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Mr. HICKMAN. That is true. We assume some disposition will be made of the electrical current. All right; just what that disposition will be we do not know.
Mr. JACKSON. It will require an act of Congress if the Government is going to sell the power to the ultimate consumers, as I understand the law. Is that correct?
General CRAWFORD. No, sir; the existing law provides that the power will be marketed by the Department of the Interior.
Mr. Jackson. At the bus bar.
General CRAWFORD. Yes, sir. The power is turned over to the Department of the Interior at the bus bar.
Mr. HICKMAN. The present law does not say how it shall be marketed, does it?
General CRAWFORD. I do not think it is specifically mentioned. I will insert that portion of the act in the record.
(The matter referred to is as follows:) [Extract from act approved December 22, 1944 (Public Law 534, 78th Cong., 2d sess. ]
SEC, 5. Electric power and energy generated at reservoir projects under the control of the War Department and in the opinion of the Secretary of War not required in the operation of such projects shall be delivered to the Secretary of the Interior, who shall transmit and dispose of such power and energy in such manner as to encourage the most widespread use thereof at the lowest possible rates to consumers consistent with sound business principles, the rate schedules to become effective upon confirmation and approval by the Federal Power Commission. Rate schedules shall be drawn having regard to the recovery (upon the basis of the application of such rate schedules to the capacity of the electric facilities of the projects) of the cost of producing and transmitting such electric energy, including the amortization of the capital investment allocated to power over a reasonable period of years. Preference in the sale of such power and energy shall be given to public bodies and cooperatives. The Secretary of the Interior is authorized, from funds to be appropriated by the Congress, to construct or acquire, by purchase or other agreement, only such transmission lines and related facilities as may be necessary in order to make the power and energy generated at said projects available in wholesale quantities for sale on fair and reasonable terms and conditions to facilities owned by the Federal Government, public bodies, cooperatives, and privately owned companies. All moneys received from such sales shall be deposited in the Treasury of the United States as miscellaneous receipts.
The CHAIRMAN. The purpose of the law is to utilize the facilities so that the consumers would be protected and public utilities, municipalities, REA, and others would have the right to buy the power.
Mr. JACKSON. Would it affect the consumers and have a tendency to reduce the rates?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. I would answer you by saying that if TVA sells to the Arkansas Power Co., there is stipulated a condition, with the understanding that the Arkansas Power Co. will give a benefit to the Arkansas consumers. Mr. JACKSON. I understand that. The CHAIRMAN. That is correct.
Your first point is in regard to the Government going into business. What is your other point ?
Mr. HICKMAN. Are not the stipulated conditions by which the TVA sells to the Arkansas Power Co. such as to give to that agency or bureau of the Federal Government the power to break the power company if the power company does not comply with all the requests and demands of the agency or bureau? The mere fact that we live in a republic is no assurance that we cannot have as head of an agency or bureau of the Federal Government a man whose lust for power is far greater than his love for the form of Government conceived by our founding fathers. It is that there are four purposes for which the dam may be constructed. One is the abatement of pollution.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you oppose that or not? : Mr. HICKMAN. To be brief, I think the law is to the effect that it is not constitutional, particularly in Virginia, to take private property for the abatement of a public nuisance. Pollution of a stream, it seems to me, is nothing more than a public nuisance.
The CHAIRMAN. I see. Mr. HICKMAN. The recreational facilities seem to be one of the purposes for which the dam is built.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Mr. HICKMAN. Well, if you build the dam, it will be built between two high mountains, and I believe in order to get to the lake you will either have to go up over a high mountain and come down on the other side or you will have to start at the end of the lake and proceed, possibly way down, to where you can reach the lake.
The third reason for the project is flood control. The next purpose is generation of electrical power. I think it is conceded and everybody knows that as far as flood control is concerned, the building of a dam at Jackson is not at the right place, and will not be of any benefit, or of very little benefit in flood control, particularly as far as the James River is concerned. The high waters in the James River have come from east of the Blue Ridge Mountains as a general rule. Now, there are other rivers east of the Jackson River flowing into the James that are much larger than the Jackson River. If the purpose were flood control, then there are other places where the dam could possibly be built.
The CHAIRMAN. Would it require some other man's land if it were built at the other places?
Mr. HICKMAN. I believe that there are a few places where a dam could be built without taking more than but a very little land for adequate control. Here is a substitute for that particular dam (indicating). My recollection is, and I could not say as a positive fact, but I believe that there is a gorge east of Clifton Forge, Va., possibly 10 to 15 miles ?
The CHAIRMAN. On the Jackson? Mr. HICKMAN. On the combined Jackson-Cow Pasture Rivers. The CHAIRMAN. I see. What is your next point? Mr. HICKMAN. If the dam is constructed, one thing that I think should probably be considered which I do not think has been considered in the Army engineers' report is that the nearest highway for people who live in the western part of that country goes through this gorge where the dam will be built, to get to Covington, and they will have no road to get to Covington unless they greatly detour.
