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AUTHORITY FOR ACCEPTANCE OF NON-FEDERAL CONTRIBUTIONS
(1) The Civil Functions Appropriations Act, 19 July 1937 (33 U.S.C. 701h), authorizes the Secretary of the Army to receive from States and political subdivisions thereof such funds as may be contributed by them to be expended in connection with funds appropriated by the United States for any authorized flood control work whenever such work and expenditures may be considered by the Secretary of the Army on recommendations of the Chief of Engineers, as advantages in the public interest.
(2) Section 4, River and Harbor Act, 4 March 1915 (33 U.S.C. 560) authorizes the Secretary of the Army to receive from private parties such funds as may be contributed by them to be expended in connection with appropriate funds for any authorized work of public improvements of rivers and harbors whenever such work, and expenditure may be considered by the Chief of Engineers to be advantageous to navigation.
Mrs. SMITH. General Heiberg, I was listening when I think you said, "I do not intend to run to OMB." I hope that is what you said. It is my considered opinion that OMB is running your show, and I think it is wrong, and do you have any comment about what you are going to do about it?
General HEIBERG. The OMB is to us the office that representswell, there is an argument, of course, within the government and all sides on the Administrative Branch before it becomes the President's program, the OMB is at the point closer to the realization of the President's program.
The specific item I talked about was with respect to the manpower, what we call the full-time equivalents that allows us to hire up the civil works folks to do the work we are doing out there.
We were being cut another 250 spaces projected next year. I felt we could find efficiencies to do that. The pain would still be there, but that is not nearly the same size of the cuts we have seen in recent years and I welcome the decreased rate of the cuts that the OMB and we had worked out. Even if we did get more work, and I am still optimistic that we can get authorizations and are able to move ahead in a large program of construction and get some new starts, when we get the agreement between the President and the Congress, even with that, I felt we could find ways to be able to extend our work force, probably using more help from the very fine private sector, to be able to continue to do the work we have to do, and not to go back to the OMB and ask for more civilians to be hired.
Mrs. SMITH. I think that was a very diplomatic answer, but I want to point out, Mr. Chairman, after we authorized the flood control project on the Platte River, OMB wouldn't let the money go, and it took Mr. Dawson and me both twisting their arms to let even part of the money out.
Mr. BEVILL. Well, I can see why you got the money with that much clout.
Mrs. SMITH. What is the basis of your discrimination against projects that would enhance economic development as opposed to recreation opportunities? This is not in accord with your own principles and guidelines?
Mr. DAWSON. I didn't follow the first part of the question, I am sorry.
Mrs. SMITH. You are discriminating against projects that would enhance economic development as opposed to recreation opportunities. Is that in line with your policies? I don't think it is.
Mr. DAWSON. Ma'am, what you may be referring to is that recreation projects are in fact low priority for us right now, and that is part of our effort to grapple with the deficits that we have got.
Recreation projects are important, but compared to commercial navigation, flood control and other purposes that the Corps historically pursues, it is a low priority and that doesn't mean it is not a possibility, but in the priority of things, we have to look at that. I don't believe that is inconsistent with the principles and guidelines, but we will certainly look at that.
Mrs. SMITH. I understand that answer and the reasoning very well. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BEVILL. The Chair will recognize Mr. Fazio.
MOUNT ST. HELENS
Mr. FAZIO. I have some questions that I have been asked to ask by Mr. AuCoin and Mr. Bonker. They follow along the same regard as Mr. Morrison's questions asked by Mr. Myers in the area of Mt. St. Helens, so I will submit those for the record.
[The information follows:]
QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY MESSRS. AUCOIN AND BONKER
MOUNT ST. HELENS SEDIMENT SOLUTION
Question. I understand that the Corps has been studying the sediment problem associated with the volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens for several years, completing the Comprehensive Plan (which was to be a feasibility-grade study) in 1983 and the Final Feasibility Report and EIS late last year. Both of these reports, and another study--the Watershed Management Plan, came to the same conclusion: that a single sediment retention structure would be the most cost-effective, the safest, and the most environmentally acceptable solution to the world's most acute sediment problem. These studies also indicate that we should proceed with the sediment solution as quickly as possible for both cost and safety reasons. With this in mind, is the administration moving as quickly as it could on the sediment solution? When will the administration make a request to Congress for the Mount St. Helens sediment solution?
Answer. The planning process for a permanent solution to the sediment deposition process is on schedule. The feasibility study has been completed and the Chief's report is now available for review and comment by state and local interests. At the present time, it appears that the Administration can make a project authorization request to Congress by mid-summer, 1985.
