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STATEMENT OF JACK CARLEY, ASSOCIATE EDITOR OF THE
MEMPHIS COMMERCIAL APPEAL, MEMPHIS, TENN. Mr. CARLEY. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, the Memphis Harbor project, now before this committee for consideration, has been so fully and ably presented by Maj. Gen. Robert Crawford, president of the Mississippi River Commission, and by his predecessor, Maj. Gen. Max C. Tyler, that there is little for me to add.
The project has been approved by the Mississippi River Commission and by the Chief of Engineers. It would be presumptious for me to remind the committee that when the Corps of Engineers stamps á project its approval that project has been given a hallmark which has no equal.
It would be equally presumptious for me to attempt to “sell” this particular congressional committee on any one flood control project such as this Memphis Harbor plan. Your chairman is recognized as an expert on flood-control matters. He knows the histories of the world's rivers and their flooding proclivities and the methods used to control them.
This committee, individually and collectively, has been dealing with flood control problems for a long, long time and doing it intelligently and with the best interests of the Nation always the primary consideration on which decision is based. It knows of its own judgment when a project is good or bad. It is fully conscious of Corps of Engineer integrity.
I feel that I speak for the people of the entire alluvial valley in expressing their everlasting gratitude to the Corps of Engineers and to this Flood Control Committee for the great work both have done in behalf of their physical and economic security. I think that applies to the entire midcontinent area.
The future of the Mississippi Valley is in the hands of the Congress and the Army engineers. It can be an almost limitless future and this Memphis project is designed with that in mind. It is not a purely local project as both General Tyler and Mayor Chandler have emphasized.
We are interested in the whole Mississippi Valley. The floods of the Mississippi River are not local and no project related to its control or to its stabilization or its navigation facilities can be purely local. When control strength is added at one Mississippi point the integrity of the entre control system is improved.
Aside from economic and physical safety factors there is, to my mind, the all-important factor of national security involved in this particular project. The Mississippi River always has been, always will be, a main artery for the defense of this country. More than ever before was that proved during the last war when the river carried the implements and supplies of war from inland centers to the seas over which they then were moved to the theaters.
The location of vitally important installations and war industries in the Mississippi Vailey—beyond the coastal mountain ranges-during the recently ended wars is further support for my security point.
Permanent peace is still an illusion. The Nation must be kept strong. A chain of harbors from New Orleans north seems to me to be as essential as any security element and certainly as important as military highways. This is certainty, that even after traces of exist
ing highways have disappeared, the Mississippi River will still be pouring through the valley. Even uncontrolled it would be a prodigious national security asset. Controlled and utilized practically, it becomes a far greater asset.
The people of Memphis are quite content to leave the decision on their harbor project with this committee and the Congress. I am not one of those in my profession who thinks that the Congress does not work. It works hard. Certainly this Flood Control Committee has worked long and hard in behalf of the people's safety and betterment and we are grateful.
It is especially pleasing to those of us from Memphis that our distinguished neighbor from Louisiana, Senator Overton, is present as this matter is being presented. Like your chairman, Mr. Whitting. ton, Senator Overton is expert on flood-control matters and rivers and harbors. He works hard and well for the people, not only of his State, but for the whole valley, and to him, too, are we grateful. The valley of the Mississippi prospers and develops because of the unselfish work men like Senator Overton, Chairman Whittington, and the Congress are doing for it.
I wish to add my personal thanks for your patience and courtesy in hearing me. STATEMENT OF FRANK PIDGEON, CHAIRMAN, SPECIAL HARBOR
COMMITTEE, MEMPHIS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Mr. PIDGEON. Mr. Chairman and members of the Flood Control Committee, I am appearing on behalf of a large group of citizens of Memphis who are keenly interested in the development of the lower Mississippi River, not only as a means of harbor development, but as a means of stabilizing the channel of the river, lowering the flood heights, and promoting river commerce which is so essential to the entire Nation.
This prcject is of the greatest importance to millions of people in the lower valley and the report filed by the Mississippi River Commission is so comprehensive and complete that I do not wish to take the time of this committee to go further than to express the interest above stated.