The CHAIRMAN. We understand that. Mr. HICKMAN. If the dam is constructed, it will mean that those people in going to the nearest market of any consequence will have to travel just about twice as far. In getting their pulpwood to market they will have to go just about twice as far.
The CHAIRMAN. Covington would be interested in that. Mr. HỊCKMAN. It seems that the pulp company and the merchant would be interested in that.
The CHAIRMAN. All right; you may proceed. Mr. HICKMAN. I know, and I am aware of the fact, that there are many people, the vast majority of the people in that country, who are in favor of the dam. We concede that. We know that the majority,
of course, generally rule, and that is as it should be. We know that the will of the minority must be subservient to the will of the majority. However, we do not think that it is very satisfactory to run the Government by straw ballots. As one man put it when I asked him why he was in favor of the dam-he said: "I do not believe in the Federal Government building such projects, but it seems that if we do not get it, someone else will." That, sir, I believe is the general opinion of most people today, that the Government is handing out something and if they do not get it, someone else will.
The CHAIRMAN. We are glad to have your statement and I would be glad if you would furnish this committee with a copy of the brief that you filed with the Army Board of Engineers. The matters you mention of recreation and pollution, and for that matter navigation benefits, would be incident to the fundamental purposes of flood control. We may be in error but if we are to have flood-control power generated in the public interest on streams which can be improved, with an elimination of pollution and the added recreation for the benefit of the people, why it is our opinion that the people ought not to be denied those benefits merely because the dam is constructed primarily for flood control. I believe that is a fair statement. Whether or not that would apply to this particular area I do not know.
Mr. HICKMAN. That is very correct. Another thing that possibly should be mentioned in connection with the dam, of course, is that there will be approximately 400 to 500 acres of tillable ground which will be taken; and it seems with starving people throughout the world today, that we need all that ground in cultivation.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. HICKMAN. And there will probably be starving people in the world for the next 2 or 3 years.
Mr. JACKSON. Of course, if we do not control floods, you may lose more than 400 or 500 acres of tillable land.
Mr. HICKMAN. I would not say there is much advantage in flood control on the Jackson River.
(The statement referred to is as follows:)
Helen Croxton Williams, Lewis B. Williams, and Lewis C. Williams, the fee simple owners of certain tracts of land containing approximately 300 acres, lying, and being on the waters of Jackson River, Bath County, Va., near the site of the proposed Gathright Dam, desire to set forth very briefly their objections to the construction of this proposed dam. For purposes of clarity and brevity, our objections will be set forth in the following order :
AUTHORITY Article I, section 8, paragraph 17, of the Constitution of the United States, in dealing with the authority and power of Congress, provides, in part, as follows:
66* * * and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; * * *.”
The Code of Virginia seems to be at variance with the acts of the General Assembly of Virginia as to just which sections of the Code of Virginia are the proper sections pertaining to the acquisition of lands in Virginia by the United States for certain governmental purposes. There seems to be no doubt, however, that the Legislature of Virginia has by properly enacted laws, permitted the United States, and agencies and departments thereof, under certain conditions, to acquire lands, either by purchase or condemnation, in Virginia for certain specified governmental purposes. We have not found that the Legislature of
Virginia has passed an act permitting the Government of the United States, agencies and departments thereof, to acquire, either by purchase, gift, or condemnation, lands within the State for the purpose of abatement of pollution or the generation of electric power,
The War Department district engineer in his report stated that his investigation was made pursuant to the authority of Public Acts Nos. 409 and 738.
Nowhere in Public Act No. 409 have we found James River or Jackson River mentioned. Even if these rivers had been mentioned in this act, the act is not applicable to the proposed Gathright Dam because this act deals with the "* * * * improvement of rivers, harbors, and other waterways * * *."
Section 3 of Public Act No. 738 places upon the State, political subdivisions thereof, or other responsible local agencies, the responsibility and burden of providing, without cost to the United States, all lands, easements, and rights-ofway necessary for the construction of the projects mentioned in said act. We cannot find that the State of Virginia, or the political subdivision thereof, have agreed to assume this responsibility and burden.
By section 6 of Public Act No. 738, the Secretary of War *** is hereby authorized and directed to cause preliminary examinations and surveys for flood control at the following named localities : ** James River, Virginia, is listed among the named localities but nowhere is Jackson River listed. It is perfectly clear that Congress did not intend for the Secretary of War to make preliminary examinations and surveys on the tributaries of James River because where is was intended for such examinations and surveys to be made on tributaries of certain rivers, Congress listed the rivers in this manner ** Rough River and its tributaries, Kentucky.”
We respectfully submit that under the foregoing mentioned acts of Congress the district engineer exceeded his authority in making preliminary examinations and surveys on Jackson River, Va., for any one or all of the following purposes : (a) abatement of pollution; (b) flood control; (c) manufacture of electric power ; (d) recreational facilities; (e) regulation of stream flow; (f) or any other purposes.
