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Mr. ROBINSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. ROBINSON. I live about the central part of the American side, just east of Imperial 8 miles.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. Have you a statement of the Conservation Chub?
The CRAIRMAN. Pardon me, what is there about that club?
Mr. ROBINSON. The American Conservation Club has on its membership roll the signatures of 4,500 persons. For the most part these are voters, resident in Imperial Valley. This group of men and women consist of those who in 1918 approved by a two and one-half to one vote the contract between the Imperial irrigation district and the Department of the Interior which cleared the way for the construction of the All-American Canal, and who, in 1919, urged the enactment of the Kettner bill. It is the same group that has stood behind the irrigation district board in the expenditure of $600,000 in an effort to make effective the recommendations of the AllAmerican Canal Board which were approved by the Director of the Reclamation Service and two Secretaries of the Interior. This effort is not centered in the Swing-Johnson bill, which is the embodiment of our hopes.
This club is the lineal descendent of the Swing-for-Congress Club which brought about the election of Phil D. Swing, giving him a majority vote in Imperial County of six to one against an opponent who favored a flood-control dam and an All-American Canal sometime in the future. This club is what its name indicates—a group of men and women devoted to the principle of conservation as applied to the resources of the Colorado River. We desire the developinent of the power and irrigation possibilities of the Colorado to be undertaken on a comprehensive plan and the benefits thereof distributed as widely as possible to American citizens. “American waters for American lands, and American lands for American veterans."
We recognize that at the present time the Boulder Canyon Dam is the commanding feature of the provisions of this bill, and its construction would affect a very large number of people. However, we are assured that as time passes the All-American Canal will become the really effective unit in this plan of development. We believe it will create more wealth and affect favorably more people than power development alone. The All-American Canal is the pioneer project and is complemental and not supplemental to any plan of development. The benefits to come from a high dam alone or from the canal alone are insignificant as compared to the benefits of both as units of one great plan under governmental control. We have been asked if we would not be content with half a loaf. As farmers, we answer that if we wanted to purchase a milk cow and had only half the price, we would not suggest that she be split in two that we might buy half. And, carrying the cow illustration a little further, if we are going to be part owner of a cow we would like to have as our half that end that gives the milk and not the end that has to be fed.
We want the Boulder Canyon Dam as a solution of the flood problem, to provide an increased water supply and to eliminate the troublesome silt. Evidence is at hand in every section of the valley of the tremendous cost to the district of removing silt from the ditches. The cost to farmers is probably as great on their own property. But greater, perhaps, than both these costs is the damage to crops by reason of inadequate ditch capacity which is with great difficulty maintained, particularly in the hot months when the need is greatest. Whatever the value of silt as a fertilizer when incorporated with the soil by tillage it is less than nothing when compared with the damage it does when spread on a growing crop.
We want the All-American Canal for many reasons. It must be built in time and the longer it is delayed the less water will be available to American lands. We maintain that, if the international boundary line were moved 100 miles north and all this valley placed in the hands of American owners of Mexican lands, physical conditions alone would dictate the building of the canal essentially as now planned. We are under the immediate necessity of the construction of nearly one-third of the canal. We have no permanent diversion in the river. We are facing an injunction suit brought in Arizona courts which will probably cause us to go to Laguna Dam for diversion. We are now making annual payments on a contract to pay nearly three-fourths its cost. A temporary diversion costs from $30,000 to $60,000 annually. We have been told for years by our officials that we are contributing materially to the cost of delivery of water in Mexico in amounts that would make substantial payments on the All-American Canal. We are also concerned with the situation as to noxious weeds from across the border. Since water was first turned into the valley, we have seen a continuous procession of weeds come into the valley with the water from seven States. Proper officials are expending increasingly large sums of money in combating these pests. The presence of Johnson grass over considerable areas and along the ditch banks across the line is a decided menace to our lands. If this grass is not controlled, as it probably will not be, we may lose the price of more than one All-American Canal.
