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In other words, that is best illustrated in the Tennessee Valley Authority today. Their jurisdiction is divided. I think possibly if there had been one head there we might have eliminated that discussion.
I believe in consolidated authority, but I believe as to Eudora, Morganza, and the back levee in Arkansas that when the time comes we will want to give to the Corps of Engineers full authority, unrestricted, to build as they see fit; and I think that when that day comes we will get better results. If it should be that the Corps of Engineers tomorrow should say that Eudora is unnecessary, the Mississippi Delta would abide by it 100 percent.
Senator OVERTON. Of course that would be a very easy solution of it, to turn the whole matter over to the engineers, and probably that would be satisfactory to Mississippi. But when we look back on the history of the flood-control program in the lower Mississippi Valley we people in Louisiana see these things standing out. Starting with the Jadwin plan we were to have floodways, but no compensation was to be made to the property owners for flowage rights, as to any of the lands subjected to these floodways, and no provision was made for the control of the floodways. That was the position taken by the Corps of Engineers. It seemed to us hardly just and proper.
Then, in 1936, a law was enacted requiring compensation to be paid and undertaking to designate just what the floodways should be and where they should be located. Now, if the Corps of Engineers were given carte blanche authority in this matter there is no telling what might be done, with all due respect to the engineers—and I know they have the interests of the valley at heart. At the same time, they might do a great many things that would not be so very beneficial to that portion of the valley. Louisiana is, as you know, and as I have said before, made the dumping ground for all the waters, with the exception of some portions of Arkansas; and we want to undertake to have some say-so as to how these waters shall be diverted and as to what compensation shall be paid us and what shall be the circumstances under which the taking by the Government can be effected.
Mr. WENN. I also think that the right of eminent domain should be exercised and full compensation should be paid to the landowners. But in any legislation that we get together and agree on we always immediately have to get the approval of the Corps of Engineers. Therefore, in the long run, it is practically their legislation. If the legislation is not agreeable to the Corps of Engineers it is futile.
Senator OVERTON. We experience that same difficulty in Congress, to be perfectly frank about it. We do not enact flood-control legislation unless it meets with the approval of the War Department and the Chief of Engineers; and I think that is proper. In order to solve the problem with which we are confronted and we are not able to go ahead with these floodways-I proposed a bill that has met with the approval of the War Department and the Army Engineers. I do not know that any other bill would meet with their approval, but I know that this one does. It has been so reported. It seems to me that would be a solution of one of our difficulties. It would permit us to go ahead with a portion of the program, and that is Morganza.
Mr. Wenn. But we are running into practical political things that I would like to see eliminated in the program and in a matter so vital to the Nation.
Senator OVERTON. That is the difficulty.
Mr. WENN. It puts the lower valley, three States, operating against each other when we should, in effect, be fighting side by side constructively and not put ourselves in a position to let the Nation say that we are divided when flood legislation does come up:
Representative WHITTINGTON. In other words, it is your position and that of the people of the Yazoo Delta that this legislation should be made efficient and effective and that we should leave to the engineers the order in which the project is constructed?
Mr. WENN. Unquestionably.
Representative WHITTINGTON. That is the substitute which we have in mind on our part of the country.
Mr. WENN. We are not here opposing Morganza. I say to you, frankly, let us get at it in a more constructive way by amending the Overton Act and making some corrections in that. I think it can be worked out. I hope so.
Senator OVERTON. We thank you very much.
Senator BILBO. That is all the witnesses we have, Mr. Chairman. I will reserve the right to file a statement for the record if I so decide, but I want to wait for a time.
Senator OVERTON. We shall certainly be glad to have the benefit of any statement that you have to present.
I do not know whether to bring these hearings to a close or not. Probably it would be best not to do so now. They will not be resumed tomorrow, however. Suppose we adjourn subject to the call of the chairman of the subcommittee. I think that would be a better course to pursue.
Permit me to say, as acting chairman of the subcommittee, that we are all very grateful to you gentlemen for taking the trouble to come up here to Washington to give us the benefit of your views. I think these hearings have been conducted in a highly satisfactory manner. I think that the statements have been made without any bitterness, and that each one has endeavored to give a full, fair, and free expression of the views that he entertains with reference to this problem We have a common problem and we would like to arrive at a solution of it. We are very glad to have had your cooperation. All the representatives of the valley have cooperated since I have been in Congress in a highly commendable manner, and I hope that such cooperation will continue in the future.
(Whereupon, at 4:45 p. m., the subcommittee adjourned pursuant to the call of the chairman.)