We, therefore, ask the favorable consideration of this committee of the Mississippi River Commission's report and request the aid of the committee in obtaining favorable congressional action. STATEMENT OF WILLIAM B. FOWLER, CITY ENGINEER OF
Mr. FOWLER. My name is William B. Fowler. I am city engineer of Memphis and have held that position for 28 years. My work has brought me in frequent contact with the Mississippi River and its flood, navigation, channel, levee, and harbor problems.
When the necessity for further harbor facilities at Memphis arose, I was given the responsibilty of preparing data, exhibits, maps, and the other material which was put together and presented at the public hearing held in the United States customhouse at Memphis on February 15, 1946. That material is referred to in paragraph 14 of the review report of the Mississippi River Commission.
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For a number of years, with the great increase of commerce on the Mississippi, particularly during the war years, it has become apparent that additional harbor and flood-control projects at and in the vicinity of Memphis would be necessary, and the Senate Committee on Commerce, in adopting the resolution calling for the review of the provisions for the improvement of the Mississippi River adopted by the act of May 15, 1928, for the purpose of ascertaining whether any changes in the adopted project should be made in order to provide a safe and adequate harbor development in the vicinity of Memphis, undoubtedly recognized that such a project requires prompt action by Congress.
The so-called Tennessee chute project has been given long and careful study. It is sound and workable. When carried out, it will stabilize the vascillating channel of the Mississippi River at Memphis by closing Tennessee chute which at many different times within the last hundred years was the main channel of the river. The project, without taking away Tennessee chute as part of the harbor in Memphis, will fix the present main channel as the permanent channel, increasing the flow of water through the permanent channel and thereby promoting navigation on the river, as well as accelerating the run-off and consequently reducing the flood heights on the river to that extent.
The project will reclaim from floods valuable land which overflows in high water, and will make safe for industrial development an extensive area in which no development has been possible because of the existing difficulties.
Within my own recollection, the Mississippi River has been looked upon by many as a liability to the Nation. Through the constructive efforts of the Mississippi River Commission and the Corps of Engineers of the United States Army, and through the far-sighted vision of Congress, the Mississippi River has become one of the Nation's greatest assets, not only in carrying off floodwaters, but in increasing navigation and commerce which add to the national income and prosperity. Furthermore, in building the levee system in the alluvial valley, Congress has reclaimed vast areas of rich and productive soil and has made it possible for millions of people to live and work in safety and comfort in those portions of the Mississippi Valley formerly inundated once or twice each year by devastating floods.
The project which your committee is now considering will further increase the value of the Mississippi River to all the people of the United States, and has within its scope almost every phase of the work of this Flood Control Committee insofar as the Mississippi River is concerned-flood control, navigation, bank protection, and harbor development.
There are millions of taxpayers who will approve the action of this committee and that of Congress in adopting this project so well presented by the Mississippi River Commission.
The CHAIRMAN. We are glad to have had your statement.
Representative McKenzie appeared yesterday in behalf of the Bayou Lafourche project, and, Mr. McKenzie, if you desire to make a supplementary statement at this time, we will be delighted to have you do so.
I might say that the president of the Mississippi River Commission has already referred to the report and given us the facts and there is no occasion to repeat them.
STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES E. MCKENZIE, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF LOUISIANA Mr. McKENZIE. As all of you know, we have been pretty badly crowded the last 24 hours.
In behalf of this drainage project down in Louisiana we are more or less tied with the Tensas, the Bouef, and the Macon, because after all, these streams coverage and ultimately empty their waters into the Red River and then into the Mississippi.
The special session of the legislature of the State of Louisiana in 1945 appropriated $5,000,000 to be used in this State-wide drainage program. I think it would be of interest to the engineers and to the committee to know that of the 14 parishes in my district, 8 of which are directly interested and affected by this particular program, 8 have made arrangements to meet their portion of the required amount for rights-of-way and interior drainage and that sort of thing to go into this.
The parish of East Carroll has voted a bond issue in the amount of $200,000, and out of the $5,000,000 the State has added $150,000, giving a total of over $350,000 there.