We are interested synpathetically with the ex-service men who would like the Mesa lands developed and, in view of the inability of any man to predict the future of America, are not afraid of the competition of new lands, particularly since the failure to provide for the development of American lands means a contribution to the cost of bringing in lands across the line in Mexico which will be farmed with Mexican and Asiatic labor.
As is the case with most new countries, we pay a high rate of interest in Imperial Valley. The Federal farm loan bank made a few loans in the valley and then withdrew. The chairman of the Federal Farm Loan Board stated to one of our representatives in Washington that no more loans would be made here as long as our irrigation water passed beyond our control to a foreign country, and called attention to the Swing-Johnson bill as the solution of our problem. The reduction of interest rates that would come by reason of a more stable
up to the
water supply would contribute materially to our ability to meet payments on an All-American Canal.
A few owners of large tracts, fearful lest they be compelled to reduce their holdings if the Reclamation Service be given a hand in water affairs, have joined forces with the interests across the line in opposition to our program. They first urged a storage dam, thinking the cost of storage would kill the idea of a canal. Now they are using every effort to separate the two, still hoping to kill the canal. But the great and effective majority of the people of Imperial want the All-American Canal and the Boulder Dam. In view of the international situation, the flood menace and the credit conditions, we feel justified in petitioning the Congress of the United States for the enactment of the Swing-Johnson bill. We believe there is an added reason in the fact that Imperial Valley has borne the greater part of the burden of the development of this Government's great plan for the conservation of the resources of the Colorado. We are in danger of a great physical disaster. The discouragement attendant upon failure of this legislation, following upon ten years of intense, adverse advertising when our misfortunes and shortcomings have been held
gaze of the entire United States would be a disaster almost equally great. We ask the Congress of the United States to afford us a fulcrum by which we may pry ourselves out of an intolerable situation.
Senator PITTMAN. Mr. Chairman. The CHAIRMAN. Senator Pittman. Senator PITTMAN. The statement you have made with regard to the acceptance of half a loaf, unless it is explained, might be taken as meaning that your conservation society was advising your representatives and representatives who are in a similar position here in the West, that we should fight for the full proposition.
Mr. ROBINSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. ROBINSON. This fight has lasted for 10 or 12 years on some particular phases, but we are not deterred.
Senator PITTMAN. The reason I asked you is this: I don't think there is a member of this committee here, although I can not speak for them but what is sympathetic with your desires to have an allAmerican canal; in fact, I can not conceive of any American citizen but what would have that desire; but, mind you, we have not, as legislators, obtained all we have desired or sought, at least not in the 13 years I have been in the Senate. I want you to get back of this legislative situation, and I want your advice on it, because I think that
you are a very calm, sound man. We have been trying since 1902 to get irrigation projects established in various places in the West. They are very small in comparison with the land that this development you have in mind would put under irrigation. We have got a number of them started. Within the last few years we have been having a desparate time getting sufficient money appropriated to even complete them, and in some cases there were mistakes made by the engineers as to the amount of water available, and there was not half enough water for the crops, and you know what that means. We have a reclamation fund that is derived from the sale
of our public lands. Some even begrudge the spending of our own money on our own projects that we all agree on. But even that fund only amounts to several million dollars a year. There is not enough to go around, so the Department of the Interior tells us, not even to complete the existing projects.
Strange as it may seem, during the hard times that overcame the farmers after the war, and they have suffered terribly throughout the country, they have been led to believe that that trouble is one of the results of irrigation. Consequently, throughout the Middle West the inhabitants of those vast farming areas have been led into a position of opposition to reclamation. The eastern people always fought this policy of Government enterprise. As a period of economy comes on, necessary economy, and the appropriations must be cut down, we find nevertheless that the demand for appropriations for rivers and harbors is increasing, and there isn't enough to go around. Then, in the improvement of rivers and harbors, the element of selfishness comes in, and when we, out here in the West, ask to take something out of that fund we arouse the selfishness of every Congressman whose own project will be cut down by reason of our grant. We find that there will be contractual troubles that might arise; the Department of the Interior at times has asked that the irrigated lands
guarantee the success of the new land to be put under irrigation, in fact, that is the policy that they are trying to establish now. You may think that all of this land under the proposed high-line canal will pay out in 20 years or 30 or 40, and then the Department of the Interior asks that you guarantee that, that you guarantee the annual payments on that land whether it pays out or not. Then that diffieulty must be settled.