We understand that much of the land above the proposed Gathright Dam is owned by the Virginia Electric & Power Co., a public service corporation. It is our opinion that under section 3832 of the Code of Virginia, the word “corporation” is broad enough to and does include the United States Government and agencies and departments thereof; and that under this section of the law of Virginia the United States must obtain from the State corporation commission a certificate of public necessity or essential public convenience before the United States, or any department or agency thereof, can take by condemnation the lands owned by Virginia Electric & Power Co. So far as we know or have been able to ascertain, the United States has not obtained such a certificate.
While we have not had an opportunity to make more than a cursory perusal of the district engineer's report, and are not, therefore, in a position to go into the technical aspects thereof, we understand that one of the purposes of the proposed Gathright Dam is the abatement of pollution. We are advised, and so believe that the chief contributor to the pollution of Jackson River is West Virginia Pulp & Paper Co., Covington, Va.; that West Virginia Pulp & Paper Co. is not now able to expand its operations because of the present shortage of available water supply ; and that it is the desire and intention of the officials of West Virginia Pulp & Paper Co. to expand its Covington plant if additional water supply can be obtained. It is a consensus that pollution-abatement advantages, if any. that may accrue from the proposed dam will be through dilution. We are reliably advised that the pollution materials dumped into Jackson River by West Virginia Pulp & Paper Co. are solids and that there cannot, therefore, be any appreciable dilution.
Since it is the desire and the intention of the officials of the West Virginia Pulp & Paper Co. to expand the operations of the Covington plant if additional water supply can be obtained, it is only reasonable to assume that if the proposed dam is constructed, thereby making it possible for the West Virginia Pulp & Paper Co: to expand its operations, the substances which cause pollution of the stream will increase in proportion to the increased water supply.
We are of the opinion that the Federal Government does not have authority to take private property for the abatement of pollution on Jackson River. It is our opinion that this is a private matter which rests on the shoulders of the contributors to the pollution of the stream and the lower riparian landowners.
GENERATION OF POWER We are unalterably opposed to the Government of the United States entering into business in competition with the citizens thereof. Such practices are not in harmony with our form of government and are contrary to the best interests of a large majority of the people of our country. Our country has prospered and advanced because of free enterprise.
If the Government of the United States obtains control of facilities for the generation of electrical power in any part of the United States, State, or locality, it can thereby control all other businesses which rely upon electrical power for their operations. We respectfully submit that this is definitely inimical to the advancement of the United States of America and its people.
We concede that it is well for any person to have periods of relaxation among pleasant surroundings; however, we submit that no such advantage can possibly accrue from the proposed Gathright Dam. Even if the proposed lake could be made suitable for recreational facilities, it is our opinion that the Government of the United States does not have authority to take or condemn land in the State of Virginia for a recreational lake.
We are advised, and so believe, that water dams which are constructed for both flood control and the generation of power cannot be used for recreational purposes because the rising and the receding of the water leaves a soft and muddy ground around the pool, thereby making it impossible for recreation seekers to reach and return from the pool without wading through mud. We are also advised that the soft muddy ground and pools of stagnant water around the pool area will become a breeding place for mosquitoes and other noxious insects.
If the proposed Gathright Dam is constructed the only highway through this section will be submerged. This highway is the most direct route for the farmers on Back Creek, Little Back Creek, and Mountain Grove to Covington, Va. Covington, Va., is the trading place for people living on Back Creek, Little Back Creek, and Mountain Grove. The farmers from the three foregoing named places haul pulpwood to the West Virginia Pulp & Paper Co., Covington, Va., over the highway leading through the gorge where the Federal Government proposes to construct the Gathright Dam. If this road is cut off the Back Creek, Little Back Creek, and Mountain Grove farmers who sell pulpwood and other commodities will have to haul their commodities through Warm Springs and Hot Springs to Covington, approximately twice the present distance.
If the proposed Gathright Dam is constructed, homes will be lost, dear beyond pecuniary compensation. Residents of the pool area, who are as much a part of that area as are the oaks and pines, will be wrenched from the land that has clothed and fed them and their fathers before them for lo these many years: and hopes and dreams of many years will be washed away in the murk and mire of the pool and flood area.
We are not in a position to express anything more than a layman's opinion as to the flood-control benefits that may accrue from the proposed Gathright Dam. There are a number of tributaries, such as the Cow Pasture River, or the James River that are far larger in water flow than the Jackson River. We are confident that the Army Board of Engineers will give this matter careful consid. eration before approving the proposed Gathright Dam as a flood-control measure. Respectfully submitted.
HELEN CROXTON WILLIAMS,
LEWIS C. WILLIAMS.
Counsel. The CHAIRMAN. We will resume our hearings on the Jackson River flood-control developments.