The parish of Franklin has voted a bond issue of $400,000, supplemented by State aid of $300,000, giving a total of of $700,000 of local aid and State aid in that parish.
The parish of Madison has voted a bond issue of $200,000, to be supplemented by $150,000 from the State fund, a total there of $350,000.
The parish of Morehouse on the 8th of this month voted a bond issue of $400,000, to be supplemented by $300,000 from the State, a total of $700,000 for that parish.
The parish of West Carroll has voted a bond issue of $300,000, supplemented by $200,000 from the State, giving a total in that parish of $500,000.
The parish of Washington has called, and we expect to have passed, because there appears practically no opposition, a bond issue of $200,000, to be supplemented by $150,000 from the State, already appropriated, making a total there of $350,000.
The parish of Richland has a similar project, $200,000 bond issue, $150,000 State aid, a total of $350,000.
The parish of Tensas has a similar proposal, $200,000 bond issue, $150,000 State aid, a total of $350,000.
Now I want to call your attention to the fact that there is $2,100,000 already voted or in sight-and I can assure it will be ready—by these eight parishes direct and that the State contribution amounts to $1,550,000 or a total of $3,650,000 of combined State and parish aid.
The CHAIRMAN. You understand the project has been reported ?
The CHAIRMAN. You feel that the project is justified and your people are ready to comply with the local requirements ?
Mr. MCKENZIE. Yes, sir. I doubt if there are many communities where the local people have raised $350,000 for a project like this.
The CHAIRMAN. We are glad to have had your statement.
The Chairtotal of $3,650,000t the State contr.will be read
VICKSBURG, MISS., PROJECT The CHAIRMAN. Representative McGehee, in connection with the projects that you have presented to the committee, I may say that as far as the Yazoo project is concerned, as we have indicated, the general has gone into that, and now you are here in behalf of the Vicksburg project, and we will be glad to have your statement at this time. Before you make your statement, General Crawford will make a general statement with respect to that, just as he did with Vicksburg.
General CRAWFORD. What we have referred to as Vicksburg-Yazoo project is a plan that has been presented by the local interests of Vicksburg to provide lands on the Yazoo River and immediately adjacent and north of Vicksburg for expansion and other activities and an airport for Vicksburg.
The land involved comprises some 10,000 acres within the bend of the Yazoo River.
The request is that the main-line Mississippi River levee be extended to include that area and protect it from Mississippi River floods. The levee would be somewhat higher than the Yazoo backwater levees, approximately 63 feet on the Vicksburg gage as against 56 for the backwater levee.
The estimated costs have been estimated by experience in constructing levees in similar areas, and will cost approximately $4,000,000, including the necessary pumping plants to effect drainage from the area into the river.
Local interests offer to furnish the necessary rights-of-way for it and maintain and operate after completion in similar way that we do for inain-line levees.
The CHAIRMAN. At Vicksburg, as in the case with Memphis and other cities located on the bluffs, there is the industrial area along the river and the city has constructed a concrete flood wall there at its own expense, and the proposed protection is essential to provide protection for any industrial sites now existing or that may be constructed, and there are important industrial sites now in this proposed area to the north of your flood wall? ..
General CRAWFORD. Yes, sir; that is correct; and some of those industries have already attempted to provide their own levees at their
own CHAIRDE will be i
The CHAIRMAN. And the proposed protection will consist of a levee, and that levee will be substantially the height of the levees some 3 or 4 miles or maybe further on the Louisiana side ? General CRAWFORD. The levee will be built to full project grade.
The CHAIRMAN. And it is your view that that levee can be con'structed in connection with the main river projects and without damage or injury to the Yazoo backwater project?
General CRAWFORD. I am convinced that it can be. Some slight adjustments may be necessary, but our plans are not so firm that it cannot be done without jeopardizing the main levee system.
The CHAIRMAN. Whatever channelization there may be necessary would be borne by the Federal Government, and the local interests and Florida. It will put new business on the river and increase prosperity in the entire alluvial valley.