establishment of pay-out schedules (area-wide or otherwise) taking into account the Federal Government's present and prospective investment in the area ; costs reimbursable and nonreimbursable; sources for reimbursement; returns heretofore made from existing projects and estimates of returns from recommended projects; repayment schedules for water, irrigation, industrial, and other uses; power rates and recommendations for the marketing thereof in such manner as to encourage its most widespread use at the lowest possible rates consistent with the return of capital investment and interest thereon; and estimates of contributions that may be required from power revenues to return reimbursable costs of present and prospective projects that are beyond the ability of water users or drainage beneficiaries to pay; and
(5) offer in its plan or plans proposals for the construction and operation of the projects contained therein, and designate the functions and activities
of the various Federal departments and agencies in connection therewith consistent with existing law: Provided, That no such plan or plans shall in
clude final project designs and estimates. SEC. 7. In the formulation of its plan or plans and the preparation of its report to the Congress, the Commission shall comply with the following directives:
(1) The report shall contain the basic comprehensive plan for the de velopment of the water and land resources of the Arkansas-White and Red River Basins formulated by the Commission in accordance with the provisions, and to accomplish the purposes, of this Act.
(2) The Commission and the participating Federal departments and agencies shall comply substantially with the intent, purposes, and procedure set forth in the first section of the Act entitled "An Act authorizing the construction of certain public works on rivers and harbors for flood control, and other purposes', approved December 22, 1944 (58 Stat. 887).
(3) Proposals for the acquisition of a right to the use of water and the regulation of its appropriation and distribution for domestic, municipal. stock water, irrigation, mining, or industrial purposes shall be in conformty with applicable State laws.
(4) Any plan shall recognize and give full effect to existing interstate compacts relating to the land and water resources of the basins herein described.
(5) Proposals for the use for navigation and generation of power of waters arising in States lying wholly or partly east of the ninety-eighth meridian shall allow for only such use as does not conflict with any beneficial or consumptive use (present or future) of such waters in States lying wholly or partly west of the ninety-eighth meridian.
(6) Federal projects now constructed and in operation, under construc tion, authorized for construction, or that may be authorized substantially in accordance with reports currently before Congress, if 'in compliance with the first section of an Act entitled “An Act authorizing the construction of certain public works on rivers, and harbors for flood control, and for otber purposes", approved December 22, 1944 (58 Stat. 887), shall not be altered changed, restricted or otherwise impeded or interfered with by reason of this Act. Sec. 8. (a) The Commission is authorized and directed to prepare a final report, within the time as herein provided, for submission to the President and the Congress. Before the Commission takes final action on the approval of such report for submission to the Congress, it shall transmit a copy to each of the departments and agencies of the Federal Government, and to the governor of each of the States, mentioned in section 3 (a) (3) of this Act. Within ninety days from the date of receipt of such proposed report, the written views, 2011ments, and recommendations of such States and departments and agencies shall be submitted to the Commission. The Commission may adopt in its report to Congress any recommendation so submitted and change its report accordingle: Provided, That the Commission shall transmit to the Congress with its final report the submitted views, comments, and recommendations of such departments, agencies, and States whether or not adopted,
(b) If, within two years from the date of its organization, the Commissiou. after complying with subsection (a) of this section, shall have been unable to agree unanimously upon and to submit to the President and the Congress a play as hereinbefore provided, then it shall within six months thereafter subunit Pa the President and the Congress, (A) such plan as shall have received the taror able rote of a majority of the Federal representatives on the Commission: or (B) in the event the plan receiving the favorable vote of a majority of the Federal representatives on the Commission does not receive the favorable potr of a majority of the whole Commission, then both (1) such plan as shall bat received the favorable vote of a majority of the Federal representatives and (2) such plan, if any, as shall have received the favorable vote of a majority of the whole Commission.
(c) The final report of the Commission and its attachments shall be printed as a House or Senate document.
Sec. 9. There are hereby authorized to be appropriated out of any moners in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, such sums as may be required fo carry out the purposes of this Act.
Senator DOWNEY. Senator Kerr, are you ready to proceed with the hearing?
Senator KERR. Yes, sir.
Senator KERR. Mr. Chairman, I am happy for the opportunity to testify in behalf of this legislation in which I am vitally interested.
Every year there is some flooding everywhere and terrible floods somewhere.
Every gallon of water that moves across and out of a State without having been properly used is a public loss.
I was Governor of Oklahoma in May 1943, when the most devastating floods I have ever seen invaded northeast Oklahoma.
We saw the floodwaters recede. We saw the lands dry out. We saw the farm families who had been compelled to flee their homes, as from a pestilence, return-repair the soil and plant again. But in the latter part of July and August we saw a withering dought burn up and ciestroy the second crop as completely as the floods had ruined the first.
We asked ourselves then and have continued to repeat the question since "How long before the intelligent, enlightened people of Oklahoma and across the Nation will arise in their wisdom and power and develop a program to prevent the destruction by water in flood times, and control and save it for its life-giving value in dry times?”
I took the problem to heart. In fact, I took it so seriously that when I sought a seat in the United States Senate, my opponents called me the land, wood, wind and water candidate. They put the emphasis on the wind—I put the emphasis on water because I have never forgotten the flood of 43 and the drought which followed it.
That, gentlemen, is the reason I appear before you today, in behalf of S. 1576. Since 1943, I have given this problem careful study and much thought.
I have worked with the Corps of Engineers, than whom, I have never seen a more highly trained, skillful group with more able leadership. They have built food-control projects of great benefit, and have built them with commendable technique and efficiency. They are indeed a splendid part of our fine armed forces.
I have worked with the Department of Interior in their Bureau of Reclamation. I have seen their careful plans for irrigation to turn deserts into oases and I have marveled at their ability.
I have worked with the Department of Agriculture in their Soil Conservation Service. The raw wounds which once ran unchecked in our land have been soothed by their healing hand and gained a new health by the efforts of these experts.
Yes, I have worked with all these people and for all of them I have the deepest and most profound respect.
There has come a time, however, when those of us concerned with the common cause of controlling water and water resources, must work together. Only a team can have teamwork. Only a team can come forth with one plan, one program, one solution for all the multiplicity of problems which each basin contains. The plans for the people, by the States and by the various Federal agencies and departments, must he integrated into a single, basin-wide comprehensive plan. Such a "single plan has long been in evolution and its desirability is today firmly established in principle.