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This modification of the existing project on the river between Celilo Falls and Kennewick, Wash., has been recommended by the division engineer in his comprehensive report on the Columbia River Basin, and the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors has concurred in the recommendation, and recommended that the project be modified to provide a 712-foot depth between the navigation channel and the water front at Umatilla. A report on the Columbia River at Umatilla was originally authorized in 1947 by a resolution of the Committee on Public Works of the United States Senate, and a favor able recommendation in response to the resolution is included in the comprehensive report on the Columbia River Basin.
Umatilla is a very important port on this section of the Columbia River. It is a distributing point for petroleum products coming up the river and for grain going to market. The commerce on the section of the river under consideration increased from 34,668 tons in 1930 to over 820,000 tons in 1947. Umatilla County alone produces an average of 6,000,000 bushels of wheat a year, and this, along with the products of other adjoining counties, provides the large tonnage to be shipped out of this port.
The area commercially tributary to Umatilla has a population of 362,000 in 1940, and there has been an increase in population here, as in other parts of Oregon, where the rate of increase has exceeded that of the Nation in general in the ratio of approximately 3 to 1. With the population increase has come increased business activity with greater demands for better harbor facilites at Umatilla. Especially is this true due to the construction of the McNary Dam at this location. Not only is the activity great during the construction period, but will continue after the completion of the dam.
The area is to a great extent dependent upon water transportation. One of the greatest drawbacks to agriculture in the section is the present high railroad freight rates. The improvement of this harbor will give relief to the farmer and producer in reduced transportation charges.
The cost to the United States for construction is estimtaed at $416,250 in addition to which local interests at Umatilla will be required to provide adequate terminal facilities and make other improvements for the benefit of navigation at an estimated cost to them of $204,700. The Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors found that the proposed improvement is justified in the interests of safety and convenience of established navigation. In addition to this they have evaluated the monetary benefits to accrue from the proposed improvement.
These monetary benefits will be derived from the ability to load barges of grain and petroleum to full capacity. They estimate that savings will accrue on over 588,000 tons and that the annual savings amount to $15,910. When compared to the annual carrying charges of $47,610 the benefit-cost ratio is 1.63.
The improvement is urgently needed, is very vital to not only Umatilla but to the extensive hinterland, and it is economically justi fied by a large margin. I urge that this item be included in the pending omnibus rivers and harbors bill.
STATEMENT OF ELMER B. STAATS, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF THE BUDGET_Resumed
Senator MCCLELLAN. Will you come forward, Mr. Staats. Are there any further questions of Mr. Staats?
Senator Long. I would like to ask Mr. Statts a few questions.
Senator McCLELLAN. May I bring up one point, first, to follow through on something we discussed yesterday. I just want to ask them before we go any further.
Mr. Staats, in your letter of August 8, you refer to section 1, and you point out some objection to that section. Has that section been modified and changed to conform to the desires of the Bureau of the Budget?
Mr. STAATS. That section is now all right with us. It did contain certain study purposes which had not been approved.
Senator McCLELLAN. Will you give your estimate to the committee of what the expense will be that is involved in carrying out this bill if it is passed
Mr. STAATS. We have not been able to formulate any kind of a precise estimate as to what this survey would cost. We assume that most of the work will be done by the departments and agencies concerned.
We have given some thought to that matter, but we have not known of any way by which we can give the committee any precise estimate. We do not think the cost will be very large.
Senator McCLELLAN. Do you think that you could furnish the committee with some kind of an estimate?
Mr. STAATS. We will be glad to do that.
Senator Long. I wonder if Colonel Gee could give us an estimate of the cost of making the Red River study which the Army engineers have just wound up and which they have been conducting since 1939.
Colonel GEE. I could not give you that cost right now.
Colonel GEE. I do not know; somewhere in the neighborhood of, perhaps, $250,000. I am not sure that that is correct. I will confirm that figure later.
Senator KERR. That study would be available in toto to this commission if it were created; would it not?
Colonel GEE. That is correct, sir.
Senator McCLELLAN. Does any member of this committee have any questions he would like to ask of Mr. Staats?
Senator Long. I would like to ask some questions, if I may, Mr. Chairman, just to complete the record.
Senator McCLELLAN. You may proceed, Senator.
Senator Long. There are a lot of people interested in the idea of holding up the existing projects and studying them to see if, perhaps, some of the dams authorized might be located farther back in the hills and if thereby, instead of having 1 dam, we could have 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 dams. They are also interested in seeing if they could not find a broader yardstick for authorization which would give us a slightly different type of flood-control protection, where they could place more emphasis on power or irrigation.
Now, if this commission were to be created and if it were to have representation from the Federal Power Commission and the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior, all of which departments are interested in this line of thought, then they would be in the majority; and if they should come out with a recommendation that all of these existing projects should be held up until they could see whether or not they could get a recommendation, for example, to have five or six or more dams instead of one dam, in that event would the Bureau of the Budget be inclined to go ahead and make major appropriations for a project, while it was still under study by such a commission created by the Congress?
Mr. STAATS. We would construe the bill in its present form to mean the projects authorized and under way could go ahead. We had assumed that the issue you mention would be a proper subject for study by the commission.
But, as we see it, there is nothing in this bill which would hold up projects which have been authorized.
Senator Long. Well, let us make one assumption which you would have to make to answer my question.
Let us assume that this commission should come out with a recommendation that all of these projects should be reconsidered, on the grounds that they might have a greater power potential, for example, or could carry out other purposes, like silt control, or purposes that have not been given so much emphasis before.
Now, if the commission made such a recommendation as that, in what position would you be to recommend major expenditures of funds on existing projects where the commission would be recommending that they should not be built!