Question. Although the final Mount St. Helens Feasibility Report identifies the single retention structure as the preferred alternative, it also recommends that the Corps of Engineers be given the authority to switch to one of the other two alternatives (a "staged" single retention structure or dredging alone) should there be "compelling reasons" to do so. Considering the additional costs and risks of the dredging alternative, do you feel it is wise to continue to spend time and money on this alternative? At what time would the Corps make the final decision to proceed with a single alternative?
Answer. Based upon the data and analysis included in the most recent feasibility study, it appears that the single retention structure is the preferred alternative. However, the sediment deposition problem is a unique one and it is essential that we continue to study multiple solutions so that we can make the best decision in a timely manner. We find it necessary to continue analysis of the benefits and costs of several separate alternatives because of the uncertainty associated with the sediment estimates and because several concerns we have about the benefit and cost estimates for the alternatives have yet to be resolved. However, rather than slowing down the planning process in order to resolve these concerns, prior to the issuance of the Feasibility Report, we have chosen to have these concerns addressed during Continuation of Planning and Engineering (CP&E). When CP&E is completed, we will decide whether one alternative is clearly preferred, or whether we should continue to design for more than one alternative and hold a final selection in abeyance pending further analysis. If more than one alternative is kept active, we would propose to proceed with design and real estate acquisition to insure no delay in implementation of a final solution.
MT. ST. HELENS AND VICINITY
Question. What is the status of the Feasibility Report that was originally promised to Congress in March-April 1985 time period?
Answer. The final Feasibility Study and Environmental Impact Statement has been published and are being reviewed by Governors and Federal Agency heads. The ninety-day review is scheduled to end on April 11, 1985. The Corps is scheduled to forward the report to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (ASA) (CW) by April 30, 1985. After appropriate administration review, including by OMB, the report could be forwarded to Congress.
Question. For the record, what are the recommendations of the Feasibility Report?
Answer. The Feasibility Report recommends that the Corps of Engineers be given authority to construct either a Single-Staged Sediment Retention Structure (SRS), multi-stage SRS, or continued dredging.
Question. Noting that the Corps has recommended authority to construct any one of those solutions to the problem, when is the Corps going to be able to make up its mind?
Answer: A plan of action to address the sediment problem will be recommended to the President upon completion of CP&E.
Question. What is the process and who will be making the decision on what will be built and when?
Answer. The Corps of Engineers will be perfecting their sediment prediction and design, cost estimates and benefit evaluation for the three alternatives contained in the Feasibility Report recommendations during the spring and summer. A summary report of this information will be transmitted to ASA (CW) by mid-September 1985 and the ASA (CW) will make a recommendation to the President. Ultimately the President and Congress through the authorization and appropriation process make the final decision.
Question. When must Congress act on an authorization in order
not to delay construction of a solution to the problem?
Answer. Congress needs to act on project authorization by October 1, 1985 in order not to delay the existing construction schedule.
Question. During public review of earlier reports, much discussion centered around local cost sharing that was being proposed. Will you please discuss this item for us?
Answer. The cost-sharing proposed in the Feasibility Study is similar to the a, b, c's of a traditional local protection type project. As currently proposed, the local share amounts to about $17 million or 6 percent of project costs. Additionally, local interests would be required to operate and maintain Federally implemented mitigation measures and exempt the Federal Government from payment of the Washington State sales tax.
Question. What is your FY 86 capability on this project and what would it be used for?
Answer. Our FY 86 capability for this project is the same as the budget request of $500,000 to complete CP&E. Until such time as the report is complete and has been reviewed by the ASA (CW) and others in the Administration and the ASA(CW) makes a recommendation to the Congress for authorization, it would not be appropriate to express a capability for construction.
Question. What would be the steps necessary in order to improve the above schedule?
Answer. It is very unlikely that any permanent solution could be implemented any sooner than presently scheduled.
Question. My staff has informed me that they find, in reviewing the Feasibility Report, that it appears to them that the Single Retention Structure at the Green River site is the clear winner over a wide range of sediment movement. Noting your answers to Questions 3 & 4, what is it specifically that you are looking for that makes you want to hold the dredging options open?
Answer. The Feasibility Study has been produced on an expedited basis in the face of substantial uncertainty about sediment movement and costs and benefits of alternative strategies for sediment management. During my review of the draft feasibility study I had numerous concerns about not only how uncertainty about the sediment budget should be treated, but also about several of the assumptions and subsequent technical analyses which support the single retention structure as the preferred alternative. In order to eliminate any delay in completing the feasibility study process, I chose to have some of these concerns addressed during the Continuation of Planning and Engineering (CP&E). As a result of these continuing studies, we will increase our confidence in the currently reported benefit and cost estimates.