There is one thing that we are all sure of; at least, I think so, and that is that it is the duty of the Government to remove the danger of the flooding of this valley. That policy of flood control has been adopted throughout the United States, and no one argues against it; and I have never seen a case such as you have here, demanding such immediate action for protection from the menace of these floods. And I am sure that the policy of the Government is such that if they build a dam at Boulder Canyon, or Black Canyon, or somewhere else to hold back those flood waters and to desilt the waters, that they will build it of such capacity that it will be an economic success, because it is also the policy of the Government when they expend money to get it back, and they can only get it back through the sale of the water for various purposes.
Now, we may go there and we may fight for months and months and months for everything that we are entitled to, and then we may find that we have nor a majority of the votes in those two bodies of Congress. Remember, there are 435 Members of Congress in the Lower House, and our western representative power in the Lower House does not amount to much numerically; it has little political influence; it has no voting power to speak of. What your Congressmen have obtained is perfectly marvelous by the speeches and arguments and debates they have made; and yet it is a serious question. We can not get even half of the Congressmen there to listen to us talk. We are lucky if we get a third. So, if, after several months of fighting we see that we can not get the votes to carry the AllAmerican Canal as a complementary part of this project, but we can get a dam at Boulder Canyon, or Black Canyon--a big dam to impound a tremendous lot of water, to hold back the silt, to have the water there obtainable for all purposes--would you want us to go ahead and get that dam, and then early in the next session to fight to take advantage of it, or would you want us to turn down the proposition of the dam and fight on?
Mr. ROBINSON. Senator Pittman, this club in the Imperial Valley has been under the necessity of holding its forces in line for the full program, and if, when you have made a good fight, when you have put the proposition to Congress with all the fight that you have, and you can succeed in getting only the one feature, the Boulder Canyon Dam, the American Conservation Club will pat you on the back and say, “Well done." But we do want to make one good strong try for the whole thing.
STATEMENT OF ELMER W. HEALD, REPRESENTING INTER
POST COUNCIL OF AMERICAN LEGION, OF IMPERIAL COUNTY
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Heald, didn't you make a statement at Los Angeles, or did you?
Mr. HEALD. No; I didn't make a statement at Los Angeles.
Mr. HEALD. My name is Elmer W. Heald. I live at Calipatria, in Imperial County.
Senator Dill. A little louder; I can't hear you.
Mr. HEALD. I say my name is Elmer W. Heald; I live in Calipatria, Imperial County. “At the present time my profession is that of an attorney and I am practicing law in Imperial County. I am here to-day, however, as a representative of the Interpost Council of the American Legion, Imperial County. I am also authorized to speak on behalf of the State Department, American Legion, State of California.
The CHARMAN. Well, that department was heard at the Los Angeles hearings, Mr. Heald; we know its entire sympathy with this great development, and I believe the committee would be happy, indeed, if you would limit your time to the general situation here.
Mr. HEALD. That is my intention. Now, the chairman of this committee said last night that what you gentlemen wanted was facts. That is what I am going to endeavor to present to you during the five minutes that I am going to speak to you. They are facts that
. I want to present as an ex-service man, and from an ex-service man's standpoint. I want to present those to show you first that the United States Government has a priority concerning land settlement by ex-service men; second, that there is a demand on behalf of exservice men for land on which to settle; third, that there is land a vailable or land can be made available by this legislation for exservice men to settle upon; and last, that it is possible, financially possible, for ex-service men to settle on this land and reclaim it and make a productive farm out of it.
Now, the United States Government, in 1919, immediately after the war was over, appropriated, as a preliminary measure, $110,000 and turned it over to the Reclamation Service to make a survey of all a vailable lands in the United States which would be available for