Mr. STAATS. I think the answer to that, Senator, is in terms of the language of the bill.
In order to have a matter of that kind come formally to the attention of the Bureau of the Budget, it would be necessary for an agency which had been authorized to construct a project, to come before the Bureau of the Budget with a request for modification. If they did that, the request would be given consideration.
Senator Long. Your letter of recommendation, as I understand it, recommended that this commission should have the right to recommend changes and modifications on authorized projects. That is what your letter said, I believe.
Mr. STAATS. I think that is the correct interpretation. We had felt that the interim reports prior to the completion of the final report might be desirable from the standpoint of the commission.
Senator KERR. Every one of the agencies have not only that authority but that obligation now; is that not correct?
Mr. Staats. That is correct, and many such modifications are submitted and approved.
Senator KERR. I understand that your letter does not seek to have this bill go beyond the provisions of the law as it now stands.
Mr. STAATS. That is correct.
Senator Long. Well, that would create a new agency and appoint a chairman in charge of that agency over six or seven State areas, and that chairman would certainly be a new appointee, and that commission, even though they come, the members, from different agencies,
nevertheless would be a new commission, with new authority to make additional studies and make recommendations. .
There is no limitation, as I see it here now, that would prevent them from recommending this not being built.
I know that a lot of people are interested in this, and some people say that it was a major mistake to ever have built the Denison Dam, hecause, they say, with the same economic justification, to protect their areas, they could have gone back and built dams into the hills, and they could have built 10 dams instead of this 1 Denison Dam; they feel that there was justification for building a number of smaller dams, instead of one big dam.
Well, now, you do have six or eight other dams in Texas, Arkansas, and some in Oklahoma that have been authorized. If people with that point of view were to go to this Commission, what is there to assure that they would not recommend that all of these projects be
Mr. STAATS. I think that the Denison Dam is a Corps project.
Mr. STAATS. In that case, if the Corps of Engineers, in the course of their study, came forward with the recommendation that there should be modifications on a project of that kind, of course, we would have to give consideration to it, because that is the agency that has the responsibility for the construction of the project.
Senator Long. Well, now, if this bill were passed, all of these authorized projects would fall within the scope of this Commission tudy, would they not!
Mr. STAATS. I believe so. Senator Long. In that area, all the authorized projects in that area. Mr. Staats. I think that they would give consideration to the total rogram. I think that is one of the objectives of the Commission. I hink you have to keep in mind that the purpose of the Commission, s we understand it, is that it is purely advisory and it is to make pommendations; and it has no force and effect of its own. Senator Long. There is no doubt in your mind that this is viewed
many people interested as the beginning of a great Federal contruction project, is there?
Mr. STAATS. Well, I think the purpose of it is to get a report which rould give to the President and the Congress a comprehensive and ategrated survey of the whole area. From the national standpoint, e might be better off to have that kind of a study or approach than nese piecemeal approaches.
Senator Long. How broad is this Army engineer's report or study lat they have been working on from 1939 until 1949? How broad is leir report on the Red River? Jir. Staats. I believe the Corps of Engineers should probably swer that question. Senator KERR. You refer to the report on the Red River below sanison Dam? Senator LONG. Well, the one they have been working on since 1939. Colonel GEE. That is the comprehensive report, and I mean comprensive in all phases of the investigation, for all of the water below enison, and it seeks to work out the remaining projects of water nservation on the lower portion of the Red River Basin.
Senator Long. What has been overlooked in that report that this bill would include, on the Red River below Denison?
Colonel GEE. I doubt seriously that this or any other commission would find it necessary to do much work on the Red River below Denison Dam. The Commission, as indicated in this bill, could make full use of that report.
Senator Long. Well, what essential connection is there between the Red River and the Arkansas or the White; what connection is there that requires that all three of them be studied at the same time; when one is being studied, why is it necessary to include the others?
For example, the Arkansas does not flow through my State. Of course, in the floodwaters of the Mississippi, we get our share of it. but that is not what I mean, of course.
I ask you, what essential connection is there between them, that study of one must include the others ?
Mr. STAATS. I assume that the purpose of the bill is to try to cover the whole economic area, which is similar or relatively similar to the economic area covered by the tributaries of these three rivers.
Senator Long. Then, why leave out the Canadian River? That is a similar economic area.
Senator Kerr. It is ineluded, is it not? It is one of the principal tributaries of the Arkansas.
Mr. STAATS. I believe it would be.
Senator KERR. If it were a tributary of the Arkansas, White, or Red River, it would be. I do not think it is.
Senator Long. It is a similar economic area.
Senator KERR. Mr. Staats, the Bureau of the Budget would have no objection if the Senator from Louisiana wanted to exclude his State from the study and wanted the bill to be amended to accomplish that, would it?
Mr. Staats. We would see no objection, from our point of view.
Senator KERR. Well, there is no objection on the part of the authors of the bill.
In fact, the Senator from Louisiana offered here in this room, at a previous hearing, to withdraw any opposition to the bill if Louisiana were not included in the area to be studied, and the Senator from Oklahoma and some of the other sponsors of the bill found no objection to that and accepted what he thought was the proposal of the Senator from Louisiana, and he is still willing to do that.
Senator Long. Well, the difficulty with respect to my State, with regard to the Red River, is that the levee starts just about where the Louisiana border is, and it is not going to do us a lot of good to be left out. After all, the floodwater does come on us.
Senator KERR. Well, of course, Senator, I did not come to argue the matter, but there are seven other States in the bill besides Louisiana, and our purpose is only to provide some study
Senator MCCLELLAN. If I may interrupt, I realize that it is pretty difficult to try to keep Senators from talking to each other. However, let us try to direct our questions to the witness.
Senator Long, do you have any other questions of Mr. Staats!